So it’s a couple days late, and I hope you’ll forgive me for it. The holidays are such an interesting time, busy and exciting, hopeful but sad. I’m thankful for so many things and so many people; to pause and think about it, it’s almost ridiculous.
I’m thankful for my life, and the opportunity to live it on my own terms. That I have the health, and the innate sense of wonder, of adventure, to take off and move at the drop of a hat. I’m thankful that I feel comfortable on The Road, and with friends I’ve just made. I’m thankful that it’s gone well so far, and that I still have the fire to explore, to dream of the next horizon, the next town, the next sunrise.
I’m thankful for my family, extended and immediate, and everything they’ve done for me. I’m not always the easiest person to deal with, so I’m thankful for their love and understanding. And when they don’t understand, I’m thankful for their acceptance of my need to move.
I’m thankful for my friends. For the ones I go back to elementary school with, who will always be friends, not matter how much time passes. And also for the new friends, the beautiful people I’ve met along the way. The ones with the couches to crash on, and friendly smiles, even when I show up unannounced a thousand miles from home. Their offers of good times in new places, their directions of places to go.
I’m thankful for the strangers, and their words of advice. The interesting flavor they cast upon my world. The bums on the trains, the crazies in the bar; their soulful presence downtown, late at night. I’m thankful to be old enough to appreciate the good times, and also the bad. I’m thankful for the realization that good days are to be savored, and that bad days will pass. I’m thankful for the beaches I’ve seen, and the brutally harsh Midwest winters that help me to appreciate them.
At the moment, I’m thankful for this out of the way downtown bar. It’s the place I go and don’t tell my friends. It’s dark, and the beer is local and tasty; the shelves are full of dusty books, and there is a piano that you’re welcome to sit down at. Tonight, when someone walks in the door, the whole room cheers, and the entrant doesn’t really understand. They look around, and look behind them, trying to figure out why the room is cheering. And then they get a big smile, and someone yells out, “We’re happy you made it!” And everyone laughs and smiles some more. I’m thankful for this comfortable scene, and all the smiles and laughs exchanged in my half hour here.
I’m thankful for all of this, and today, I’m also thankful for pretty girls with beautiful eyes and nice smiles. Especially when they smile at me.