I would like to think that, for the most part, I am a grateful man. While I have had my ups and downs since last year, much like you, I have on, the whole, nothing much to complain about. Allow me to take a moment to count my many blessings in this space.
First of all, I would like to thank the Civil Service Retirement System. While it is not responsible for the content of this message, it allows me the freedom to sit here in tennis shorts and a Nikon sweater on a Thursday morning rather than being at the law office. As a corrollary, I am grateful that I had a long career. Likewise, I am grateful for the prospect of doing something else.
I am grateful for my friends, both old and new. As I have written elsewhere, the outpouring of love and affection upon the news of my retirement was beyond what I expected or deserved. I am truly blessed beyond measure. I do not take my good fortune or the love of others for granted as I know now all too well how fragile they can be.
I am grateful that I have become even closer to old friends. As Mark said, "We got a good thing going here, Bowen. Let's not mess it up." Although he did not use the word "mess." And I am grateful for new friends. You can never have too many. At least I can't. One of my new friends is a Baptist preacher. Another is a therapist. It doesn't hurt to hedge one's bets.
I am grateful to have few wants and even fewer needs. I am grateful to have some time to figure out what my next step will be. I am grateful for Amy at the gym. This is despite the fact that she attempts to kill me on a routine basis. Female trainers are the worst. They get ahold of a fit man and they treat him like he just bounced a check.
I grateful for the opportunity to read another short story for the Tales From The South Holiday show. Next Tuesday. Starving Artist Cafe. In Argenta. 5 bucks at the door.
I am grateful for the tolerance of shameless plugs such as the one above.
I am grateful for Ronnie and Alicia, my new friends from Thibodaux. They will return to UAMS next week so that Alicia can begin her stem cell treatments. They will spend the Holidays here in LR. I am grateful my friend Chris Riviere told me that they were here and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve these wonderful strangers at my gate. I just hope that Ronnie,him, makes gumbo again back at the RV, non.
I am grateful for how I spent last Thanksgiving. If you have a chance to express your gratitude to someone or to return a favor, do it now. You may not get another chance. Having said that I am grateful for a more acute appreciation for those opportunities when second chances present themselves.
I am grateful for my good health. Oddly enough, my blood pressure dropped a good 10 points since last year. I wonder what we can attribute that to. While I am grateful to be healthy and strong, I do not take it for granted. Read the recent headlines in the Sports section. Hang around over at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Center awhile. You think you got problems? You don't have problems. And neither do I.
I am grateful for Newt Gingrich. This is great.
I am grateful for the return of college basketball. Especially since it looks like the NBA is going to shoot itself in the head.
I am grateful for Community brand Dark Roast coffee direct from New Orleans. I am grateful for friends bearing whisky. I am grateful for Brother Richard and his gentle wisdom. I am grateful for the fact that I caught that I had accidentally spelled "gentle" "gentile." Which is kinda funny if you think about it. I am grateful for a woman who likes me because she thinks that I am kind as much as anything else. I will take that. That would have pleased my mother who liked me because she thought I was "such a gentle man, just like your father."
Maybe that's why me and Brother get along.
I am grateful for a roof over my head. A new one at that. I am grateful that I had sense enough to listen to Uncle Howard 30 years ago and always set aside money with each paycheck. That's why I can afford to carry on my profligate ways for at least 7 months to a year before I have to get serious about other employment. I am grateful that my youngest brother is about to get out of court finally. I am grateful for the certain knowledge that even the nastiest, most protracted litigation must always come to an end.
I am grateful for my license to practice law. Oddly, enough I'm starting to miss it. Didn't see that one coming.
I am grateful for another Thanksgiving and the opportunity to see my family in Heber. I am grateful that there's a lot of water going under the bridge. It needs to stay under the goddamn bridge.
And I am grateful for you. Whoever and wherever you are.