As Thanksgiving approaches and we prepare to sit down to feast with family and friends this Thursday, it's a good time to remember that one-time tradition of going around the table stating what exactly we are thankful for on this holiday of reflection and gratitude. I'll start ...
I am thankful for all of my family members, those still with me on this Earth, and those who have passed on, who stuck/have stuck by me with all my faults, with all my imperfections, who have forgiven me for all of my mistakes, but who have continued to love me unconditionally. I'm thankful for their support in all the jobs, games, projects, etc. which kept me away from home and family, and for their encouragement in continuing these/those activities, even if it means/meant my being away from family and family activities.
I'm thankful for all of them making me feel like I knew what I was doing as a caretaker, head of the family, husband, father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, handyman, carpenter, painter, plumber, and any other member of the "jack of all trades" club, even though my talents might not have been stellar in any of those fields.
J. Paul Lombardo
I'm thankful for my faith which brings me back to Earth so to speak, and allows me to believe that despite some bumps in the road, things happen for a reason, and my maker will give me the strength and courage to forge ahead despite some detours, potholes, and closed roads.
I'm thankful for my friends, who have put up with me, accepted me, and respected me despite some times of boorishness, obnoxiousness, arrogance, and who have laughed at my stale jokes, who have supported me in most, if not all, of my "causes" and projects, and who have given smiles, hugs, and kicks in the butt when they knew I needed them most.
I'm thankful for all of those who helped me "train" for my life on this Earth. First of all, my parents, who gave me a solid foundation of morals, values, ethics, that faith I spoke of earlier, and who were excellent role models to follow growing up. Next, all of my teachers and professors, who let me try, make mistakes, and think my way through things, all the while offering guidance and suggestions to help me achieve the goals I set for myself. I'm thankful for those who helped guide me to becoming a teacher, then a better teacher. I'm thankful for those who helped guide me to becoming a coach, then a better coach. I'm thankful for those who helped guide me to becoming an umpire, then a better umpire.
I'm thankful for all those people whom I had the opportunity to have called colleagues in my many jobs/employment situations, coaching situations and umpiring situations. I know we may not have always agreed with each other, but all of my situations with all of you helped make me a better person. I'm thankful for all my competitors/disagreers in any/all areas of my life, calm ones, fierce ones, and all in between. You, too, made me a better person.
I'm thankful for those who took chances on me on the many avenues I've traveled, those who gave me second and third chances on those roads, those who supported fundraisers for my and my children's school, their activities, my football, softball, and baseball activities and those who allowed me to have, and create, the opportunities I've experienced in my life.
I'm thankful for the health I've been able to have in my life, for the aches and pains I've felt on occasion and reminders that there are far more suffering far worse than I am. I'm thankful for the sun that rises and sets each day, letting me know I get/got at least one more day to enjoy what I have, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to open my eyes, put both feet on the floor, and have another chance to do something positive to give back to my maker, family, friends, colleagues, employers and supervisors, students and players, and everyone else who plays/played a part in my life.
I'm thankful for whatever power (my belief says God) that, at some point, made me realize just how wonderful a life I have, and though I still say, "why me?" from time to time, and I'm opinionated at times, and while driving and encountering other motorists, I occasionally get expressive, I'm thankful for that rap on the head letting me know that some stuff is small stuff, and I shouldn't sweat the small stuff.
I'm thankful for the prayers that have been offered up in my name, for the good/best wishes that have been bestowed upon me, for the thoughts, condolences, sympathies, congratulations, and kind words said to me, or on my behalf, during my life.
I'm thankful for the beauty of nature, for the challenges of life, for whatever talents I may have been given, and thankful for the opportunities to be able to share, or have shared, them with others. I sincerely hope I've done this.
I'm thankful for those in all my endeavors, on all the roads I've traveled, who went before me clearing paths, laying groundwork, and pushing open doors so I and others like me could walk through them and have things a bit better than they did in their day. I hope I've been able to do the same for those who have/will come after me.
Lastly, I'm thankful for life itself with its downs, ups, diversities, developments, sad times, happy times, frustrating times, rewarding times, and its challenges, failures, and successes, and I'm very thankful for this opportunity to say, "Thank You."
Happy Thanksgiving. OK, who's next?