“I see trees of green, red roses too-
        I see ‘em bloom for me and you—
        And I think to myself…what a wonderful world.”

Dinner at Hal’s tonight—4:30. It’ll be my brother & Margie, their girls, their mother (-in-law), their grandson…and, just to level the playing field, MY Aunt Helen.

“What time should I pick you up?” I asked her, (trying to be nice).
”Oh, Bruce, isn’t that ridiculous? Just tell me what time to be ready.”
“OK, I’ll honk at 4:20.”
“Could you make it earlier?”

My first years in recovery I’d complain of her:
incessant, insatiable demands. Preston’d smile
calmly, saying “Bruce, you don’t GOT to do it, you
GET to do it.”
“Yeah,” I’d remind, “But she is so ungrateful!”
“That’s HER problem,” he’d answer.

“Would 4:15 be better?” I offered.
“Whatever you think is right.”
“OK, 4:15.”
“Bruce, why are you difficult. Why must I rush?”
“You’re right.”

It is a familiar scene and familiar refrain but….perhaps that’s what family is best about: the predictability.

Tonight, my brother, (like hosts nationwide), will ask guests to share “something you are thankful for this year.” Then, clockwise, bound by social dictates of a dinner table, we’ll issue short, Pavlovian responses.

That, though, will be 5:30…eight hours from now. This is morning—a table for one…What am I grateful for? Let me now, alone…count the ways:

There’s Hal’s health! A year ago we were pre-diagnosis. In twelve months he’s been to hell and back, and. today, we’re thankful.

There’s Haley and Max: One in May, one just now: both with ten fingers, ten toes…

And my health, for that matter.

And the family and countless friends surrounding me with love and, just as importantly, (laughter).

And the myriad of positive role models, (from “Mom” Harriet to sponsor John). Each, through word and deed can’t help but shape my behavior for the better.

And the men in the rooms. Do they not, in caring more for me than my feelings, keep me healthy, happy, joyous and free?

And the brothers Darryl…

Then there’s the ordinary…my everyday blessings: like officing five minutes from home and knowing I’ll see the men at Corky’s on Wednesday or MJ on Saturday…and “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and Netflix and the Cajun chicken salad at Pizzaz…

I’ve so much….It’s been a great year…

Like May in Columbus: It was the night before the Jack Roth Run and Hal was explaining to a stranger that “Bogarts never eat olives.” The guy stared in wonderment (but I kept thinking: “YEAH, little by little we’ll take over the world)!

Or…speaking of events more significant to some than others… how great was it that morning in June—learning U.S.C. was on probation? That the NCAA banned it from post-season, stripped thirty scholarships, and finally called it out for what it was? Well I remember the mid-70’s– L.A. writer Jim Murray’s relentless attacks on Coach Hayes. After three decades of “kid gloves” treatment justice is finally being served. That’s thirty years, you know….a scholarship a year. Those arrogant mumsers! Well worth the wait…Everything: in God’s time.

I could go on…I won’t. Health, love, family, friends…..and the Trojans? Can it get any better?


      “Yes I think to myself…What a wonderful world.”

                                                              Thiele, Weiss


  1. Jackie says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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