Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful Things

I know I'm weighing in late. I also know that the Native Americans were slaughtered and that is not something to celebrate. But I know too that for so many people leaving Europe because of the oppression--religious, financial and elsewhere--this place, what we call the United States, was a haven. It was a haven for my grandpa, who came from Ireland in 1870 or so and wound up a lawyer here. It was a haven for my ma's pa, my other grandpa, who came here in 1912 as an indentured Irish servant and worked on the Boston RR yards for a long time until he paid off his price and his family debt and finally went to NYU and became an engineer and engineered the air flow for the Holland Tunnel in NYC and the earliest large apartment buildings in New York and wound up with 41 patents (his wife, grandma, had 21 I think, mostly related to kitchen things, like the reusable pastry bag and such).
   And then I come along, my mother and father's son. Second son. And here I am. Old now, but I was young in 1951, a brand new baby.  Now I'm 61 and my hair is mostly gray. I cannot believe that. I walked miles today, fighting time. I walked miles yesterday and the day before yesterday and the day/week/month before that. I run trips to the Amazon freaking jungle for goodness sake! You would think the universe would allow me brown hair! No dignity for the old.
   So yesterday was Thanksgiving and yes, a large part of me knows this country was taken by force/deception/horror from the people who previously lived here. Who the people were whose land was stolen from by them I have no idea. Nonetheless, we are not celebrating genocide in my family. We celebrate the idea of living, sharing, joy. We celebrate the fact that the diseases didn't kill us. We celebrate another day or week or month of waking up and saying "Thanks, God, for letting me wake up today and see another sunrise." And that is whatever god you believe in, not any specific one. Cause  it is all too big for me to comprehend, and there are layers of angels and spirits between me and Her/Him/It, so I just do a generic Thanks.
    But then personally: Thank you to Billy Gerba and Anthony and Vinny and Jacky and Dan McGurran for being my pals as kids. Thank you Kathy O, Diane Z, Gail B, Clare W, Claire S, Audrey,  Albie H, Gail R, Chepa, Gasdalia, Claudia and anyone else who ever let me kiss you, cause I love kissing.
   Thanks, Chuck, Larry, Philip, Larry Burns when I was a kid, Lynn, Gritter, and a host of other people who taught me not to be afraid, even when I was scared to death, because of your courage.
   Thanks to my brother Mike who invented the Strong Kids Club and who made all of us do impossible things, painful and impossible things, to prove our strength.
    Thanks to my sisters Pat and Peg, who won awards for Baton Twirling and art at age 10 and went on to push me to try just a little harder to do my best/find my best.
    Thanks to Barbara and Regina, my younger sisters, for letting me try to teach, even though I'd hardly learned.
    Thanks to my mom and dad, fantastic parents and people who encouraged  us all.
    Thanks to Mickey Bayard, and Glen Wilson and Debbie Wilson and Sara C who demanded that I be a chef, not a cook. And gave me the freedom to learn on their dollar.
    Thanks to Mike Kennedy and his lovely wife who ran High TImes, and to Steve Hager who gave me the job of making medical marijuana a national issue, and Hemp a national issue, and Forfeiture law a national issue and then backed me when I did. Thanks to John Holmstrom, who let me kill a lot of ads for High Times that I didn't thing were right for the magazine even though the could have made a lot of money.
    Thanks to the editors at Omni and Penthouse and Wildlife Conservation who allowed me a voice.
    Thanks to the Fort Worth Weekly who picked me up when i got to Texas and didn't have a freaking dime. Thanks for believing in me.
   Thanks to Chepa, who married me and gave me Italo and Marco and had Madeleina with me. Having kids was the best thing that ever happened to me. And thank you Sierra and Alexa and my granddaughter Taylor Rain, for loving me. And thank you, Troy, for making Chepa happy--and that was not easy to write.
    Get the gist? Want more? Thanks, heart, for having an attack that didn't kill me. Thanks rheumatoid arthritis that put me in a hospital for months as a kid but only made me stronger. Thanks flesh-eating bacteria for reminding me that life can go in two days. Thanks intestinal rupture for reminding me that life can go in an hour. Thanks doctors, for saving my life so many times.
    And thank all of you for reading. Thanks for being part of my fantastic life. You are the power that comes to me. You are the exalted that have the strength I rely on. I appreciate you, though I don't know most of you. That does not mean you are not considered and thanked. So thank you.
   And there are ten thousand more. I appreciate you all. I think of you all and say thank you.
Happy belated Thanksgiving.
I hope you all sleep warmly, in the arms of those you love, this year and every year.

1 comment:

Kuchinta said...

Thank you!