I have arrived, rumbling, bumbling, and stumbling into a much deserved week long retreat! I now get a chance to catch my breath. Bob Segar once sang about “moving eight miles a minute for months at time,” and he described it right. Labor Day through Thanksgiving break for a teacher is reminiscent of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to Savannah: scorched earth and burnt out as far as the horizon.  A pause in the action causes one to search their soul. Time to check the rear view mirror for the objects that are closer than we often wish them to appear. Yet, I am thankful.


The game winning grand-slam and the 12-6 curve ball strike out; the slap shot and a goal; the three point buzzer beater; the bicycle kick for a goooooooaallllllll;  the Hail Mary pass for a touchdown! Captains Kirk, Picard, and Ahab; JD Salinger and his Holden Caulfield, Steve McQueen, Bob Segar, Neil Diamond, the reverend Meatloaf, John Cougar Mellencamp and the four wise men: John, Paul, George, and Ringo, who explained very simply that in order to change our world for the better, “All you need is love.”

I am thankful for good beer, because it lets us know that God exists and that he loves us.

I am thankful for music, for without it, life has no sound, no joy, no sadness to wallow in. Life would be void of feeling, of thinking, and simply monotonous,  without it.

I am thankful for the words I write as well as the critics’ forked tongues. I am thankful for you, my dear readers. Without you my tales are nothing but sound and fury signifying nothing. One hundred and twenty subscribers find what I write interesting enough to keep reading. For you, my hear is full of joy. When I first started this blog, we were only three!

I am thankful for the food on my table, the clothes on my back, and the roof over my head. We often take for granted the simplest of pleasures.  My classroom houses some students that may be lacking in all or one of these things. There is nothing more saddening then the sight of starving and neglected children.

I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to become educated. That I have the ability to not only read but to understand what I have read. Education is a gift that pays back exponentially. I see those that chose not to pursue higher education. While I cannot argue against their reasoning, I am sympathetic to the limited options that not having one provides.

I am thankful for lessons learned the hard way and for a life time of trials and tribulations. It was in those moments  of struggle where I truly learned the metal with which I was made. You can’t learn anything from life unless you truly live it.

I am thankful for my teachers, professors, and mentors. Some of you took a chance on a punk kid from Planet Granite because you saw a spark and a speck of talent. You invested your time, energy, and patience with someone who has chipped shoulders and jagged edges. Thank you for molding me into what you believe I could be. I now believe the same. I hope you are proud of the man I am today.

Thank you Dad for watching all those old movies when I was little.  For exposing me to the world before my ignorance could ever find it. You gave me one of the greatest lessons I ever learned,  to live as though you and Mom are no longer around.  Mother, I would like to thank you as well for nurturing me when I was truly wounded and lacking direction. The second greatest lesson I ever learned came from you, self reliance. Because of you both, I am fiercely independent and have lived up to the meaning of my name, “Enlightened One.” Okay,that was a bit of stretch….but it sounded good!

I am thankful to be a teacher. I am more thankful that someone thinks I am good enough to keep teaching. Often times our hearts are hardened. We are often looked down upon and disrespected as a profession. We are underpaid for our skill set and made to look like fools in the media. I wish there were not so many examples to pull from to justify those perceptions. Those of us out there that counter the stereotypical phrase of “those who cannot do, teach,” are truly my heroes. Though, I may disagree with my colleagues regarding the how to’s and the reasons why, I am a better teacher because of you. Sometimes the best thing one needs to truly shine is an adversary to compete with. Think about it.  What would have happened if Larry Bird never played against Magic Johnson?

I am thankful for you, my best friend, mi amore. Because of you, my life is now a palette of wondrous colors, where before it was simply shades of dark and grey. I am a better man because of you. I feel that I could conquer the world with you in my corner. Without you, life seems void, meaningless, and lacking of purpose. You are my true north, the only star I need to help navigate the mysteries of this life with. Thank you for the greatest years of my life and for the even better ones to come!


May you all have a very happy Thanksgiving! Eat some turkey, and tell someone you love them. Until next week readers, I bid you Adieu!