Today is American Thanksgiving. Always a good time to ponder and articulate what we are thankful for (although we certainly should not be thankful only one day a year).
It’s also my birthday. These two event always coincide whenever my birthday is on a Thursday.
So yeah, thankful. Lemme see…
On my 19th birthday I got a homemade card from a special friend at church. Our first date was about that same time. We’ve been married for 35 and a half years now. I’m thankful for Donna, our life together for all these years, and for the fun and exciting hope and anticipation of what lies ahead.
On two previous birthdays (in decades past) I had an extremely “expectant” wife. I love being a father. My two daughters rank right up there on the list of things that make me thankful, and which fill me with joy. I miss them, being over here for the holidays, but I’m thankful I have daughters to miss… and that they miss me (you do miss me, don’t you guys? Yes? Whew!)
Now I have two amazing and beautiful grandchildren. To say I’m thankful for them is an understatement. There are no words to fully express it. Next birthday and holiday season, we’ll be with them!
A lot of musicians have been born on my birthday. William “Wild Bill” Davis (I have no idea who that is, but I’m stealing the name.) Scott Joplin, the rag time pianist (whose songs I love to play); Pete Best, the drummer the Beatles ditched just before they got famous; organist Lee Michaels (“Waaaow! You know what I mean!”) Even the drummer for the band Blondie was born on my birthday (The Tide Is High just started running in my head). Music. I love it. But I’m thankful I did not continue in my 1972 musical direction (let’s just say I was not making good life choices at that point). I almost went on tour as keyboardist for a band that was to open for a then-brand-new rock group. That top billing group went on to be extremely famous and (surprise surprise) completely destroy themselves. I can only imagine what would have happened to me to be on the road with the likes of them. I was kept from that path since it was a union tour and I was not yet 18. Looking back, I’m very thankful.
The Beatles started recording the Sgt. Pepper album on my birthday in 1966. That’s completely irrelevant, but I still think it’s kinda cool. Fr. Junipero Serra, the Spanish Friar who founded my hometown of San Diego, was born on November 24, also. In 1713.
San Diego. I’m glad I was born in a city that many people wish they could even visit. But I digress. Back to thankfulness…
Freddie Mercury, (vocalist for Queen – whatever else you might think of him, he was an amazing singer), died on my birthday in 1991, one day after admitting he had AIDS. He made at least a few bad choices in his life, with irrevocable consequences. I’m thankful that God has many times stopped me from adding to my list of bad choices, and other times has graciously saved me from the consequences I deserved.
I love my work, my music, my writing… all of it. (Okay, I don’t love the roosters in my neighbors’ yards. I do have my limits.) Now I’m about to enjoy an amazing home-cooked, love-filled meal and my favorite dessert.
It’s Thanksgiving. I know where all these good gifts come from, and I offer thanks.
It’s good to remember. And to look ahead. And to be thankful.