I’m 81 today. I want to thank all of you who sent along a greeting on this once in a lifetime day.

Actually, I believe all days fit that description, do they not? And here it is on the eve of Thanksgiving as well. When Thanksgiving used to float, my birthday came on Thanksgiving Day from time to time. Of course, that wouldn’t do. Besides, there needed to be another fixed long weekend and this seemed as good a place as any to stick one in the calendar. I don’t mind.

So, on this auspicious day, I want to be thankful for a few things.

Obviously I am thankful to be here. Like the inimitable Minnie Pearl, “I’m just so proud to be here”! I never made plans to be here so long. And I appreciate everyone making room for my extended stay. I have issues, like any octogenarian, but through the ministrations of a team of physicians, Medicare, a drug plan I can afford and the ability to appreciate good gin, I seem to be doing OK at the moment – and the moment is all any of us really have.

Then I am thankful for my family in all of it’s branches. They are the foundation on which “I AM” has been built. I am specially thankful for my children who mean more to me than they can know, and who actually speak to me, and who all have iPhones with which to do it.

I am thankful for my friends who seem willing to put up with me and my vices. It has occurred to me that without a few vices, we would be a boring and completely lackluster tribe. Actually, I have been rejected by some because of my vices. They are certainly the less for it.

I am thankful for one woman who knows all my vices, even the ones I have managed to hide from most of you out there. I’m thankful for her love and patience and belief. There has to be belief in a lasting relationship. I am thankful for her family who have let me inside to feel a part of their lives, to share their joy and sadness and love.

As I said, I am thankful for the moment. Celebrate the moment with me. Don’t mourn the passing of the moment. Don’t be anxious about the next moment.

Thank you all.

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