Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks . . .

I give thanks to my Mother for being strong yet remaining sweet through these difficult months. Ever the smiling one who believes absolutely in the goodness of others, I've learned kindness and patience through your example.

I give thanks to my Father. I shall carry your story forward and make sure the tales of South Eleventh Street, Newark are known far and wide. Someday I shall tell you how my own story turned out.

I give thanks to those whose names are etched in marble memorials, who sacrificed all for the sake of their families, neighbors and country.

I give thanks to my sisters, who at various stages in my life have been teachers and tormentors. ;-) That's what your big sisters are for. My love of fantasy and science fiction began with being read mythology as a small boy. Had I not been told of Perseus fighting the Medusa, Odysseus and the Cyclops I might never have found this road I now walk.

I give thanks to my nephews, who are the best audience a silly guy like me can have. Don't grow up too fast otherwise you will stop thinking I am cool. Remember... your uncle is a superhero who fights ninjas with a lightsaber.

I give thanks for dogs riding in cars with their heads out the window, catching the breeze. If ever there was a metaphor for happiness, that is it!

I give thanks to the guys who were not born as my brothers but have become my brothers in life. You looked out for me when I was at my lowest and helped me stand up straight again.

I give thanks to every teacher I ever had and teachers the world over. No child can grow and evolve without your guidance. Humanity is an engine of learning and we all have much more "homework" to do.

I give thanks Lt. Col. Wardle and SMSgt. Evans for giving me focus through high school and beyond. I am at my best when I remember the leadership skills you taught me.

I give thanks to George Taber and Don Wilson, who took a chance on guy who knew nothing about the news industry and gave me the chance to learn this craft.

I give thanks to Steve B. and Eric T. who created a playing field where imagination took shape (with creative use of plumbing supplies) beyond tabletop games and computer screens.

I give thanks to everyone whose ever drawn swords with some sad looking mime named Jaggereth Wren and waged war against the monsters of the abyss but especially my old crew, the Drehkindrah: "We kill our enemies, cut off their @#$! and put them in jars!"

I give thanks to my friends old and new (who have NO IDEA what the hell that last quote means). Do not let time and distance steal away the smiles we have shared.

I give thanks to J. R. R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin. One day, gentlemen, my books will share shelf space with you.

I give thanks to Sean Bean and Peter Jackson for making me cry every time I watch Boromir make his stand at Amon Hen.

I give thanks to everyone I've ever loved and those who have loved me back. Caring for others is the greatest expression of who we are. I don't always get it right, made some big mistakes, but I endeavor to make you proud to have known me.

This holiday, may your table be plentiful with family and friends for it is the joy of togetherness that feeds our souls.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away