Thanksgiving Gratitude

When I think about what I am thankful for, what comes to mind first are the simple things:  the shelter of my rolling home, food to sustain my body.

And then, the people who sustain my soul.

Harry and Mary Levenson, without whom I would not be here.   They are long gone, but we talk every year on their birthdays.

Lew Levenson, Elle Steinberg, and Elaine Levine, with whom I share unconditional love.  They are the people Robert Frost was talking about when he said, “they are the people who, when you go there, they have to take you in.”  And Merritt Malloy said, “they always leave a light on for you.”

The Fats, Tom Rafter, Marc Wolfgram, and Leon Horner, who have passed on, but are no less present.

Tom Gonda, Gary Cecchi, John Salzman, Erika Maslan, and Maureen who saved my life.

Gene Morita, Bob Woodruff, Eddie Kimmel, Tony Bacon, Kay Miller, and Mustard, who are 60-year threads in my personal tapestry.

Reeta Dean, Bruce Bethany, Betty St. John, John Miller, and Big AL Pedersen, who are 50-year threads.

Vitin, Alan Stowell, Dennis and Joni Greathouse, and, especially, Dick Newick, who gave me a 23-knot ride on his sailboat in 1965.  All 40-year threads.

Chuck and Sheri, friends for over 30 years.

Gloria Reid, Carol Feagles, Jennae Wallach, Mark Lawn, who are 20-year friends.

Mal Patterson, Jim Sibbring, Michael Wiest, the best yacht broker I’ve ever known.   Larry Farren and Barbara Renshaw, whose wedding ceremony I performed over ten years ago—the warranty has not run out, and they’ve never had a claim.

Greg Wanamaker, who taught me that 90% of all first reports are wrong and that you work on a tough deal the same way you eat bread: one slice at a time. Faye Sibbring who will be 101 on January 9th and who inspires every writer by reading 101 books every year

Mountain Man Roy, Andy Brandi, Billie Russell, Linda Dahle, Dick Kreutzer, Ken and Cathy Harmon, Doug and Vera Clark, Peter Bruso, and Michael Joyce of Alameda, people—keepers every one—I would never have met had I not hopped aboard the Jolly Swag for a year on the road.

Chaffyn, Freya, William, Kathi, Polly, Carol and Bruce.  People I met within the last month who offered friendship and enhanced my life for a little while.

Jordan, Chip, and Nancy, nephews and a niece I’ve seen rarely in the last 20 years, and with whom, I got a make-up-for-lost-time-visit this year.

High school chum, Manny Kaplan, and college chum, Bill Davidov.  guys I reconnected with in the last year—and will see within the next–via Facebook and LinkedIn, thereby counter-balancing all that is repugnant about Internet social media. 

Mary Hutchinson Ainsworth, my college sweetie, whom I need to find and confirm the last 50 years have been as kind to her as she deserves.

Anne Fox and Jane Wittgraf, who clean up the blog before it gets published.

Dave LaRoche, Dave Bauer, Colleen Rae, Karen Wittgraf, and Michael Joyce, whose support and comments make the blog better than it could be without them.

Anne Fox, David Baker, Risa Nye, Tatjana Greiner, Leslie Marin, and Alex Campbell, of the Crawford Seven Critique Group, who are uncannily insightful and unabashedly honest, who make one another’s writing–and mine when I can submit—better than it could possibly be without them.

Carol Talbot, Carol Chace, and Norma, women who taught me to be a better man.

Marian and Suzie, who were sent to me for a lesson I needed to learn.

Sylvia, who was sent to me as a test.

Pat, Kathy, Barbara, Sandra, Irene, Kathie, Maureen, and Marian, who danced with me from the opening riff and until the music stopped.

Carol Talbot, Carol Chace, and Jane Wittgraf belong on more than one list.

Once in a while I get asked if I ever get lonely.  I don’t, but it is a topic for a future blog.  One reason is that I have secret, invisible friends.

Rex Havoc

Forrest Primeval

Walter Wallcarpet

Amanda Reckonwith

Buck Nekkid

Hugh Gigot

Seymour Clearly

Roland D’Hay

Juan Nightstand

Ivana B. Wilde

Althea Thune

For these people, real and imagined, and for you, I am grateful.  And other favors great and small

And if you’d care to share someone or something with us, please do.

14 Responses to Thanksgiving Gratitude

  1. Dave L says:

    You are a man among men, Al. I don’t think I’ve met that many people much less remember and can spell out their names. You certainly have made good use of your time on this earth and when you get to the gates you’ll likely not be turned down, whatever the slate, as a small rebellion would arise from the other side. And I agree with someone in an earlier post that your writing is certainly improving and now ranks up there with the best of the poets as you pick up your keen observations in precise verse. Yes, verse as your prose pace and rythym is better than most intended that way. I will be supping with Carol and Bruce in SF tomorrow night and will say hello from the Jolly Swag.

  2. Pat Bean says:

    While I love meeting new people and making new friends, the theme of my travels is Mother Nature. Yours seems to be people, whom who bring to life in your blogs. I love it because you fill the holes in my blogging. Keep writing Al.

    • allevenson says:

      Exactly, Pat. I’ve always thought our blogs complemented each other. You write about the birds and animals you meet and you photograph scenic vistas. My creatures have stories to tell and my pix tend to be the works of people–the statuary, the habitation, and the junk.

      Your blog ( yesterday influenced mine. You wrote of the 100 Things for which you are thankful which sent my mind toward my 100 things. I realized there were 100 people for whom I was thankful and this became the theme of my Thanksgiving Gratitude.

      I envision a joint book tour for *Travels With Maggie *and* Travels With Lightnin’.* 😉


  3. Wayne says:

    “they are the people who, when you go there, they have to take you in.” My family can certainly attest to these words being more than true for Harry and Mary Levenson, may their memory be for blessing.
    My fondest childhood memories are Thanksgivings at the Levenson’s.
    Thanks for your many epistles.

  4. Colleen Rae says:

    Al – I’m amazed and impressed that you remembered all the people (100) that you were thankful for in your life. I am honored to be counted among them. You certainly are a people person; that is the great thing about your blog, and the stories you/they tell. Keep up the superb writing. I am thankful that we met and you are a part of my life, too.

  5. Michael Joyce says:

    And Al, let’s add gratefulness for the ability to be a friend. That’s how you have all these friends. Your open loving heart is perceptible, and in the end, the vehicle for the best in life for us all.


  6. karen wittgraf says:

    To see my name posted as your friend- being thankful for little old me, made my face flush. That is also your gift as a writer and seeker of truth, being a humanist. Always remember that I count you, also, as one of my friends…a friend that allows me to know the wonder of his soul. Thank you!

  7. Tanya Grove says:

    What an amazing list of people. I’m willing to bet if everyone wrote out their list of people whom they’re thankful for that you would be on a great many lists. I’m thankful for your blog and for your continued contributions to Write Angles.

  8. Colleen Rae says:

    Love your imaginary friends. I’ve met a few of them myself.

    • allevenson says:

      Rex Havoc has been around so long he could have been placed on the 60 and over list.

      Long before their were CB handles or internet screen names, long before Click and Clack had their cleverly named support team, there was Rex Havoc.


  9. gene morita says:

    You give me pause of the gifts of friends family that I have. Thanks for reminding me of the connections that makes life dear. The best to you. Safe travel,

  10. Ed Kimmel says:

    Al –

    I too am pleased to be included among the “senior” group – in fact, being referred to as Eddie takes me back even further than 60 years!

    In any case, will look forward to seeing you on this coast sometime in ’12 – for a good old “non-official mini-BHS reunion”!

    I reciprocate your good holiday wishes.


  11. Elaine says:

    It’s lovely being one of the people at the top of the list…and I might add one who recognized your writing ability a looong time ago You sent me letters when I was in college and they were so entertaining I read them to my classmates. The light will be on in Maine when you get here.

  12. We most certainly enjoyed both entertaining you, and being entertained BY you, when you were here recently, in our little Paradise. Thanks for the GREAT fish dinner! Please know that if you come back this way again, you are welcome. Chaffyn and Freya, William and I enjoyed meeting you. Hope you had a wonderful time in New Orleans… we would have loved to have you here with us!

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