Gratitude List (#7)

31. Jaws: This is one of my three favorite movies and certainly one of the greatest movies of all time. The chemistry between Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss is magnificent, genuine, and electrifying. Shaw’s improvised retelling of the demise of the USS Indianapolis is nothing short of brilliant. And the psychological depth of the script never fails to draw me right in. I’m not a horror buff and I never will be, but somehow this movie transcends the genre and is more about a character profile of these three men and how they must work together to overcome the obstacle that is the shark. I was terrified of this film when I was a child, but now I watch it often. Thank you, Steven Spielberg.

32. My Ipod: Thank God for this. Technology has never been my friend; certainly not in the last 10 to 15 years. But I make many long trips and I recall with great dismay many of them being made searching for radio stations, and ultimately listening to a lot of music and talk radio that had no value whatsoever, or interest to me beyond noise. Thanks to my iPod I can download podcasts, music, and audio books that I want to listen to again and often. It was a revolutionary idea inventing it, and whoever did it, thank you so much for changing my life for the positive.

33. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama: There is no single person alive today on this planet that I admire more. Forced to flee his home and his possessions, the Dalai Lama took up residence in India and has proceeded to change the world through peace, goodwill, and a jovial spirit. I am beyond excited about the fact that I will be in his presence in less than a month in Washington D.C. He radiates an energy that is so far beyond the norm of the average person on this planet that I have no idea how I won’t cry just to be in the presence of his gentle greatness and wisdom. If God does incarnate from time to time certainly he could not have chosen a better emissary in which to inhabit. Namaste.

34. Dusti Lewars: My oldest and at times dearest friend. Dusti and I have shared a lot together, have been on the outs, and have rekindled our friendship more times than I care to recall. No single friend of mine has had a greater impact on my life than her, because no single friend of mine has had as much courage to be an original as she does. Whether it’s exploring her spirituality, her dark side, her sexuality, or her myriad of artistic gifts, Dusti is without question a true original. Though she is currently on the outs with my other very old and dear friend, Carolyn, I keep praying for the day when these two people will put their minor differences behind them and repair a very worthwhile friendship. Thank you, friend, for 30+ years of tutelage and wisdom. Here’s to thirty more.

35: Riverside Center Dinner Theatre: When Nancy and I moved to Virginia there was no guarantee of employment. Indeed, I spent the first two months here dipping into the last of my Summer Stage salary. Since hiring me in October 2010, Ron and Patrick have been an absolute lifeline to me and to my family. Giving me constant work, opportunities, friendship, and a shoulder to cry on when necessary, these two men have made the transition from Pennsylvania to Virginia bearable and possible and I cannot say what a debt of gratitude I owe the two of them. Though they don’t always see eye to eye, the fact that they mutually allow me to work there, as well as Nancy, endears them both to me in profound and deep ways. Thank you, Riverside, thank you, Ron, thank you, Patrick, for making my new life possible.

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