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During this time of year to reflect and give thanks, it seems only appropriate to make a nice detailed list of all the aspects of my life that don’t suck. I’ll admit, most times I let the trivial issues turn into big, roaming elephants of suck. Take the day job, for instance. Sure, it blows and it keeps me from doing what I really want to do. But looking at the big picture, my life is pretty damn good and, oh yeah, there are folks out there trying to feed their families while looking for a job. Any job. I’ve found perspective to be the perfect cure for negativity. When the 8 to 5 has me down, I think of where I’m going. I’m taking steps to where I want to be, even if those steps don’t seem all that significant right now. I’ll get there, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let small things eat at my peace along the way.
A few things I’m thankful for:
1) … When the alarm goes off in the morning, I don’t need to ring the nurse for help getting out of bed. My limbs work; my heart beats; lungs work; head is clear; I’m healthy. If I stopped right here at No. 1, I’d still be blessed.
2) …  An incredible family. I was extremely fortunate to live in one town, in one house with both mom AND dad livin’ in it. Couldn’t have asked for a better set of loving parents who encouraged, corrected, and most of all, loved (and still do, by the way. Can’t change tense in mid-sentence). Brothers who are all close. Cousins who aren’t just some distant relatives but brothers and sisters in their own right. I could keep going.
3) … the country I live in. Let’s face it, we have so many opportunities in this country that we take for granted. Too many to list in this space. Sure, America ain’t perfect, but we can get an education if we want one. We can pursue a dream if we got one. To some out there, that’s an impossibility. I heard this story some months back: A woman I know, who works for a community outreach program in Charlotte, had the pleasure to chauffeur some Middle Eastern kids around town. She got a fancy bus with leather seats for the tour, and the kids loved it. They drove around in that fancy bus, checking out the Bank of America building, Bobcats Arena, Bank of America Stadium and various other Queen City landmarks. When asked what most impressed them about Charlotte, the kids responded en masse: the water fountains. Touring the big banking city, they were shocked at the availability of fresh drinking water at the push of a button. Perspective?
4) … faith in God. I’m no theologian, and I’m sure as shit no perfect Christian. But when I read the Bible, read about Jesus, there’s an unexplainable peace that pleasantly moves in. Years ago, I would have read that previous sentence and laughed. Today, it’s as crucial an element of my life than anything else. It took awhile, but God and I are boys now.
5) … Friends. Listen, I got the best friends a man could ask for. Our core grew up together, went to the same high school. Then came college in different states and ensuing careers that took us further away from Home Sweet Home. Today, we’ve got stakes in Pittsburgh, Colorado, Cincinnati, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh and Charlotte, and yet we remain close, talk frequently, meet up once a year in a different city for a ballgame. If it sounds like I’m bragging, I am.
6) … A job that keeps money in my pocket. That whole “Starving Artist” thing is bullshit. Being broke isn’t fun, either is taking cold showers for a month or eating peanut butter sandwiches for five days out of the week (I have experience in both). Money got my recording equipment to record an EP, this computer, a car, a place to live. I don’t have to love my job, but I’m thankful I have one to hold me over until I find something better.
7) … Music, as creator and listener. Some never find their true passion, the one thing that keeps life moving. Music provides me a much-needed outlet for balled up creative energy, and, like writing, both focuses and quiets the brain.
8 ) Charlotte. A cool place, definitely. Not the hippest city, a little sterile in spots, but it’s better than Wharton, NJ. I always tell folks that Charlotte has the big-city feel but is small enough to elbow your way into, claim your territory, get one’s name out there. Plus, I can walk home from the bar without getting a shank stuck in my ribs by a gang-banger. Rae Carruth, maybe.
9) What’s ahead, for those I’ll meet, for the places I’ll see, for the experiences up the road. If I’m not moving forward, if I’m not learning and growing, then, fuck it, box me up and put me in the ground. I’m thankful that all this work will pay off eventually, that there is no gain in worry.
Much love. Happy Thanksgiving.
Miles Davis “Birth of the Cool”
Monsters of Folk “s/t”