The Gratitude List

Some of the folks who have helped the author survive along the way.

Mood music: “Life is Beautiful” (live version) by Sixx A.M.:

I’ve spent a lot of time digging up ghosts from the past of late. Yesterday I arrived at a better place on that front by feeling the joy of reconnecting with some people from that earlier life — people I thought would be lost to me forever because of the man that I was.

I’m taking that vibe to the next level this morning. I drove to the office with a brilliant sunrise in my rear-view mirror and a feeling of deep gratitude for people in my life. I feel the need, therefore, to list just some of the people who are the rock of my existence today. I don’t see them all every day, but all have left their mark:

Erin. I wrote about what my wife means to me awhile back in “The Freak and the Redhead: A Love Story,” but I can never devote too much time to her in this blog and in all other corners of my life.

She stuck by me during my darkest years of depression, fear and anxiety and addictive behavior. To this day I still don’t know how she put up with it without running away. My love for her grows each day, even if I’m not always good at showing it.

Sean and Duncan. I introduced you to my boys in “Snowpocalypse and the Fear of Loss” and like their mom, my love for them grows each day. I love the things that come out of their mouths.

They make me laugh, and I’m grounded by their unjaded perspective on life. Forget about success and fame. Sean knows a pile of Legos and a good book is a lot more important. Duncan reminds me to slow down and appreciate the joy of actually writing a book (yes, he and Sean like to create their own books) and making the most of a colorful imagination.

The Brenners. I didn’t always get along with them, and I still have work to do on my relations with my mother and her side of the family, though I think I’m doing the best I can right now. But when I look at how I get on with the Brenners today, I have much to be thankful for. I’ve learned a lot from my Old Man and everyone else.

The Inlaws. Though I’ve had my ups and downs with family in the past, I’m happy to say my relations with the inlaws has been rock solid from the beginning. My father-in-law and I disagree on most things political, though not all, but despite his views, he always has space in his heart for individuals he may not agree with. Hell, he’s put up with me all these years. My mother-in-law is the painfully shy type and doesn’t say much compared to her more talkative daughters and other family members. But she has an ease and peace about her that makes you want to be with her as much as possible. Ask her grand kids. I also treasure my sisters-in-law. The Corthell sisters stick together, and are always there for family, even when it’s easier and probably more logical to run the other way.

And without my kid sister-in-law, who answers to the name Blondo in my presence, I would be missing out on all kinds of amusement. I like to tease her, but I’m also proud of the lady she’s become. I say that because she was only 12 when I came on the scene, and I’ve gotten to see her grow up.

The Whites. Ken and Linda White are a major force in our lives. Our kids go to school together and Ken is my favorite sparring partner when it comes to politics. Linda has a razor-sharp sense of humor and never disappoints her Facebook friends with a retelling of the things her kids say. She really needs to write a book with all those kid-isms. This is a family who is always there for the Brenners. I hope we’ve done the same.

The Eagle-Tribune family. This one might come as a surprise to you if you’ve read “The Crazy-Ass Guy in the Newsroom” or “Newsroom Nightmare: A Sequel.”  I had a lot of bad experiences in that newsroom. But over the years I’ve come to realize it was more a product of my own insanity than anything else. But the big reason I list the paper here is because of the deep friendships I made there that thrive to this day.

I love that a reporter like Meredith Warren, whose copy I used to shred on deadline, came over once a week during Lent to watch my kids while I was helping out with RCIA.

Also worth mentioning is Gretchen Putnam, managing editor of the paper. We’ve butted heads over the years, especially when I was a night editor who was coming apart at the seams and therefore wasn’t of much help to her. She put up with a lot and I’m grateful for that.

She’s also an awe-inspiring journalist, as this article makes clear. With all that, she’s still able to make her family the center of her universe. It’s a hell of a thing to behold.

The Security Community. I’ve made some special friends in my career as a cybersecurity writer.

Many are from the hacker crowd and many are from up and down the food chain in government. I learn a ton from them every day, and the subject matter is never boring. I must have a lot of faith in them. Why else would I spend 20 hours in an RV to and from Washington DC with this guy (Jack Daniel) at the wheel:

My co-workers: You’ve heard me say it many times: I love my job. Not just for the subject matter. My co-workers make me laugh everyday and I feed off their creativity. I’m lucky to work among folks like Derek Slater, John Gallant and Bob Bragdon. These guys have given me a ton of opportunity. I hope I’ve given back in equal measure.


13 thoughts on “The Gratitude List

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  11. Just so you know, the Whites feel the same about the Brenners. And thank you for this. I’ve been a little emotional lately & this made my mascara run before work.

  12. Everyday I am grateful for the things I have…
    I know that where I have come from and where I am now, are two completely different places, and I have God to thank for that.
    I am reminded all the time of how blessed I am, and that in itself helps center me.

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