Thanksgiving messages are a sometimes trite and oh-so-boring encyclopedia, but I’m compelled to write, speak or broadcast them to anyone who wants to read or hear. If you’re so inclined to read what follows-great! If not, I get it, but in lieu of that, why not stop and write, call, text, skype or in some way thank one or a few people who have made a difference in your life. It will move them and close the circle a bit for you. Whether or not you make it to the bottom of the tome that follows, I hope you’ll take a moment to stop, ponder and then act on your heart’s recognition that you wouldn’t be you without a universe of others who helped mold you. I guarantee the exercise will inspire you to go and make a difference tomorrow, the next day and many days after that! And it will be good for your body and soul, to boot. God Bless and have a meaningful Thanksgiving. (By the way…to many who I am thankful for during the year and whose recall evokes a “memory smile” randomly in my stream of consciousness….though you are not named here, you are no less important a blessing; I am a victim of too little space for so many friends!)
Thanks to Dr. Mary Parker, who interviewed me (and certainly had to advocate long and hard!) for admission to Washington University Medical School; to Drs. Donald Grogan, Harvey Friedman, Monroe Strickberger and Charles Armbruster at University of Missouri-St. Louis who taught me science and the wonders of biological systems, and encouraged me in pre-med training; to an army of dedicated teachers in the Lindbergh School District who lived and taught the love of learning and joy of curiosity; to Drs. Mike Gast, Ronald Strickler, Andy Galakatos, Jim Crane, Mike Nelson, Randy Odem, Dave Mutch, Carolyn Martin, Diane Merritt, Ming-Shian Kao, Steve Lefrak, and too numerous to count, but no less important other full-time and clinical faculty who taught me to always think and do like a physician should; to the nurses and staff providing 24/7 care for all the patients when I wasn’t there, watching over them as they heal; to Drs. Burstein and Wasserman (both deceased), Hartman, McDonald and Levy, Nurse Shannon, Manager Lauren, Sonographer Maureen, Nurse Barb, Sherrell and the entire staff of Richmond Center Ob-Gyn who remain dear friends and were invaluable partners in caring for patients and supporting me every day; to Nurse Lacie, Sonya, Lana and Rhonda, Dr. Jeff Davis, Bill Dixon and my present colleagues and dedicated staff, who work tirelessly to serve a medically isolated community; to the students and residents that inspire me to excel, set an example, and give me hope (not to mention help me feel young just being around them!); to the administrators and practice managers who tend to finances and compliance while I attended to patients.
Thanks to Drs. Ralph Dacy, Brock Ridenour, Kathleen Garcia and William Clutter, plus the imaging, anesthesia and nursing staff at Barnes Hospital who literally saved my life in 1997 by curing Cushing’s disease and shepherding me through the…hmmm…’interesting’ detours including a craniotomy along the way; to Dr. Steve Fern and Michael Bartell who have treated me so well that I question whether I can treat others as well; to Dr. Bruce Bryan who delivered our children and cared for Heliene so well; Dr. Jim Crane who did a delicate procedure during one of her pregnancies.
Thanks to Jeff Allen, Jim Modglin, John Beck, Gino Belosi, Ralph Brancato and the entire sales, promotion, production and on-air staff at FM Newstalk 97.1 who gave me a chance in broadcasting and have stuck with me through the trevails of learning the business along an unorthodox route; to my great friend and mentor Kelly Webb-Little, who has been there from the start as coach, curb, cheerleader, model and advocate; to Eric Robert who keeps me challenged and always thinking ahead of the curve; to Kathryn Kiefer, who early on helped me learn to communicate in broadcasting.
Very special thanks to my audience over the years; you are simply…… my oxygen! Thanks to guests who make exceptions to be on a Saturday show; tosponsors who are as passionate about their products and services as I am about mine…and believe in me to promote the quality they offer. Thanks to Brock Ayers, Doug Edelman (deceased) and other patriots who help me with tips, perspective and encouragement.
To Jack Engler, George Johnson, Bob Kuban, Joe Mele and all the band-leaders who had confidence to hire me as a professional musician; to Bob Ceccarini who along with my father taught me success in the music business; to Joe and Dianne Shadduck, my “second parents” during the band years; to Frank Goessler, Bob Bosch, Dean Kresyman and all the guys who made music sing in my soul as professional examples and awesome musicians.
Thanks to Laura Leuken, my friend and financial guru; to Pastor Mark Appold and all my spiritual mentors; to Tom and Bill Breuer in STL, the Martin family, the guys at Off Road, Chris Vanhoozen (deceased) and the countless appliance repairmen who have kept the cars and “stuff” working; to Carl Frey, Marlin Oberholtzer, Drake Baer, Dave Seppelt, Jeff Frederick, John and Donna Craig, Merri Grogan and the numerous craftsmen who have helped us with 2 major remodels; to Joni and Annette Kuhns who have helped with the Willows Lakehouse maintenance; to our mentors in country living: Dan and Karen Martin, Don Noyes, Stan Barker, Alisa Kigar; and Bill and Ann Bullock; to realtor Drennan Bailey; to Jeff Demand and Ted Seiler, who have taught me to become a hunter and amateur outdoorsman; to Chef Gordon Rader. All of these folks have become good friends too!
Special and impossible-to-genuinely-express thanks to Mom and Dad, brother and sister, and deceased grandparents, all of whom have blessed me in countless and unreimbursable ways; to in-laws and extended family who put up with my reliable wandering into medical, political and religious talk at all gatherings where you’re not supposed to talk about those things; to our great friends Mark and Jill Peeler;
Every day, several times I count the blessings of my wife Heliene, and children Sean, Shannon and Sammi. Their incredible understanding of my very peculiar (and many) idiosyncrasies and personality flaws is a study in patience, of which I have little! Life without them would be unimaginable.
Finally, profoundly and ultimately, in an Alpha and Omega kind of way, I’m thankful for God’s goodness, blessings, signs and amazing grace. It’s so mind-numbingly fabulous to daily see His work in Nature and humanity, and liberating to know His grace and be freed by it.