I am thankful.
I’m thankful for rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook trout. I’m thankful for all five species of Pacific salmon plus cod and halibut. I’m thankful for steelhead and Dolly Varden too.
I’m thankful for no-fault warranties that allow me to get my fly rods repaired and peaceful afternoons on untouched or diverted water.
I’m thankful for public land, the open road and tents and waders that don’t leak.
I’m thankful for sun-screen, hand sanitizer and two-ply.
I’m thankful the guy pulled the ripcord, the parachute worked and that we didn’t land on the freeway.
I’m thankful for the Internet, spell-check, lap top computers, and that they haven’t replaced my desire to open books and flip paper pages. I’m also very thankful for books, magazines and essays about fishing.
I’m thankful I have a job. I’m thankful I feel that I’m entitled to an opportunity not a hand-out. I’m thankful I know what it feels like to work 40 days without a day off even if it was during the summer in college. I’m thankful I know what manual labor is, and maybe even like it in moderation. I’m thankful for fiberglass ax handles, sharp edges and dry hemlock rounds without too many knots. I’m thankful I’ve had blisters on my hand bleed and didn’t blame the ax handle, manufacturer or my parents.
I’m thankful I left Alaska for college, then Arizona for a career in California. I’m thankful I have friends that sing the University of Arizona fight song to conclude weddings. I’m thankful for friends that come to Alaska and actually believe it’s a tradition to eat the heart of the first salmon they catch. It’s funny. I’m thankful for fish boxes, vacuum packers and freezers.
I’m thankful I’ve embarrassed myself so many times it doesn’t bother me anymore.
I’m thankful for Grace, and that there are guys like Tim Tebow who believe in something other than their egos and get things done on sheer will. It should remind us that the heart is the most powerful muscle, not the fibers that move the mouth to create fits of ostentatious filth. Those that are counting the days until Tebow fails, even if they aren’t Christians or Bronco fans, are missing the point.
I’m thankful for music of all kinds and especially that little chill I get when the last lines of the Star Spangled Banner are passionately performed vocally or instrumentally.
I’m thankful for trails leading to high places that make me feel small and other mountains not packed by foot traffic. I’m happy I haven’t looked appetizing enough for a bear to get any ideas.
I’m thankful I’ve lost the taste for soda. I’m thankful the turkey we cooked at Stacie’s back in college didn’t catch fire. I’m thankful the fire that started in Nate’s oven was a little one and didn’t spread.
I’m thankful for the bean and chicken burro enchilada style from El Minuto Cafe in Tucson, the Milano sub at The Italian Store in Arlington, Virginia, the smoke salmon chowder at Annabelle’s in Ketchikan, Alaska, and anything mom cooks.
I’m thankful I don’t have food allergies.
I’m thankful for those that have adopted me during Thanksgiving and the cousins I usually spend it with.
I’m thankful my dad was a dad, not a friend, and drove me to Mr. Busse’s house to apologize for being a punk in his class freshman year. I’m thankful Mr. Busse (who tells me to call him Don) takes me hunting and Abe and I slay king salmon and halibut every June.
I’m thankful my brother and I get along well.
I’m thankful I’m thankful.
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