Take Time to Say Thank You

My, how time flies. Where does it go? Now we are about to sit down to yet another Thanksgiving Day feast. 
Wasn't it January just the other day? Then suddenly it was April, then my birthday in July and now, wham, it is November.   I guess something a friend shared with me many years ago seems quite true indeed now that I am in my 65th year. That person told me that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end you get, the faster it seems to go. At least it seems that way to me. 
Think about this observation my friends. How can you disagree with it? Think about how long you had to wait in order to graduate from high school. It seemed to go on forever. For those of you who served in the military, I challenge you to remember how long each day seemed to last until you made it to the day of your discharge. Heck, in Vietnam, we kept 'short-timer' calendars. Each of us colored in a space every day until we caught the Freedom Bird home to the land of the free and the brave.
Time has once again flown by in our living of life. My friends, we have once again come to time of the year when we pause to say thanks, unless of course, you happen to be a turkey. While there are many things for which you and I could gives thanks, let me begin by saying thank you for the help and guidance which I receive from my friends.
Many are the times in any given year when I could do something really stupid, or so my charming wife might suggest. The same holds true when I might want to unleash a flurry of thoughts about one thing or another. However, I am much older and a bit wiser than I once was. I seek the wise counsel of people I have come to know and love.
Over the past several years I have taken to bouncing my thoughts off of others before setting sail on the sea of uncertainty. These people have never been unwilling to share their advice and guidance with me. As we approach Thanksgiving Day 2011, let me pause to say thank you to a few folks to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. 
First and foremost among these is my best friend Jack Peltier of Marlborough, Massachusetts. He and I have been buddies since the long-ago days of the Fire Department Instructors Conference, back when it was held in Memphis, Tennessee. Early on I was impressed with Jack's organizational abilities and his knowledge and mastery of the nuts and bolts of what it takes to train firefighters. 
However, over time, I came to be even more impressed with his ability to cut to the heart of major issues with a solid base of common sense rarely seen these days. Whenever I am faced with a problem which needs to be reviewed by a person with common sense, Jack gets the call. He has never failed to help me. Thank you for being my pal Jack. 
In addition, I really do no know where I would be without the assistance of my dear friend and Brother Mason, Steve Austin of Delaware. Many years ago Steve adopted me as a work in progress. He took me under his wing and helped me to move in new directions professionally. 
Over the years, he lavished untold amounts of time to grow me as a professional in the world of fire protection. He has done this for more people than I am able to count. Let me suggest that the fire service is so much better off because of Steve's abilities and his dedication to advancing the professional stature of our world. Thank you for all that you do my Brother.
Let me say thank you now to three really great friends from the world of Cygnus Media. These are men with whom I have worked for decades now. These are men who have allowed me to grow my writing career on the grand level. Harvey Eisner, Jeff Barrington, and Peter Matthews have helped me to get from thoughts out there to you, the fire service out in the trenches of our great nation. Perhaps my words were not always perfect, but the efforts of these fine folks helped me to hone my thoughts to a fine edge.
Another of my real good buddies comes from the academic world. I first met Dr. Marian Mosser during a Capella University colloquia for our students which was held in Crystal City, Virginia. We quickly struck up a friendship based upon our no-nonsense view of life.
We are both retired military officers, we are both faculty instructors and we are both doctoral mentors. Marian has served as a friend and mentor to me as I have worked in the world of mentoring doctoral students at Capella. Her knowledge of the doctoral process is amazing and her willingness to share her insights with me is heartfelt. I really do not know where I would be without her.
Let me suggest that there are people like this in your life. All of you have friends who are there for you when it really counts. You too have folks like this in your life. By golly, you need to say thank you to them. Not once, not twice, but as often as you can. I can only hope that I am as good a friend to these people as they are to me. Rest assured that I will keep trying to do all that is expected of me whenever I can.  
In my little part of the world, my wife and I are thankful for the friends who have been with us through thick and thin. Maybe they are from the Colts Neck Reformed Church. There are a lot of really great people there. Or it could be that they belong to the Adelphia Fire Company, the Freehold Fire Department, or one of the community bands with which I have been fortunate to associate. 
I pray that I am as good a friend to these people as they are to me. When they call, I listen. When they ask for help, I try to assist them. I just wish there was more that I had to offer to them. But that is how it is in life. Each of us has certain skills and abilities. We need to share these with others whenever and wherever we can. 
The whole point of this little visit with you today is to remind you to love, support, and nurture your friends. Let me close by asking you a really important question. Where would any of us be without the help of our friends? In the absence of good friends, life on God's Green Earth would be a whole lot lonelier and less productive. 
As you sit down to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day, do not limit your vision of the reasons for saying thank you. Cast your net far and wide. Skip the emails my friends and pick up the phone. Let the words come from your heart and let your friends hear them. It is not hard, but it is often overlooked.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and to your families from the Carter Family here in beautiful, downtown Adelphia, New Jersey.