COUNTED AMONG THE FORTUNATE ONES

The recent Facebook posting pertaining to my untimely demise, and the subsequent outpouring of sincere concern, drove home a point of recent meditations. In short, I am one of the fortunate ones.
First, I am not deceased, and there is no indication that I will be in the immediate future. Second, I have real, honest to goodness friends from every corner of the planet. 
As an author and photographer, international name recognition is another indication of just how fortunate I am. Even better, this name recognition is manifesting into a base of fans for my work.
Even though it appears I am quite allergic to IT, a recent resident of the backyard resultant of the nearly epic rainfall of the past few weeks, I live in the desert and so it is difficult to really complain about rain in any amount. Feel free to remind me of this missive if complaints begin to flow when it comes time to eliminate the jungle from the yard.
I have steady employment, another sign of how fortunate I am. Even better, some of that employment is down right enjoyable,is moving me closer, and closer to the childhood dream of being a writer when I grow up, and is an almost never ending opportunity to meet with people from throughout the world. 
Even though the homestead is feeling more and more like the setting for a never ending disaster movie, it has remained dry even with the recent rains that have given rise to thoughts of building an ark. The pantry is full, another indication that I am a fortunate one, especially as my dearest friend enjoys cooking and I enjoy eating. 
I live on Route 66 and in Arizona. Even better, I live in Arizona along what is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful segment of Route 66 anywhere between Chicago and Santa Monica. As a bonus, thanks to Dale Butel, Dries Bessels, Wolfgang Werz, and a few dozen others, I get to share the history, the color, and the allure of the old road with people from most every country on the planet. All of this means that I am one of the fortunate ones.
Still, in spite of all of this, it is easy to forget that I am one of the fortunate ones, especially when a different appliance seems to break every day, when the customers are particularly frustrating, or when an allergy threatens to derail a productive day. When something happens that snaps me back into a proper perspective I am always amazed by how an issue as minor as a broken television or an allergy or a customer that cannot be pleased can lead me to forget that simple fact. 
In the past week the notes from those who heard of my demise, a special request from Dale Butel, a note reminding me of a forthcoming dinner with Dries and a group from Holland, a pending visit from Mike and Sharon Ward, and a few other items served as that gentle snap needed to adjust the focus. However, the event that really sharpened my focus on just how fortunate I am was a most simple and quiet celebration. 
Last evening, at a table piled high with correspondence awaiting a response, the galley proof for the new book, owners manuals and warranty cards for the items replaced in the past week, and assorted items that haven’t been added to the growing piles in the office, my dearest friend and I enjoyed the most delightful dinner of grilled salmon, and Mediterranean couscous with garlic and mushrooms. Last evening we turned a corner and looked back on thirty years of tears, trials, tribulation, laughter, friends, travels, and good times.
Then, with eager anticipation we turned our sights on the adventure that awaits us in the next thirty years as we enjoyed a desert of pound cake and strawberries. I am truly counted among the fortunate ones.                  

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