I finished the 15th hole of a course down in Florida this past Thanksgiving week and there were two maintenance workers working hard in the heat.  I often say hello to maintenance workers.  I’m sure they couldn’t care less about me, but they work really hard so I can have fun, and it just doesn’t feel right to walk by and ignore them.  I assumed (correctly) that they were Hispanic and said, “Buenos días.”  They smiled and responded, “Buenos días.”

While walking away I had an interesting thought:  out of the 7.6 billion people in the world, the three of us took actions in our lives that brought us together to this exact same place at this exact same moment.  But then I thought: we couldn’t have had more different paths.

I assume their original homeland didn’t have enough work for them to take care of themselves and their families, so they came here to work.  My homeland had a lot of opportunity for work.  I had to study and work for what I got, but the opportunity to work was something I was given.

I didn’t have to leave my family to work.  Who knows who these guys had to leave behind?  I never had to do manual labor to survive.  There’s nothing wrong with manual labor!  But most people I know don’t choose it unless they love it.  I’m guessing that’s not the case with these maintenance workers.

Look, I’m not some bleeding heart – if I were I would have put down my clubs and helped them with their work.  But I need to express my gratitude, so here goes:

I’m grateful for Rebecca.  That two seemingly polar-opposites could be such soulmates is astounding.  I’m grateful that I have the best families (both blood and in-laws).

I’m grateful that I’m American.  This isn’t a political blog, but I’m so grateful for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and for the many people over the years who have made sacrifices for my freedoms.

I’m grateful for my life-long friends.  You, more than anyone else, know how imperfect I am.  We’ve lasted this long because you’re forgiving.  Thank you.  I’m grateful for all my Pennsylvania friends.  Moving from NY (where I lived my entire life) wasn’t easy; you’ve made it great.

The bottom line is I’m grateful that I get to be a spoiled brat – a badge I usually wear with honor – but today I wear with gratitude.