My best afternoon in 2016 

Builders,

I traveled more extensively in 2016 than I have in 20 years, I saw a lot of people and places and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to experience it, even the parts that were hard work and tiring. But one single afternoon out of 365 will stick in my mind long after the others, even the strong ones, have faded.

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Above, Grace and ScoobE sit with my Father in the hospital, looking at my fathers US Navy albums from the late 1940s and Korea. The photo was taken on May 19th.

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I was in California, just after Corvair College #38 in Cloverdale ended. My sister in law called and said Dad was not doing well, had pneumonia, and it was time to come home. I dropped the trailer in a storage lot, drove to Sacramento and got on a plane headed for Newark. Before getting on the plane, I sent Grace, who was in St. Pete FL caring for her parents, a text explaining my departure from California.

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Without further word, Grace put the dog in Caddy and headed 1,200 miles north, stopping only for gas. Having known my father for 17 years, Grace knew that memories and stories from the past and the company of a loyal dog would go a long way to improving my fathers outlook.  Armed with a stack of photo albums and an attitude that says “Of course he is a real service dog” without anyone needing to ask, Grace spent the afternoon pictured above listening to my father recall both moments of humor and sacrifice, names of men who raised good families and those who’s devotion to duty and shipmates cost them all they might have done in this life.

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The afternoon of May 19th 2016 will remain the moment of 2016 which I am most thankful for. In my life the most profound moments have not been the brief satisfactions of achievement nor victory, but the moments that have lasted are the hours when I have felt weak, unsure and helpless, and someone arrived to show how the moment could be salvaged for a vastly better outcome. If you make a single pledge to yourself for 2017, consider vowing to be the person who arrives, without being asked, in the hour of another persons need. It produces the kind of gratitude not easily forgotten, no matter what may come.

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-ww.

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