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Inside Looking Out: It’s time again to say thank you

Another Thanksgiving Day approaches and that brings me this moment to express my gratitude to the important people in my life.

Thank you to my son, Richie, and my daughter, Sadie. He is a first year student at Lehigh University. With a difficult workload of academics, he is doing just fine in each of his classes. Richie is also playing baseball as a pitcher and an infielder on the club team. He’s having fun again playing the game he loves.

Sadie is now a junior at Jim Thorpe High School and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society. She will be acting in “A Christmas Carol,” the school play in just a few weeks. Now that I’ve bragged as their proud father, I am most grateful for every minute that I can spend time with them to share the love we have for each other.

I thank Sharon John for loving me through all the baggage I carry and the busy schedules I keep. Our time together is filled with many precious moments that remind me that there is nothing that brings more joy and fulfillment than to love and to be loved; no amount of money nor status, or accomplishments can ever mean more.

I thank my friends, Mark and Jeff for trusting me to write their courageous stories. Mark told of his unconditional love for his daughter despite her choice to change gender and Jeff’s book I am writing will chronicle his abusive childhood and alcohol addiction through his fight to recovery and redemption.

Death is not a final punctuation mark. I’ve lost many great friends in the past several years, but they still live though me each and every day. Thank you, George Sawicki, Bill Kovacs, Stu Jago, Tim Mason, Ed Eodice, Tom Hicks, Bob Ford, and Brad Dilly for helping me realize that what’s most important in life are the precious moments we spend together. The spirits of those we love live within us every day. A special thanks to my Uncle Steve who passed away just last week in Florida. He was the only family relative who made me laugh when I was a kid by telling my jokes and paying attention to me.

I must express gratitude to my mother and father. The burdens they failed to overcome strengthened my will to overcome mine. My sister Carol was a beacon of love to her husband and to her three sons and my sister Nancy I pray is together with her husband, Joe enjoying every gift heaven has to offer.

It’s been an endearing friendship I share every Tuesday morning with my bowling buddies who like me, have seen their best athletic days pass a long time ago. With my bad fingers, I have to roll the ball with two hands. Vern has had several surgeries. After two knee replacements, Neil stands at the foul line and hooks the ball down the lane. George bowls left-handed because of a debilitating right shoulder injury. Bob has eye issues and two bad feet. Jack does his best rolling a ball that turns the wrong way when it hits the pocket and Chuck, the youngest of our group, graces us with his presence when he’s not busy building authentic 17th century furniture.

Thanks to my baseball buddy, Tom Leinhard and my author friend, Mike Riley for enriching two of my favorite activities.

Thank you very much to those who judged my fourth play to be selected and subsequently produced by the Worthington players at the Shawnee Playhouse. To Robert Mitas, the Hollywood producer of my novel, “Upon a Field of Gold,” thank you for enduring this five-year wait and for continuing your efforts to see that our story will get to the screen one day.

I thank my good friends Sean Cuffe and Sandor Csapo for their texts and phone calls and for Sean’s visit from New Jersey. I was Sean’s mentor when he began his teaching career and our bond has kept strong through those working years and ever since my retirement 12 years ago.

Mike Tedesco, my son’s godfather and my friend for the past 59 years, has stood by my side through all of my crises as I have with him. The expression, “my brother from a different mother” describes us perfectly.

My thanks go out to the editor of this newspaper, Marta Gouger, for allowing me the privilege to continue sharing my thoughts in these columns and for offering me interesting stories to write about people who live in our circulation area.

To my sports editor and good friend, Emmett McCall, thank you for opportunities to cover events that feature great student-athletes and for trying your best but still failing to convince me that the best way to determine the outcome of a soccer game that’s been tied after two overtimes is to put the ball 12 yards in front of a nearly helpless goalie and let players kick from there into the net.

A special expression of my gratitude to the owners and publishers of the Times News for keeping alive a printed newspaper that one day might be shuffled into museums and become extinct just like the dinosaur.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who reads this column whether it be this time only or every Saturday morning. I truly appreciate your emails when they come and I hope to keep expanding your minds through topics that inspire my interests.

Finally, I am most grateful for being born into a world where we have choices. We can choose to see the good in everyone, find beauty in rainy days, and inspire hope in others when they want to give up on themselves. And most of all, let us all be grateful for the opportunity to breathe the air another day.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rich Strack can be reached at richiesadie11@gmail.com