Thank you, everyone.
Thank you, raspy-voiced, chainsmoking high school student for showing me where the sheet metal shop was on my first day of junior high shops. I was lost and frightened.
Thank you Mr Isaacs, for pulling me out of class and chewing me out for quitting basketball. It was so thoughtful of you.
Thank you Ms Shawcross, for phoning me years later and telling me you shared my old short story with your new class. I’m glad they liked it.
Thank you Nadia, Lisis, Roger, Michael, Sherri, Gwynn, Ian, Jay and Alison for welcoming me with open arms into the blogging world.
Thank you, kind readers, for finding my words worthwhile. I appreciate it more than you know.
Thank you Milt Stegall, for making The Catch.
Thank you nameless guy who helped me fix my bike chain in the field beside the bowling alley. I know you missed your bus for me, but you pretended you didn’t.
Thank you, John, Paul, George, and Ringo, for your honesty.
Thank you, faceless cave-dweller, for etching the first written ideas into a rock. You’re my hero.
Thank you, hard, unforgiving world, for kicking my ass. Thank you for making me flounder and suffer. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Thank you, Panorama mountain, for bruising my ribs and putting me out of commission for six weeks. I was getting cocky, and you straightened me out. Maybe you saved my life.
Thank you, vain, affluent tourists whose toilets I cleaned. You made me feel wealthy.
Thank you, John Harrison, for knocking on the front door on that first day in our new house in back in 1989 and saying, “Hi, I’m your new neighbor, wanna come out and play?” Such straightforwardness is so rare.
Thank you Kim, for teaching me I am worth much more than I thought. I just honestly didn’t know. And thank you for the invitation.
Thank you Chico, for being an adorable, rambunctious child and a wise Zen master all at the same time.
Thank you Alison, for teaching me how important it is to keep in touch with your friends, for hugging me extra hard at your wedding, and for infecting me with the travel bug.
Thank you Dad, for never — ever — doing a half-assed job at anything. You just didn’t have it in you to be mediocre, yet you stayed so humble. I just don’t know how you did it.
Thank you Mom, for everything.
Photos by Fazen and Alison Baker