For this morning’s (November 8, 2021) KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour hosted by Peggy Berryhill and Mark Gross in Gualala, California, we are asked to freewrite to this prompt: “Who are you thankful for?”
It’s my guys. Rich and Steve and Nobes and Pfohl.
You see, as a first-born I was obedient to the max. No surprise that I always colored inside the lines. In high school in New Jersey, my grades were fine, nothing spectacular. SATs? Math up, Verbal down.
College in Ohio about the same pattern until I was just so unhappy that I said the hell with it. I left for the Wild, Wild West in 1969. And by that I mean, Arizona State University.
Not knowing a soul in the dorm (Irish Hall), I put myself out there and met up with four other out-of-staters. We’d go to the Salt River north of Scottsdale for tubing with brewskis. We stopped eating in Manzanita (dorm) cafeteria and came up with our own meal plan: Tuesday night at Hobo Joe’s for forty-nine cents all-you-can-eat pancakes and regularly at the Dash Inn on Apache Boulevard for forty cent beef burritos and fifteen cent iced tea.
Impulsively one weekend we drove 400 miles to Tijuana, Mexico to check out the scene. Another time over Thanksgiving, Rich and I hitchhiked 120 miles to Tucson where on one ride we were kicked out of the car because we couldn’t pay and then were pelted with eggs as they drove off.
My guys brought me out of my shy, introverted shell. My confidence grew and my agency, a fancy way of saying that I realized I had choices.
With my growing self-confidence I went sight unseen to Anaheim, California for my first teaching job and had a willingness to challenge Uncle Sam on his plans for me in Viet Nam.
The guys showed me that there was a big, beautiful world out there that I never knew I could choose. And for that I am thankful for Rich and Steve and Nobes and Pfohl.
Words – 297
A November 2021 update of my guys.
Pfohl – First name Art, a Viet Nam War veteran who died some fifteen years ago, likely from complications from exposure to Agent Orange.
Steve – Big Steve, a successful entrepreneur from Virginia, died ten years ago of a heart attack. I remain close with his widow, Amelia, and his sons, Brandon and Justin.
Nobes – First name Gale, an artiste and environmentalist who to this day walks the walk caring for the planet on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Rich – Inspired by Nobes to take up photography, built a successful small business with his wife Mary as wedding photographers; at each wedding his goal remains to highlight the bride so she looks radiant on her day.