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I’m happy to be here...just happy to be here at all

From The Editor's Desk
by Chris Edwards

I'm happy to be here and I hope you are too.

Several events in the last couple of days have me musing on the fragile thread our lives seem to cling to, a thread that seems to grow more frayed each day, but also I'm mindful of how lucky we are just to have been born and to be able to grow, learn and enjoy the highs, lows and in-betweens that this life has to offer.

On the positive side of things, as I write this, I'm in a celebratory mindset, for today marks the occasion of my grandfather's 88th trip around the sun. I reminded him just last night of how lucky he is to have lived this long; to have witnessed all the things he has and to have all the stories to share that come from the accumulation of those many years and experiences.

Sometimes he might not think as much, but I think he's extremely fortunate in that regard. Every day is a beautiful thing, warts and all. If you wake up on the right side of the dirt, there is cause for celebration.

There is a quote attributed to Stephen Hawking that goes something like "people don't have time for you if you are complaining all the time." Profound in its simplicity, Dr. Hawking's quote couldn't ring truer, yet seems all the more poignant coming from a man who wasn't expected to live long enough to complete his Ph.D coursework over 50 years ago. Yet he continues to help explain the mysteries of our universe and our place within it in a way we can all understand, and served as the head of a prestigious academic department at one of the world's top universities while doing groundbreaking scientific work. And he found time to appear in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I find all of that quite inspiring and a testament to one man's determination and work ethic, but back to the quote, energies are highly transferable: negativity spreads like a fungus to infect the thoughts and energies of those around it; the same is true for positivity. We all deal with a relative amount of turmoil and no two people have the same problems, but when given a closer look, there's always something to be thankful for. Personally, the list of things I could rattle off would probably fill this entire newspaper page, but good friends; a loving and supportive partner in this life (even if she is temporarily a lengthy distance away); a great day job and adventurous off-and-on night job of getting to play songs I wrote for people (both gigs have allowed me to collaborate with some of the coolest, most talented folks in the world; my family (what there is left of us) and my fur-covered children; good food and good beer; my pile of incredible vinyl records...yeah, I'm a blessed man.

In our society, we tend to create certain yardsticks that signify some set-in-stone view of maturity. Don't misread me, now, I've got nothing against the kiddos; I love kids–other people's kids. Human children just ain't my bag. I've got animals and songs I've created. Those are my children. But there is a notion that until you have children (before a certain age, of course), put yourself into crippling debt for a big house to live in and buy a new car as soon as you pay off the one you're driving that you've arrived at adulthood, and somehow many people think that sort of consumerism is the meaning of life. Accumulating possessions can no more lead to peace of mind and fulfillment than tiptoeing through a minefield. Gratitude is the answer. Think about it.

In closing, I want to give a word of respect to the memory of Mr. Ben Bythewood, whom I learned shed his mortal coil sometime yesterday. I never got to know him well, but I enjoyed the few times we did get to hang out. He was a kind man who did a great deal for the city of Woodville. My heart goes out to his family and to all who knew him well. Godspeed, good sir.

Well, folks, have a great week. Be good to yourselves.