In honor of Thanksgiving Day, I thought I would share some of the things for which I am most grateful.
Having had two great parents who conceived and nurtured me when I was a boy, supported me with their blessings throughout their lives, and bequeathed me some resources that have enriched my life since their passing.
Having two wonderful sons (Jesse and Scott) who have taken hold of, and responsibility for, their own lives while keeping me as an important person to them. Now having the opportunity to get to know and appreciate their partners, their partner’s families, and now my first grandson (the amazing Wesley).
Having Lynn as a loving, supportive, and helpful companion who ignited my heart more than 50 years ago, who still does so today, and who has for the past 18 years shared her life with me in a very successful marriage.
Having an “ex” (Jean) who not only brought my sons into the world and helped to bring them up right, but has been kind to, and considerate of, me since our divorce.
Having an extended family (the Matthews and Dorseys), as well as step-children (Cora and Roland) and in-laws (the Burlinghams, Scotts, Bakers, and Kennans) who respect and accept me for who I am and bring a lot of interesting personalities and experiences into my life.
Having many friends – some dating back to my childhood and college who have shared interesting endeavors with me over the years and others who are part of my everyday life here in Lawrence – who provide the ordinary companionship that we all need.
Having had sufficient education, income, and capital to live well thus far, and provide ample resources to enable Lynn and I to live well in the years that remain.
Having a lovely home here in Lawrence and a wonderful cabin in Wisconsin that provide important senses of place, give opportunities to putter around on various improvements, and serve as take off spots for my various activities.
Having the continued capacity to engage in these activities – ranging from biking and kayaking through tennis and golf. While various injuries have sometimes limited these capacities, I am more appreciative than ever of the good health I have long enjoyed and the opportunities I have had to keep reasonably fit.
Having had many wonderful experiences (including various trips abroad and in the US) and achievements (like running a marathon, biking across Iowa, and climbing some 14,000 footers). Also having many memories – ranging from my own athletic, academic, social, and romantic experiences to observing similar kinds of experiences in the lives of my family and friends.
Having had a very satisfying career at KU for the past 45 years. Unlike more elite universities where professional success requires focusing (fairly) exclusively on research, and unlike lesser colleges where professional success requires focusing exclusively on teaching, KU provided me a place where I could balance my research, teaching, and service interests in ways that I generally found satisfying.
Having had a couple of opportunities to provide leadership to my department and help it achieve both its collective goals and the individual goals of my colleagues.
Having the opportunity to teach political theory – which I believe is an extremely important and interesting topic – to thousands of students, and to earn the appreciation and respect of most of them.
Having a vast collection of ideas (sometimes retained in my memory but more often preserved in books, papers, notes, etc.) and the capacity to pursue and develop both old and new ideas (sometimes in writings such as those provided on this website) at my own pace and in my own voice in the years ahead.
Having lived in places of freedom and opportunity through the halcyon years – a time of relative peace and prosperity in America and a time when higher education was widely available and yet reasonably rigorous. But also having to deal with events and difficult circumstances that provided challenges worthy of my time and energy.
Having many opportunities in the years ahead to re-experience in new ways all the things I have already enjoyed and to acquire new experiences – things I can only dimly imagine now.