Alma Mater Gratitude

Thank you to UW-Eau Claire for inviting me over for breakfast. I didn’t actually use the teleprompter, but it felt cool to see it there. My gratitude for this institution runs back to 1983 when I showed up as a fresh-scrubbed shy farm boy pre-nursing student (spoke to exactly one other student my entire first semester), and my time there echoes through me today. Afterwards I had good chats with folks ranging from the chancellor to professors to students to the women’s basketball coach to local business owners to the groundskeeper. There are so many folks of good intent and purpose in this world. Working hard. Working toward the same thing from different directions. Against shared obstacles. So much of our distrust and dissension is fomented by people we never meet. I ain’t sayin’ it’s easy. I ain’t sayin’ the problems aren’t real. I’m just saying I was raised by farmers and loggers and truckers, worked as a ranch hand, trained and licensed in a medical profession, and was granted access to whole other beautiful worlds by a liberal arts experience. It’s a mix that multiplies my joy. There are many paths. I know I’m a lucky guy. I talked about volunteer fire departments and read this piece about gratitude. Thank you, folks.

– photo credit Jake Wrasse

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