The Best I Can Do Is Say “Thank You”

It seems between the time I first got this blog, and when I enter college on Sunday, I have blogged a lot. That is true, because I needed to; I did not think of having a blog earlier in my life, so I had to share what I was thinking for the past year, even though some posts have already happened; but, I get to reflect on what I am writing about.
The summer of 2014, and the years of my life spent as a kid in the public school system has come, and gone. I was struck by how many people at work were “chatting” about the things they were thankful for. What hit me, was the number of posts I have written over this time period having the blog, that addressed the present and future, but little about the past. I found that to be surprising. Although, I could be wrong. I am BEYOND grateful for the wonderful people currently in my life, and the wonderful things I am experiencing, have experienced, and will experience. Being thankful is something that simply does not come close to how I feel about what I have.  I also know that if it were not for the people who and experiences that came before, I would NEVER be where I am today!
We are a composite of everyone who has crossed our paths: the “big” people in our lives (family members, teachers, role models, etc.), and the “little” people in our lives (the stock boy at the supermarket when I go shopping, the front desk manager at the hotel during my vacations, the man who held the door for you at a local Cumberland Farms, etc.).  Every person, and every event you have ever encountered, and experienced had an impact on WHO you have become!  When stopping to think about that [what I said], it becomes surprising, in a good way.
So, as I sit here with this beautiful girl, Hannah, that I met a week ago [someone who is the same as me in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY], in the comfort of her house, enjoying our time together, getting to know each other in a world filled with negativity, while preparing ourselves to start a new journey of our life in college together (starting in two days from now), I want to give a “shout out” to the people who contributed to the crazy person that my teachers, friends, musicians, and my students call “Drewski”—
  • Mom and Dad;
  • The Curley family, The Gabriel family, The Carnein Family (and all other family extensions!);
  • My music teachers: Mr. Clement, Tom Palinko, Mrs. Skrebutenas, Mrs. Barra, Mrs. (Livermore) Curtiss, and Mr. Duffy;
  • Those who understood that my percussion and drums were always in my possession, and band was life for me, whether they “got it” or not;
  • My friends in high school, and friends of forever who did (and still do) “get it;”
  • My past, present, and future colleagues who shared the same dream–becoming a musician, writer and teacher of whatever happens, but for their own reasons, in which they chose different paths;
  • Present, and former students who shaped all the programs I have ever been part of, through lecturing, teaching, or being in;
This could go on forever … it is infinite.
It is simple: we are who we are, because of those who have came in, and out our lives.  They have all left their mark upon our lives.  However, there is one particular group of people that I wish to address (that is not necessarily of the traditional listing). These people are … my true best friends. I only have 4 of them and I am going to write about all of them below:
To Matt: I would never have thought I would have the power to get you to the musician side of the world. I was glad I did. We had awesome times performing our rendition of Stomp, all the concerts we played at, and all the music, and personal memories we share that I will keep in my heart forever. You have inspired me, through your smart wit, to be better than I am now, and strive to accomplish more than what the world holds for me. I am glad we will always be the best of friends until we die; and, that music will be a big part of our life, whether people understand it or not. We have another journey ahead of us that we will go through, as the best of dear friends.
To Mike: I will never forget the time when we were playing little league baseball at the BAW when we were young, and your father and my father were talking; all of a sudden, my father found out that you were going to move to another house, coming to find out that it would be right next to mine. I am glad that for 12 years EACH DAY I would be over your house spending time with you and your family, playing wiffleball, floating in the pool, even going to do whatever. No one can understand how close we are, and will always be. I was honored to help you earn the rank of Eagle Scout as your mentor, although you earned it; I just made sure you were not getting any push back from anyone. I am not your mentor, but rather a best friend, and no one can take that feeling or friend like you away from me. Like Matt, we have another journey ahead of us that we will go through, as the best of dear friends. Your parents are my second mom and dad, and your family is like my second family. I am glad it will be like that for the rest of our lives.
To Brandon: Wow, where has the time flew! It was just days ago when we were in kindergarten on the bus [you being my first ever friend I met in my life] laughing about silly stuff! From second grade to high school, we lost touch, probally because we branched out, and met new people that we hanged out with. Come to find out, we re-united in high school, spent all our time in the band room having a blast, and going through some tough times together. We even went to Drum Major Academy together for a week at University of Massachusetts to get certified to lead our high school marching band, that has become successful. Words can not express how glad I am to have you in my life. Even if we do not see each other a lot, just remember: my grandfather told me that if I could count my friends on both hands, I have lived a good life. I can count four on one hand so far, and you are the first one I can count. I hope that my kids one day can have you as a band teacher, and from this day forward, we have the best of times as dear friends.
To John: the last person I get to write about! Well, all I could say is that, honestly, we were the two smartest kids coming out of Wolcott. What 18 year old kids get involved with the politics of the town with the teachers, and know the gossip and happenings of our town, that teachers do not know about? What about watching old movies and listening to old music? What about the inside jokes that we have that no one else can compare to? Who can be accomplished like us? I am THANKFUL that we made a smart decision, by choosing to be roommates at Southern Connecticut for the next four years. I would not want it any other way, and we are definitely going to have a ride of our lives, as colleagues, brothers, and as the best of dear friends too. I can not write a lot, because we have more to come! Glad we can continue our best of dear friendship during college, and for the rest of our lives as well.
What makes these four people, and myself, special? The answer is this: we all were the best of dear friends, and always will be.
My friends, teachers, parents, and family: Because of YOU, I have been able to do what I have done, will do, and will continue to do.  Each of you have carved part of the path, ultimately passing the keys for the bulldozer to your successor, just as I will do one day.  The path before me is unpaved, raw, and in some ways, unknown.  The bulldozer, however, sits idling on a paved surface: you have to remember to look BEHIND you to see the paved road that others have created, before you take over the controls.
So often, people begin a new position, and approach it from a position of “the world begins with me.” This is NOT true.  No matter how hard one tries to deny the past, what came before you DID exist. You cannot erase it–ever. All you are going to do is leave YOUR mark next to the marks that everyone who came before left. Your mark will not wipe away anything; to think so, is foolish.  Your mark is added to the picture- another imprint on the “life” of whatever it is you are part of. Some marks will be big and loud; some marks will be soft and small.  Regardless of what you choose, it is a mere part of the whole that others will add to long after you have moved on.
To all those who came before me, as I enter college with a happy heart, the best I can do, is say “thank you.”  Thank you for what YOU created.
Had you not paved the path before me, I would not have been able to even get to the bulldozer, let alone carry on all you did.

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