Friday, May 30, 2008


I talk a lot about how proud I am of myself.

Today, I'm proud of you.

You stepped up and contributed to support the fight against Diabetes with a kind word, a phone call, a financial pledge. You're the bomb.

I'm proud of my nephew.

Cody James is going to put on the robe and mortarboard and receive his High School diploma this evening up in Pennsylvania. He hasn't had the easiest life, but he reached the goal. I'm proud of him and of all the folks on Team Cody who helped him get there. We don't know each other as well as I wish we did. I'm the uncle who lives far away. But if I lived closer, I couldn't love him any more. You've grown into a fine man, Cody. Congratulations.

I'm proud of Mrs P.

Six years ago she decided to leave a career she loved, helping to heal animals. She went to school, earned a Master's Degree with a 4.0 GPA, and now she works in another career she loves, helping to heal children. She works and waits and weeps for them and tries to make a difference in young lives that a lot of people have already given up on. That's her vocation and special gift. I know because she honed it on me.

And I'm proud to be a Pennsyltuckian.

For the longest time, I thought my Brother-in-law (born in the mountains of central PA and married to a KY girl in Lexington) invented the word. Since then I've found out that a lot of people use it as an insult to the state where I was born - as if connecting a place to Kentucky were derogatory. Well, folks who think there's anything wrong with being a Pennsyltuckian don't know jack about either place. Pennsyltuckians work hard, play hard, love hard, and know where we're from. Even when we leave home, we stay connected to deep roots - steel cables through seams of coal. It doesn't matter if we're from Hazard County, KY or the Hill District in Pittsburgh -- many of us love the 'Cats or the Cards or the Pens or the Phillies with pseudo religious fervor, most of us talk funny, and all of us are tied to the rivers and mountains, mines and factories, farms and forests that make our home what it is. Two things you'll never meet: an ex-Steeler fan and a Pennsyltuckian who wants to live anywhere else. I'm proud to come from a place and a people who haven't lost their identity and don't particularly care what anybody else thinks about that.

I'm a proud man today. Proud of my friends. Proud of my family. Proud of my home. I live life trying to be fit to be numbered among them. I wish you such pride and rich blessings today.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for walking for me and for mama.
    I am proud of you.
    mizpah pennsy


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