When's the Last Time You Really Said "Thank You?"

I posted last week about saying thanks to our troops. Today, I'm wondering how often we say "thank you" to those who come into our lives and stir something in us. Those people who inspire, frustrate, push us to our limits yet make us laugh and enjoy life. I know I don't say it enough and usually think of saying it when it's too late.

Today, I learned a friend lost his battle with cancer. Gary took me under his wing while in Death Valley and taught me the basics of corporate sales. I remember my first week working in the sales department and how everything seemed upside down. Shep and Nan, the two sales managers in the office, were also very helpful. But Gary was the "boss of us all," at least on the organizational chart :)

He taught me how to write kick-ass letters and I always loved how he signed his faxes, "enjoy your day." I hijacked that little phrase from him and have been using it in many of my emails since then. He taught me how to infuse laughter into the workplace - he had a wicked sense of humor. He always told me the Feds were after him and that's how he ended up in Death Valley. Well one day, the Feds DID show up. They were a little obvious, it was summer in Death Valley (dry heat or not, it's damn hot!) and they were dressed in dark suites and shades. But they weren't looking for him, they were after a dozen or so illegal immigrants working in housekeeping and the kitchen.

And, I want my current and previous employer to know that Gary is the one who taught me how to "organize" my work area. His office was ALWAYS stacked with piles of paper. It was rare to see the top of his desk. Each time I went into his office with more "papers," I would look around, unsure where to place them. He would see my anguish and looking around with me, he'd sigh. The sigh indicate, "yeah, I know. But what can I do?" In all my annalness, the desktop is where I relax and revel in clutter.

Gary, you're missed already. Your influence played a bit in forming the person I am today.