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Changes in Latitude, Changes in Gratitude

I just returned from a trip north – a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, courtesy of my 1978 Archbishop Curley High School classmate Byron Pitts. Byron is a very special guy. During his life he’s overcome adversity in an uncommon way. He’s an Emmy Award winning journalist who achieved a lifelong ambition to be a reporter on 60 Minutes.

Now I’d say that’s setting the bar pretty high. And you know what? He reached that lofty pinnacle! Today he is co-anchor of Nightline on ABC.

ABC NEWS – Byron Pitts. (ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

Byron has never forgotten where he’s come from, nor his days at Curley. In fact, he reminds us often that 1978 was the best year of his life.

So last week, along with 2 other Curley classmates, Steve Wolf, Craig Wehr, our brides and significant others, living proof that Curley men can outkick their coverage, we convened at a place that Byron calls “Serenity”. It’s a tranquil locale, beautifully set amongst lush gardens, trees, a saltwater pool complemented by a tastefully arranged décor. Once there, there’s little incentive to leave Serenity and explore Martha’s Vineyard, particularly with all of the limitations courtesy of COVID-19.

But there was more than just the innate charm of Serenity that kept us at bay. Led by Byron, Steve and his bride Margaret, we shared our thoughts and views on the world’s struggles. We shared our love for others and each other. Metaphorically we undressed ourselves and exposed vulnerabilities in a way that opened the heart and cleansed the soul.

Steve led us through an exercise called “Gratitude”.

What are you thankful for?

The exercise forces you to think, it opens your mind and reminds you of all the good things in your life while pushing to the back, the difficulties we face in a world divided by politics, civil unrest and of course COVID-19.

I left Serenity feeling invigorated.

Usually when I finish a vacation, I go at it so hard that by the time it’s over, I feel like I need a vacation. But not this time. Every day we relaxed, engaged in meaningful conversation, learned, loved and rejoiced. So, thank you for THAT, my co-vacationers including Ruthie, Kathy and Donelle.

We shared opinions and sometimes opposing viewpoints without confrontation.

It reminded me of all that is possible in our world.

[Related Article: Say Something Nice]

Today as I reflect upon the unforgettable week that has come and gone, it’s clear to me that to be a better husband, a better father, brother, uncle, cousin and friend, I need daily reminders to keep my journey on course. For me, those reminders come in the form of prayer, communication, goodness, forgiving – even apps that provide daily notifications. They act as a GPS device for the mind, heart and soul.

I encourage all of you to find your Serenity. To find that special place that one day at a time, step by step, enables you to become the person you want to be. And once you find it, be sure to gather the daily tools to keep you on track. Find pieces of something that makes it last.

It’s worth the ride.

And by all means, please share with me your respective journeys.

I’ll then add you to my list of gratitude.

Have a thumbs up day everyone!

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Tony Lombardi
Besides his work here at Thumbs Up 247, Tony is the founder and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Recap. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. Drop him a note at

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