hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


November 22, 2012

Giving thanks for life's many privileges


We arrived a bit earlier than expected and decided to go for a short walk before his proton blast. Throngs of people weaved in and out of traffic.

All of a sudden, I encountered an Armenian cleric I knew very well. He was accompanied by a Catholic priest. We exchanged greetings.

Upon learning that I had transported a friend for radiation treatment, they offered a prayer of healing, right there on a busy street corner with hundreds of people in transit.

The four of us held hands and bowed our heads as words of comfort filtered through the air. The gesture did more than any medicine could provide.

Allan Press took his treatment that morning with a deep sense of indebtedness, grateful that men of different faiths had become unified — and fortified — in a moment of need.

If there’s a little extra emotion in his prayer this Thanksgiving, it’s easy to see why.

“I’m blessed in many ways,” he rejoices.

Photographer and writer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.

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