Time brings an opportunity to remember and be grateful for those who gave you special gifts in life. Mentors, lovers, friends or those who touched you with inspirational words, moments or ideas. My mother gave me my love of books, probably the most important gift I ever received. Books have been my companion for almost every night of my life, my source of ideas, my dreams, my comfort during dark and sick times and my guide to knowledge. My father gave me my love of music. I was blessed with an extraordinary teacher in my junior school who Inspired in me a fascination, still remaining, with mathematics – a subject with which I struggled with but which mesmerized me and still does to this day. Later, at my senior school, I developed a deep love of theatre and still wonder that if, as a budding young actor, this could have been my chosen career path. These people have faded into time, insignificant in the great wheel of life but giants in my eyes as I remember the monumental role they played in my own journey. Of course, there were inspirational figures in music, art, business, politics but these are for everyone. It is the accidental .people that you encounter, bump into, or who reach out and forge a special relationship with you, teach you something or a way to look at things differently. My friend Mark Burton, an African American bass player and songwriter who got me listening to black music through black ears and made me grasp the root of the grooves, who turned me on to Earth Wind and Fire, the Commodores, Johnny Guitar Watson , the Emotions and countless others. My South American friends, the Spiteri brothers who had the same impact with their Latino rhythms and songs both contemporary and traditional. These accidental encounters and connections seem, reflectively, almost predestined. The doctor who intervenes successfully at a critical moment, the teacher who appears from nowhere to inspire a new direction, the chance, short-lived connection where an unprompted conversation sets off a chain reaction of new thought. Extraordinary, spiritual, often life changing, always invaluable. To all those who over the years shared with me knowledge, inspiration and ideas , I thank you eternally for your life gifts.