There are ways in which forum members give gifts - often without having a clue that they are doing so. Sharing a piece they worked on in the listening room, looking for "feedback" of some sort . . . and in the process putting up a piece of music that moves someone from a "dark place," or motivates someone to write more, share more, care more.
Cases in point abound: DPDAN sharing his work and his knowledge; Raymond62 sharing that massive work, "The Art of Fugue," Styxx with his priceless humor; etLux with his quick wit (and provocative compositions); Sean with his thought-provoking challenges; and countless other instances by many of the folks here. The gifts of sharing (and trusting others) with personal issues; the kindness shown in the responses. I think we all see this. If we haven't given thanks out loud, perhaps people reading this will realize that the "thanks" is truly felt, even when it's silent.
At the same time, I can't let this one pass without comment. I spent a good bit of time "lurking" here, and then did a bit of posting . . . and then for a long time I couldn't get back to the forum (external time restraints, nothing to do with the forum). While I was active last year I recall Randy Bowser struggling with some of the mechanics of his great work--in particular, getting samples of the vocal lines. He had, at one time, some people who were exchanging tapes with him, and that helped him move forward somewhat . . . but all the while he was developing this work he just opened he was sharing pieces of it with us, as well as spending a lot of time responding to other forum members, trying to be helpful to others. His work is to be proud of, for all of us to be proud of. His accomplishment is, in a vicarious sense, the accomplishment of all of us.
Then, to add icing to the cake, we find that Gary, Marianne, and Fastlane were all able to make the opening. Somehow, this just shouts out the word "gift" in my heart. This, I believe, is a gift to the forum community, not just to Randy. We can't dance on every set, but I hear in this the words "I would if I could," and I believe them. I think that in some sense Gary (and the rest of the Orcas crew) are with each and every one of us when we produce something, do an opening, give a performance.
Consequently, I don't feel at all out of place when I speak for myself in saying a large and heartfelt "Thank You" to Gary, Marianne, and Fastlane for this eye-moistening gift.