each year concludes I find it essential to look back at that annual
cycle and reflect upon its moments. These moments are the beads
we string on the thread we call life. Each thread contains its own
unique beads, beads of joy, sorrow, gain or loss. Each moment holds
a lesson, a kernel of truth about the purpose and value of life,
yours and mine.
How were your moments this year? How did you live your life? Were
you honest with others? With yourself? Did you lie or cheat and
feel good about it because you put something over on someone else?
Or did you extend a truthful hand; that tiniest of actions holding
the greatest strength? Did you barrel through life pushing others
out of your way with the desire to fill your own trough? Did you
create something solid and useful, something of beauty? Did you
contribute or merely consume? Did you dare to dream or tell yourself
there wasn’t time for such foolishness? The choice is always
yours. Revisiting deeds and actions, successes and failures is necessary
to close one chapter and begin another. It is the light that allows
us to grow, the beam that illuminates our path.
“You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that
never were; and I say, "Why not?" George Bernard Shaw
wrote those words a long time ago, but in this dangerously cynical
world, they are good words to recall. We are now entrenched in a
time where winning is the only thing. Doing things because they
are the right things to do, possessing conviction and character,
is passé. Goodness and kindness are now looked upon as sentimental
hogwash. The world has always been a better place because of those
individuals who, in their daily life, set an example by being honest,
courageous, kind, respectful and selfless.
It began as “Greed is good,” in the 80’s, but
in the 90’s metastasized until now the credo, “Winning
isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” has become
the accepted doctrine of our era. It is comforting to know there
are those of you out there who do not bow to this false God. You
are the reason I write this column.
I write about
fearless people filled with infinite dreams, good honest people
who possess the capacity to find joy in the simplest of things.
They are confident and secure with themselves; they have no need
to control, manipulate or push others around for their own benefit
or gain. They have nothing to prove at the expense of others. There
are givers and takers in this world; I choose to write about the
givers, the contributors.
I saw someone recently. His story appeared here some time ago in
a column called, “No Fanfare.” (No
Fanfare Pt1) I always stop for a chat. His name
is George, just George. He didn’t want his name used, “Nobody’s
interested in me,” he said. I know his last name, but it’s
funny, I always have to think a moment to come up with it. Just
George is how he wanted it and that’s how he remains to me.
It was good to see George out for a walk the other day, it means
he’s doing well. He’s past 90 now. I figure a lot of
people dismiss him with a glance as some old rummy, but that’s
not true. George is one of the blessed people; he never owned a
Range Rover or told a political lie, never had the need to. Instead
he feeds stray cats and lives a simple life without want.
I saw Rod and Norma Hart on Warren Street the other day. I waved
and shouted, “Merry Christmas.” I think Rod’s
recounting of landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day moved me more than
any other this year. (A
Dream or A Nightmare) A gentle man with nothing
to prove, his quiet voice contrasted the horror contained in the
words. He spoke of the steady thud and ring of bullets hitting the
landing craft that morning 60 years ago, said it was deafening.
The image of frigid red channel water lingers in my mind. “Confusion
was what it was, I never saw anything like it in my life. We had
a job to do, it had to be done,” he stated simply. “Thinking
back on it, it seems like a dream, or a nightmare.”
Rod Hart is a good sincere man. My conversation with him is a gift
I shall not soon forget.
Jim and Kate Vasilow’s
sweet dream is alive and well and that is good to see. Johnny
Brodowski still runs Johnny’s Ideal Printing, and all
the others, Magnus Orr, Elena
Winther and Vladimir Pleshakov, Dan
Rupe, Imre Vilagy,
Pat Naggiar all out there
everyday, making a difference because of the quality of people they
are, because of the character, passion and decency in their souls
and because they dare to dream. Winning is not the only to them,
fully living every moment of their lives, is. I am fortunate to
We’ll talk next time From The Road.
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