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This is the Good Stuff

This is the Good Stuff

It may not seem like much, but this is what gets me up in the morning.

Let’s make this a so long and not goodbye.

In a few days, I will leave my childhood home as my mom moves on (after 49 years in this house). There’s one person I’m going to miss who’s not moving to Scottsdale and who I don’t know when I’ll see the next time.

Tony has been living next door to my family home since 1951. In case you’re counting, yes, that was 67 years ago. Back when Tony was 37 he bought the house on our street. He said the view out the front window was of orange groves.

He’s now 104 and still living here–and I mean living in the grandest sense of the word.

He lives on his own with no outside help other than his brother who lives a half hour away and a handful of neighbors who bring his garbage cans out to the street once a week and toss his newspaper up onto his porch each morning.

I’m fairly certain I have figured out the secret to a long and healthy and happy and fulfilled and meaningful life–and Tony’s got it.

I think the secret to his life is that he creates something every single day.

He sees a face in a piece of lumber and carves and chisels until the face is set free (that’s how he told me about the wood he saw in the lumberyard).

The fairies and characters come to him and he draws them and brings them to life.

He constructs architecturally-sound structures with simple sticks and pieces of wood with only the help of a small knife and school glue.

It all just comes to him. Maybe he allows it to come to him. Then he creates it. It then goes out of him and he turns nothing into something.

I think that’s his secret. He’s the messenger. He’s the outlet, the open door, the passageway through which what comes to him channels and he sets it free.

And that gives him meaning, imagination, and joy.

His mind is all there, he can still walk around the house with the aid of a walker. He said he has some numbness in the tips of his fingers and thumbs of late and he can’t hold a pencil so well, but he also said he knows he has a pencil in his hand and he knows what he wants to draw so he still makes it happen.

Here’s a short clip of my visit with him. I just gave him (yet another) André Rieu DVD (his favorite) and he’s savoring every note. I don’t know if it comes over in the video, but the audio is blasting and I can barely hear myself think. But it’s all just part of the moment and I relish it–and will miss it–dearly.

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