Friday, May 18, 2007

The man from Staten Island

In my journey through life, I have unearthed some very rare treasures from time to time. I've also made the extraordinary discovery that life's true treasures are people, not things.

They are the people that have genuinely pure and honest souls. They are the people that lift you up. The people that encourage you. The people that don't hold hatred in their hearts. They go through life with a smile on their face, and hand out kind words by the truckload. They are givers, not takers...lovers, not fighters.

One such treasure is a man I met earlier this year. Judging purely by his energy and his love of life, you would think he was a man in his 20's, with a lifetime ahead of him. In fact, I believe in his heart, he is in his 20's, and always will be. The truth of the matter is, he's in his 70's, with many years of memories and accomplishments already behind him.

I have been fascinated by him from the moment we met. So rare is it to find a person of his age, that still seems to have an air of innocence about him. He loves people in a way that suggests that, to him, there is no evil or hatred in this world. There is only love and kindness, fun and adventures.

His name is Jim, and we first met online, on The Photo Forum. A few friends and I had been planning a trip to New York City in early March. One problem we were encountering was where to park. If you ever go to NYC, don't take your car...it's not cheap.

Jim is from Staten Island. None of us had ever met him, or even had dealings with him on the forum before this trip came up. So when he offered to let us park in front of his house all weekend, we were at first just a bit hesitant. We are thankful to this day that we did not listen to that hesitation, because we would have missed out on experiencing the kind hospitality that Jim showed us.

Though he had his children over for dinner at the time that we showed up, he and his whole family welcomed us into their home with open arms. They offered us food and drink, a place to rest for a few minutes, and a bit of lively conversation. After our pitstop, he went out of his way to take us all the way into New York City, and was prepared to take us to our hotel, as well....only to turn right back around and go back home, and return again the next day to be our NYC guide.

That day, with him as our guide, we were enamored by his anecdotes about the various places in the city that we found ourselves in. The tales of a young Jim courting 'his lady' still make me smile when I think about them. He opened our minds, he made us laugh, he gave us all a little piece of himself to take with us for when that weekend was nothing more than a memory.

We have conversed online here and there since that weekend, but internet communications leave me wanting more.

I have a strong desire to go back to Staten Island, and sit down with him and his lovely wife for tea. For conversation. There is so much more that lies behinds those kind eyes that I have yet to discover. I want to learn the mysteries of what makes him who he is. I want to determine how a man that I barely know can have so much faith in me and my abilities.

He isn't making it difficult for me to come back, either. He has offered us not only a place to park, but also a place to sleep, and a hearty homemade breakfast in the morning.

I certainly hope I get a chance to take him up on that offer. Breakfast at Jim's sounds quite appetizing.






1 comment:

Joe said...

THanks for writing this, it was nice to relive it all :)