Nickies left us this early am at the age of 101. He repped the greatest generation well. His son, Steve, departed one month ago. They meet again, now, pain free and everything makes sense. We grieve our loss. We feel immense pain. Nothing makes sense. Krit is here. Tay too. Andrew and Jordan will soon head home. The Cannell crew will congregate. The Greek food will fly. We will cry and laugh. We will look beyond our differences and hold each other up. Our leader is gone, not forgotten.
Just last Saturday, Nickies got the stove started while Miss and I looked in astonishment. We had just spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to unlock the thing and couldn’t do it. We had called Lynne (Miss’s sister) and she told us she could never get the thing unlocked either. She suggested we ask Nickies for help. So, I walked into his office where he sat in his old chair from Mountaintop Pies days, and asked him to tell me how to get the stove unlocked. He looked up with his tired eyes and leaned in for a repeat. So, I repeated my words and he got the message.
“Help me up,” he stated matter of factly.
I tried to tell him to stay put but he was already pushing against the chair arms like life depended on it. So, I shrugged my shoulders and grabbed his skin and bones under his armpit and up he went. He shuffled behind the walker all bent over and barely moving it. A handful of minutes later he was in front of the stove barking orders to Miss. he told her to jiggle the wires underneath. She did. He grabbed a paper towel and cleaned the appliance on/off button. He cleaned it like life depended on it. Nickies, you see, cleaned everything, especially his mouth, like life depended on it. Once he was satisfied with his cleaning, he slowly lowered his index finger very precisely right on the middle of the on/off button. He gently pressed it down and held it for what felt like eternity. One beep was what he was waiting for. Wait for it. Wait.
Nickies smiled, looked at me and stated matter of factly, “I’m still good for something.” Miss and I laughed and told him he had saved the day. He had, you know. You see, Nickies was street smart. He got things done. He figured things out and did them with hard earned mastery. He did not suffer fools easily and his firm grip was a quick reminder that he wasn’t to be messed with. He was stubborn and strong willed. He loved life. And, he was the most generous man I’ve ever met. This man practiced abundance, well, like life depended on it. He gave to family, friends, and neighbors. He gave to everybody that served him. If you were lucky enough to work at a restaurant he frequented, you knew the heartfelt handouts were coming. He gave, like life depended on it. He gave his all. Maybe that’s the lesson I’m taking the long way round to make.
Life is all about giving something. Jesus is right, Nickies (I know, I know, you already know this). Nickies knew it’s more blessed to give. So, he gave like his life depended on it. Let’s pass this along, friends – like life depends on it – because it does. Give love. Give more love. Be good. Do good. Be with. Like your life depends upon it. Nickies, thanks for giving us an example worth emulating. Gonga-la-Conga (Nickies favorite/frequent toast).
Live hard. Love harder…