Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't Worry.

During our walks in the neighborhood around Highland Street, over the past few years, we often stop for lunch at the Boynton and more recently, dessert at WooBerry. For many years, when the weather was nice, we would continue our walk and visit Elm Park to hang around for awhile and hope to catch a glimpse of the ever present Blue Heron. I have visited and played in this park since I was very small and it has a magical quality for me.

On one afternoon, we sat down and shared a bench with a man named Spiro. He introduced himself, he lived in the neighborhood and had for many years. He was almost 90! He had a lot to say about life and at first I wasn't listening. He would always tell similar stories, but each time we spoke, he would have something to share that was a little different. I started to listen.

What I learned from Spiro is that you should have a home and pay it off as soon as you can. You have to be willing to work hard - he told of us his different jobs he worked. Full time, and in addition he did work in  the Greek community during a time when very little music and not a lot of literature was available, he had a radio show and played Greek music. He was always dressed and went to church. He believed in being generous and that if you weren't - even what you had would be taken from you and given to someone who would appreciate it.

As time went on - we would stop and look for Spiro in the park and sit and talk. The most important thing I learned from him - was what he always said "Don't worry". Life is too good to worry.

I opened the newspaper this weekend and saw that Spiro had died. There was a large obituary detailing the stories he had told to us over all of our Summer talks. I didn't feel sad to see the obituary, but rather, I am so grateful to have had a chance to meet him.

My biggest concern for our society is our lack of connection. I think we are starving for it and filling that need with a constant connection electronically, but eating and consuming and never feeling many other things that will not replace our need as human beings to belong to each other. It isn't a weakness to need someone - or to be needed. I needed to know Spiro.

I have collected a few people in my travels in life that are vital to me. They show up at different times for awhile and  I am better off.  I hope that they are also left feeling better about life.

I love this crazy city, and all of the ways it is trying to be beautiful and unique - just like the people who live here. Just like the people that live in every city in every country. We have to put down our phones and shut off our computers and televisions and realize that what we need is each other. Whoever that other is - we need to find that out and build the community that has been lost. Please, take a walk and meet your neighbors and participate in the city you live in!

I won't see Spiro again on the park bench, but I will remember him every time I walk past it. He is part of me now.  He's part of all of us.

Don't worry...


  1. This is so isn't just friends and neighbors that have lost connection. It's families also. There used to be an older gent that was always in Elm Park when you were small and we used to go walking there with Donna and the twins. He had lost his wife, and went there just to watch the families together. He used to say there was nothing better than a child laugh. Recently on Facebook, I met a gal that used to live next door to us on Winslow 1970/1971. After all these years we finally met again and talked about our walks to Elm Park. She lives not far from us now. Now we meet on Tuesdays when we can and talk about "the old days" :). Elm Park has special memories for a lot of us :) Thanks for reminding me :)

  2. I remember going to the park when I was really young. It was always fun for me :) I think it's important to take whatever connections we have and nurture them. It seems like people pass in and out of our lives in waves, some are more frequent and some are years and years apart. I am not sure of the reasons why - but it seems like it's just when we need it ! :)