It’s difficult to believe that it’s been more than one month since Paul’s passing. In that month, I’ve met many of Paul’s friends, some from his political campaign for Congress in San Francisco, some from his days of running high school track & field in Maryland, and many from his days of a serving a small town in Pennsylvania as Council President and a Rotarian.
Whether in a formal, prompted setting in front of a large group, or during a casual conversation over sandwiches or a beer, each of Paul’s friends shared a unique memory of Paul. Some memories were quirky, some were serious, some were inspirational. Each of these memories, these stories, ended with the person having a different view of their world as they knew it, thanks to Paul.
There was the Rotarian who said she can never recycle her Rotary International monthly magazines because Paul told her, “That magazine is the only magazine worth reading.”
There was the childhood friend who shared that as a middle-schooler, when he stood at the neighborhood bus stop, his conversations with his fellow classmate, Paul, helped ease the feelings of dread that going to school during that transitional age can bring, simply because he knew that every day at the bus stop, he had someone to talk to.
There were several people who shared that Paul’s encouragement pushed them to run for political office, and that his guidance helped them win the election.
Some of my favorite memories of Paul take place in the community garden. As Council President, he created that garden, which was a former vacant parking lot. It now holds 68 plots, each 10 x 10 in size, as well as a composting area, a community herb garden, a firepit with picnic benches and wood Adirondack chairs, and a fig tree (planted and cared for by Paul). Ironically, and appropriately, Paul lived across the street from that garden, so I had started to think of him as the “watchman” of the garden. That garden, and Paul’s house, is adjacent to the studio where I practice yoga, and if he wasn’t in the garden, I’d often see Paul, behind the big bay windows in his kitchen, typing away on his Mac (most likely prepping a new blog post) or chopping vegetables, as I walked into class. Though he’s not there now, taking class at that studio and visiting the community garden is a nice way to remember Paul.
The Relentless Storyteller
Now that Paul is gone, he lives on through the stories of others.
But wow, I’m really going to miss his stories. And I’m going to miss reading them on this blog.
His topics ranged from musings about everyday occurrences (see: The Serious Problem with Hotel Room Windows), to recollections of his days of traveling another county (see: African Safari: Herbivores and Omnivores, A Trip to Communist Eastern Europe, Visiting the Equator, Visiting Laos), to his meticulous evaluations of domestic and international airlines (see: American Airlines First Class Domestic Meals, American Airlines Food Fail, Which International First Class is Best: Cathay Pacific, Qatar, or British Airways?), to his unfailing love for his tuxedo cat, Billysky (see: Billysky the Beautiful Cat Loves Lent, Billysky Cat Goes to the Vet, Introducing My Kitten Name Billysky, Billysky Cat and the Missing Cat Toy).
Similarly, each of Paul’s posts concluded with how his view of his world had changed.
A Final Wish
One of Paul’s final wishes was for this blog to be kept alive for the next two years.
We can only do that with more stories.
As Sarah Sees the World, I will be posting to this blog regularly, and will be weaving posts about stories of Paul with posts about travel (maybe even with the topic of airlines), pets, random thoughts, cooking, Paris (my personal favorite travel destination), exercise, and family.
If you have a story about Paul that you’d like told, please message me here, and I will share it with his readers.
Thank you for reading!