Over Thanksgiving break, while I was visiting my boyfriend, we had the pleasure of meeting this older man who worked at an impound lot in Jersey. The man looked like he lived and breathed cars, and he spoke of an old 150 that he was fixing up for a friend to drive. He smelled of grease and looked very tired, but he had the sweetest smile, and the warmest of personalities. When we walked into his garage to make our payment and get on our way, it seemed as though it was their as his hideaway. See, there was the main lobby where most everyone worked, but he was in the back, where he kept all his tools and work equipment for his job. So here we were, thinking we were going to be paying our bill and going on our way. But as we got further into the garage, I started noticing all this clay and what seemed to be plasterwork on the walls. They were absolutely beautiful, so I asked him where he got them.
It was like the air in the room changed, and something kicked in, because the man grew a couple inches taller, the color in his cheeks came out, and his crooked smile went from cheek to cheek. He popped up from his dusty desk filled high with paper work, and ran over to me. And this is where his two hour artwork rant began. I have never seen anything as special as what I saw in that garage. He went through each and every one of his boxes, which by the way were covered in dust, so I knew he didn’t bring his work out for a while. He pulled out all his favorite pieces that he has ever done, from vases, to jewelry, to finally the plaster artwork on the walls. This guy was really something.
I don’t think it was the talent though that really stuck out to me. This man, who seemed to have been through a lot in his life, had stories for each piece of work. He had reasons, and I think that is really beautiful. I could tell that each time he showed me something else; his eyes would light up, like this was something that truly made him happy. He spoke that ceramics and artwork such as the pieces that he has done, has really helped him become the person he is today. I couldn’t help but think, “What has this man been through?” I kept looking at my boyfriend to see if he was feeling the same way I was. It wasn’t that he was so talented, it was that I couldn’t believe that this man, who has been through so much, can still be so passionate about something. I am envious of people who can put aside all of life’s obstacles, and continue to do something that makes them happy.
I learned something very valuable that day. That life most likely will get rough at times, but to always continue staying positive, have compassion, and be passionate about something. Whether it be a sport, singing, family, or ceramics; stay passionate, because that might be the last thing keeping you going.
I sit here typing away with a smile on my face because all I want to do is go back to that day. We left not only having met an incredible man, but he also gave us both bracelets and me a piece of his artwork from the walls. He noticed from the start that those were what really stood out to me, and he gave me something to hold onto forever. I will always remember him for his love for life, and selfless personality.
The last thing he said to my boyfriend and I before we headed on the road was, “I think I was supposed to meet the both of you. You guys made me feel so great today, thank you..”