"Take care of yourselves and each other, and always remember my motto:
Itís ok to work hard, as long as you play harder."
in an email to his parents 7/02
December 14, 2002
I donít remember now the first time I met Joe, though I try very hard to see it. I remember in middle school sharing a second locker with Joe, which we used to store candies we planned to sell. We built a sliding shelf in the locker to separate the candies into categories. I donít think the sliding mechanism of the shelf was intentional. Rather, it was likely a surprise feature, which was characteristic of the adventures Joe enriched. I know we worked hard to be disciplined about replenishing the candy stock, scheduling weekend errands for a fresh Monday supply; but we never sold much. We ate it. Weíd get ridiculously sour candies to make our face contort in unknown ways at just the moment in class when the teacher would agree it was most inappropriate. Indeed, class was nothing more than the forum that allowed Joe and I to make laughter out of silence. This was what I remember most of Joe -- the ability to make smiles out of silence through the catalyst of laughter. I think I might have managed to achieve three years of threes in conduct, which now looking back was well worth the effort. Because, today, I have no idea how much money we made during our first business venture selling candy, nor do I really care. What I do remember, and what I do care about, are the memories of a full and exciting life made during that time, thanks in large part to Joe.
Back in October, when I learned that the act of indescribable terror in Indonesia had accelerated my dear friendís life, I became very angry with the world, believing that it knew nothing of the virtues Joe embodied if it could so carelessly take them away. Now, after seeing the outpourings of respect shown for Joe, I see the hope that individuals like Joe offer us. There are so many people who know, care for, and carry forth a piece of Joe and the goodness he naturally exuded, that the world as a whole is sure to represent his qualities in time.
I remember seeing Joe for the first time in years, at the beach, during one of his return trips from afar. Just looking at Joe I could tell that he had lived each day to the fullest since the time I had last seen him. He seemed to want to tell me, and I certainly wanted to hear, about all the great things he had seen and done since I had last seen him. But he didnít. I think, knowing Joe, he didnít want to make me feel bad about not choosing a course in life as wonderful as his, and he stuck with general descriptions and offered a smile that represented a powerful statement -- there is so much more.
Indeed, Joe (like his brother Adam) always understood life better than the rest. He knew how to make it richer, he knew the speed it should be taken at, he knew the places it was meant to be experienced, he knew the people it was meant to be experienced with; he created it with ease like a vibrantly splendid painting.
Joe now represents the quest; he is the essence of meaningful life that I will pursue until we meet again.
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