I know that I’m getting older, I sure as hell don’t feel any older, but the undeniable, incessant march of time will bring wisdom to those open to it. So my march toward my next decade has made me wiser, most definitely wiser. People, events, and experiences unveil to me on a daily basis the importance of earnestly grasping each moment this existence has to offer and ringing out every ounce of this life. To waste one second is to commit the greatest injustice to those we love and above all to ourselves.
And what is the essence of it all? Simple really, RELATIONSHIPS! The latest vehicle for crystallizing this fact with a blinding clarity came in a plethora of responses I received to a post I wrote back in May. It was about one of my first Red Sox heroes, and that was this man.
Last weekend I noticed that I had a huge spike in visitors and they all focused upon my story about “Pag”. I also received several emails and comments and they were from his family and friends.
Pag (17), Sal Bando and “Catfish”.
You see, I was writing about Jim Pagliaroni the baseball player. The guy who was on deck when Ted Williams hit his last home run. The guy who caught both Bill Monbouquette’s record-setting 17 strikeout game in 1961 and no-hitter in 1962. The guy who caught “Catfish” Hunter’s perfect game in 1968 and the guy who was one of the once and forever Seattle Pilots of 1969. The guy who hit a grand slam home run to tie a game in the bottom of the ninth inning at Fenway. The Italian catcher who made an eight year old boy jump for joy!
I was writing about the baseball player but these wonderful people were writing about a husband, a father, a brother, a friend and a “Papa”. Words such as humble, loving, kind, loyal and the most unforgettable person I ever knew, filled the emails with one friend writing, “everyone who knew him well, loved him…..a lot!”
Jim Pagliaroni passed away at the start of the 2010 baseball season after a five-year battle with cancer and heart disease. His passing brought a void into the lives of these people which could only be created by a life so full, a presence so powerfully gentle and a spirit with a boundless capacity to love.
These people introduced me to Jim Pagliaroni bringing the eight year old boy to the 59-year-old man and touching the joy of a long ago summer day shared with his dad.
So now I know Jim Pagliaroni in a way I never dreamed imaginable and my life is made richer because of it. I have been touched by his energy and moved by his spirit and I am grateful evermore to those who took a moment to unveil it to me. And in so doing reminding all that when it is all said and done what is it that really matters? It’s simple…..
It’s the love!