To some people who didn't know Harry, he was just a senior citizen. To me he was a Mentor, a good listener but most of all, my friend. Harry always had time for me when I would call him up on the phone with some plumbing problem. He would always say, "How are you kid?"
I would always be a kid to Harry, who was old enough to be my father, but I saw him more like a grandfather who I never knew. Harry was kind, patient and a good listener. We talked often of the good old days when he was a boy and how he had seen things change. He often spoke of his Grandmother and her newspaper stand plus the times he used to swim in the East River, the places where he had worked and so on.
He passed on a lot of his plumbing knowledge to me in our frequent talks and would inspire me to be confident in the things I had learned from him and on the job. I still remember when a customer came into the store looking for help. I started to shy away feeling unsure of myself. Harry said, "Go ahead kid, you can do it, you have to leave the nest sometime and now is the time". He was right.
Harry was a humble man. I used to complain when I had been asked to sweep the floor in the store one day and Harry told me, "Kid, it's part of the job and plus you're being paid". He would grab the broom without a problem and start humming. I was always amazed by how this gentle man could turn an unpleasant task into a learning opportunity for me.
Harry also helped me to work on one of my character defects, which was false pride. Harry had plenty of pride; no task was beneath him. I always wanted to be like him. He never seemed to let little things annoy him. He said, "Life was too short for that".
I will miss his concern and gentle caring ways and I will always cherish the moments we had together. I am grateful for the good parts of Harry that rubbed off on me and at times I try to pass these gifts on to others. God must of known that I needed an Angel to guide me and he chose Harry.
Copyright © 2006 Miguel Abreu