Well, 2016 is almost over and I have to say, it has been one of the most difficult years for my generation. So many familiar people have passed. So many people of wondrous talent and genuine compassion have left this world, only to take their greatness. I can honestly say thank God for technology, as it is the only way the future will ever be fortunate enough to share in the glory of talents such as Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, and Leonard Cohen. These are but a few of the notable deaths.
But not everyone sees the real loss here. Some only see another tool for judging, criticizing, and forcing their political agendas onto others. I know, I was about to do the same thing right here until I typed that line and realized my mistake. I was about jump to the defense of Steve Martin, regarding his thoughts on Carrie Fisher, but now that I have caught myself. I will simply give you a list of people who touched my life in some way out of the ordinary. Much the same that Carrie Fisher may have touched Steve Martin.
These are in no particular order.
Muhammad Ali –Such a strong influence on the world. Courageous, endearing, and not the least bit afraid to speak out, about anything.
Frank Armitage – artist and animator for Walt Disney. He gave life to so many of the classics by making the settings characters themselves. Mary Poppins was the most notable for me. His work helped to inspire me to embrace the limitless potential of my imagination.
Pat Conroy – Most known for his talent at a writer, this man changed my life in an unconventional way. I met a man named Sam Morton, he submitted his writing to my publishing company. One of his strongest influences was Pat Conroy. He spoke often of learning from him, admiring him, and envying his talent. Sam always said he thought it made him a better writer himself to study the masters, and he considered Conroy one of the masters. Sam touched my life in so many positive ways.
Gene Wilder – Watching this man perform is one of my greatest pleasures. His courage and commitment to love and life are more than just an inspiration.
Gordie Tapp – Known for his role on the television show, Hee Haw, Gordie Tapp brought me and my family together. Not by choice at first, but every Saturday night at my grandparent’s house, we gathered together in their small singlewide trailer and watched Hee Haw. We laughed and joked and my grampa would tease me with constant “Pfft!” noises. Gordie Tapp, unbeknownst to him, helped create some of my fondest childhood memories.
Big Ang/Angela Raiola – Strong woman. Despite her brushes with the law and being the niece of Salvatore Lombardi (Capo in Genovese family), Big Anj had a way about her that exuded confidence. Knowing what she did and dealing with the consequences is oddly inspiring to me. Her background shaped her life, but I don’t believe that is all she was. Not really a role model, but yet I admired her tenacity and positive attitude.
Sometimes I find inspiration and motivation in strange places and people, but I thank God every day that I can still find it.
In the beginning of this post I made note of how many “familiar” people passed in 2016, but I really began to wonder about this as I wrote my post, so I did some surfing and found out something very interesting. Wiki has a listing of “notable deaths” for years. I went through each page of 2006, curious. What I found shocked me. Some of the names meant nothing to me, in the sense that I could care less what a physicist or math scholar did, I am sorry for their deaths and may they rest in peace, but…
What I actually found were hundreds, maybe thousands of names of people who died in 2016. Many of whom had some kind of effect on my life, despite my having no idea they existed. Listed are, not just people, but animals. Such a wide variety of names, from John Glenn Jr., the first man to orbit the earth, to Sarah Clancy, who was the oldest living person in Ireland, to Jia Jai, the oldest living Panda in the world. We’ve lost these people and animals and many had no idea who they were or what they did. I learned a lot today about politicians from around the world to the creator of the washable crayon from Crayola.
Need something to do some night when you can’t sleep, or just care about other people and what have contributed to our world, check out the Wiki link.