IN LOVING MEMORY

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Frankie, I'll Pay It Forward for You

This is the second time in ten years that I have put 'pen to paper' and let come what may. Monday night at about 11, I received one of those dreadful, in the true sense of the word, phone calls. A friend of mine, Frank Giamartino, had died.

I was stunned. Saddened. Angry. Overwhelmed with sorrow for Mary, Vince, and scores of others left behind, including myself.

Frank died in one of those freakish accidents that really could have happened to any one of us. It makes you think it made me think. And then, I started thinking about Frank, who he was, what he was about and about paying it forward.

About six years or so ago, my wife and I watched a movie called Pay It Forward. The kid from the movie Sixth Sense was the star, I believe. Boy, did that movie make an impression on me. Paying kindness forward three times is really what the movie was about. (Watch it!)

Frank was that way with just about everyone he knew. He really, really was what we all aspire to be. He was a person of kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy, truth. Sometimes it was hard truth, but that, too, was just perfect coming from him. Goodness, the boiled-down kind, was what made up his being, and it was fairly easy to see this after meeting him. He wasn't perfect, but who is?

Frank always paid it forward. He always helped. He never asked for anything in return, but I know that he just hoped that his kindness would be paid forward. I don't know how I know this, but I do.

He had faith, like I do, in the fact that there are lots of lots of decent folks out there, all kinds of decent folks, not just the cookie cutter kind. And he knew that decent folks sometimes have a decent amount of problems, and he would help if he could.

So I will take my understanding of Frankie's spirit and I will pay it forward. I will not forget you, Frank, or what you stood for.

And that is a promise.

Bob Larson