Each week I seek out the “Lazer Speaks” column, disappointed when its author may be on vacation, but I’m always overjoyed when I see the new title for his most recent work. I have often resolved to reach out to Mr. Pastina and renew an old - correction - very old friendship and tell him how much he means to me and how inspired I become when I read his columns in the Rockaway Times.
You see, I had a dream of one day living on the peninsula, growing old with my wife and relishing my feet in the sand, summer or winter. It is fitting that the last time I saw Mr. Pastina was in Rockaway, far from where we first met on North 6th Street in Brooklyn.
Things change, and now some forty-one years later, I am still working but on another peninsula in south Florida. Funny how life takes you on a path sometimes unexpected, but never forgetting where your journey began. And you never forget those along that journey who are genuine and sincere like the “Lazer." As I finished reading the column titled “I Want My Life Back,” it struck a chord of familiarity that I could never so eloquently describe as Mr. Pastina did. Taking or more appropriately “not” taking things for granted. I have learned, often by trial and error or through the school of hard knocks, to never take something for granted that means so much. Even the little things. I have had success and failure in that regard.
And this Coronavirus pandemic with its fallout and destruction makes it more apparent to cherish the things we have and had, and to nurture them, support them, and let people know when they matter. So, I realized upon reading the column that it's time to write this letter in support and encouragement to Mr. Pastina, “Lou” or “Louie” as I last called his name, so that I don’t take him or anyone else for granted, especially those in the Rockaways.
Thank you, Lou, for your inspiration and your loyalty to the City. You matter, to me, and to so many more out there. Thank you for your perspective, your daring, your kindness, and your insight - and keep writing. The people we were exposed to and had a great impact on us on North 6th Street certainly deserve my thanks, and you are among them. Keep up the good work and when our paths cross again, I hope to be able to tell you Thank You in person.
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