A Prince of Rockaway
A Prince has many great and noble qualities. First and foremost, a Prince is a gentleman in the oldest and truest sense of the word. They have an air of chivalry about them, they are generally the one who will lay their jacket across a puddle for a lady to be able to walk across. They hold doors, they say please and thank you. They never overstay their welcome, although they are always the first to be there when you need a hand. They give up their seat to a person older or in need of a seat. They never speak foully, even when it is most definitely called for, and they always speak well of people, or they say nothing at all.
There are very few Princes in real life. In my view, being a Prince has nothing to do with some hereditary or King given right, nor does it have much to do with one’s economic standing in life. But it does have everything to do with how one lives their life. Being Princely has an almost spiritual quality about one, because someone who acts in this way strives always to do what is right.
Princes do small things with great meaning. They are “present,” less concerned with themselves and always seeming to run around doing one thing or another for others. Be it a cup of coffee to one who needs it, a trip to the store for one who can’t get out, a smile, a laugh, a look that says, “don’t worry, everything will be ok.”
Princes have kingdoms, for they cast a huge shadow over the hearts that they permeate. Their kingdoms are not always physical palaces, but somehow, they make you feel special and noble along with them, so it feels like you are living in a palace. A kingdom can be a block, tavern, a home, a state of mind. Some kingdoms are adorned with flags. Some of those flags get hung up mysteriously every spring by the Prince and his assistant (I like to refer to the assistant as the Duke, not because of any nobility thing, but because he is a lot like John Wayne!), so when you look up, you are taken by surprise that the entire block is adorned with flags. Princes act in strange and mysterious ways sometimes, their one moment, retiring at an early hour, the next moment, and sometimes predictably so. Anyone frequenting a certain porch would know this for sure.
Machiavelli’s Prince was practiced at the art of deception, intrigue and manipulation. That’s not the Prince we are talking about here. Disney’s Princes are usually on a white horse and have long flowing blond hair, muscles, and battle witches; again, definitely not what we are talking about here. Our Prince is just an everyday, low-key kinda guy, born and raised in his hometown, happy to stay within a five-block radius of his castle.
When a Prince leaves us, it seems like a dark time, and for a while it will be. But how lucky were we to have been in the presence of a Prince. What a great example of how to act and live a life. We need more princes in the world, more noble qualities. In short, we need more people like Dick Roberts, the Prince of 130th Street., we will miss him dearly. We can take some solace that although our Prince has left us and our Duke has moved, we still have a King on the block. Thank goodness for that!
By Lou Pastina