About AZ… 

AZ and I have a friendship that is at least partly about our common career paths. We met after K and I had moved to South Florida. I was beginning a new job as editor of a newsletter publishing company. He had a furniture business. I was broke. He was making money. Some years later, fate turned against him. He closed his business and moved north to start another. He built that business into a great success, then sold it and retired. I saw him recently at his Tuscany summer home, a villa he and his wife bought and beautifully renovated five years ago.

AZ has many admirable qualities. But what I especially like about him is that he has no pretentions about his success. He doesn’t talk about the hard work and perseverance and intelligence it took to build it. He talks as if he hit the lottery. He’s amazed to think that he came here when he was 12, speaking no English and broke.

He loves his toys. And he isn’t embarrassed to spend money on them. He also loves his charities and gives generously to them. But most of all, he loves his friendships – and he has many.

We talked about the friends he and his wife have made since they started coming to Tuscany. He spoke about his new hobby – making things out of wine bottle boxes. And he spoke about our friendship, now more than 30 years old. What we didn’t speak of is the cancer that is in his kidneys and may be spreading to other parts of his body.

I am of an age where death is always looming. In another year, I’ll be entering my 70s. When you die in your 70s, people don’t say you died young. They say, if they want to say something positive, that you lived a “full” life. I don’t feel like I have yet lived anywhere near a full life. I’ve got projects to complete and books to write. My manuscript box has 14 unfinished books that I’m working on.

I won’t go easily into the night. I’m already raging against it. But when I die, I won’t be hurting anymore. Living while your friends are dying… that’s what hurts.

But AZ isn’t raging. He’s living every day happily, busy with his friendships and his hobbies, feeling grateful for what he has.

Saying goodbye later that night, he hugged me warmly. “We’re so lucky,” he said. And I know he meant it.

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“Life is a continuum of moments. Some are disappointing. Some are gratifying. Most are neither and thus invisible. A well-lived life consists in accepting moments of disappointment and gratification, but most of all of seeing the ordinary.” – Michael Masterson

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fecund (adjective) 

Fecund (FEK-und) means fertile, productive. As used by Sue Hubbell: “You have to take springtime on its own terms in the Ozarks: There is no other way. It can’t be predicted. It is unsteady, full of promise, a promise that is sometimes broken. It is also bawdy, irrepressible, excessive, fecund, willful.”

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In July, India launched its first moon-bound spacecraft. Chandrayaan-2, a 142-foot rocket, cost $141 million, less than half the cost of “The Avengers” movie.

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“The Big Business of Scavenging in Postindustrial America”

The US produces more garbage per capita than any other nation in the world. In this article from The New York Times, Jake Halpern explains how scrappers are turning that waste into a $32 billion business. LINK

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