When I was a little boy my
Godfather lived on a hill above my home. "Little
Frankie", as everyone called him, was a small,
80 year old, first generation, Italian
immigrant. He had worked for the railroads his
entire life and had saved a lot of money. Still,
he lived a 19th century life in a 20th century
world. He lived in 3 rooms of a slowly
crumbling, 100 year old house. He didnít have
electricity or running water. He cooked his
meals and heated his rooms with an ancient, cast
iron, coal stove. His clothes were old, patched,
and worn. A lot of people saw all of this and
looked down on him. I never did, however.
When I went up the hill to visit him I always
felt at home. Little Frankie had a simple joy
and peace about him that touched my heart. We
could sit and talk for hours. He was a loving
soul and even though he died when I was still
very young, he has had an influence on my life
that lasts to this day.
Little Frankie taught me that enlightenment
isnít being free of work, problems, and pains.
It comes rather from facing them all with a
peaceful spirit and a loving heart. He taught me
that having more things doesnít bring you more
happiness. He took more pleasure out of a meal
of fried potatoes than a billionaire could get
dining on Champaign and caviar. He taught me
most of all that the greatest joy comes from the
quiet time you spend with God. I have had few
moments as joyful as the ones I spent with
Little Frankie just silently sitting on a rock
and listening to the stream that ran by his
home. He was one of the greatest men I have ever
The 21st century may be full of things that help
us to connect with each other, but to have real
love, joy, and oneness with God we need to
connect with the quiet in our own hearts and
souls. In honor of Little Frankie then I am
going to turn off my television, cell phone, and
computer for a while today. I am going to go sit
by a stream, remember him, and spend some time
by Joseph J. Mazzella
Thanks, Joe, for
this beautiful story.
So many will be blessed by it.
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