I just read a tribute from a work colleague about a gentleman in her small town who recently passed away. He was the town cobbler. How many even know what a cobbler does anymore?
He and other tradesmen like him were the backbone of an America that is becoming extinct, bit by bit. They were men and women (but mostly men) of honor and integrity who created a life that was more than winning or losing, more than us vs. them, more than ME above all else. They were people of humility who aspired to little more than peace and happiness. And their lives had real meaning, as a result. Like George Bailey of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, this gentleman died a welathy man; wealthy in all of the things that really matter.
From my friend: "his shop was decorated with drawings that school kids made. he hung those simple little pictures as if they were works by the Masters. I don't know what will happen to the shop. I know he had an apprentice, I can only hope that his family will continue with the business as its a one of a kind. You could get shoelaces, insoles, custom made shoes, and he could breath new life into a favorite pair of inflights! when I moved here, I was so happy to find this town had a cobbler. as you said, how many people even know what that is? He had a bowl of jolly rancher candies on the counter and every time I went in, id take the sour apple and the cherry ones. I am sure gonna miss him. he was a joy to chat with. a quick stop by his shop would last an hour! he just loved to chat about traveling the globe!"
It makes me wonder, especially after reading some of our social media exchanges, what will be our epitaph?
May Robert Ercolino, a good and honorable representative of a great generation, rest in peace.
Job well done.