One of the most happiest person I've had the good fortune of calling my friend worked as a janitor at my old place of work in Fremont - ye olde Longs Drugs #3.
Yes, I remember him very much. His name is Carmelo.
"Caramelo" as I used to call him. Like the Cadbury confection. For no reason than its fun. He is and will always be a friend of mine.
He's from Puerto Rico; a short, fair skinned man in his mid-50's with a goatee who likes to wear his long jet black hair in a pony tail. He is a man of a few words, and comes into my work place at 3am to 5am to buff our floors. He is no conversation starter but neither is he anti-social. I remember he has this crooked kind of smile that is as unique and genuine as he is.
He likes to clean the, ahem... carpet (In-joke).
Carmelo is just one of the many friends from among the many nations I've had the pleasure of meeting while living and experiencing the US.
He blessed my life with the knowledge of his friendship. I could only hope I did the same for him.
You know, some friends travel the road of life with you only for a time. Some travel with you and join you all the way along life's journey.
But all good friends give you lifelong gifts that support one's labor of bringing out one's own true self - the better self; that unique person in ourselves we all like to strive to live for.
One notices in the guise of good friendships the truth of how evil ones seek to make us into mere copies of its miserable self.
Good friends tend to bring out the best in yourself - no matter how dirty or depressing life gets. For the love of a good friend will want to get to know you - as you are, without judgment, and for love's own sake.
And so you become who your friends are - and your friends take from you, a part of you as well.
Gift is gift - once you truly receive of it from your real friends, you will always be a giver.
Of such, I have found, are the gratifying substance of good and wholesome friendships.
So why was Carmelo happy?
I think he is - because he accepts as well as respects himself for who he is, what he has, and who he's with.
Caramelo is a moments man: A special person who looks after what God places in front of him - only and always. God made him quirky but not complicated. He is both honest and content.
He has paid off his mortgage. Owns his little beater of a car. Likes to collect old stuff - I guess, like Mike and Frank in the History Channel show, "The Pickers". He loves his wife who I think is as industrious and resilient a worker as he is.
A lot of us like to live outside the wine glass so it seems. Many of us like to say the glass is either half-empty or half-full but never seem to want to take a sip.
A wine glass half-empty person (like I was before) likes to dwell on the empty part of the glass. A wine glass half-full person likes to dwell on the part of the glass that's filled.
Both of them see life in comparison with the other - with what the other has or has not. Both are the same in that life for them seem always complicated.
Carmelo doesn't seem to care about all that. He and his wife simply likes to drink the wine they like to drink and do so powered by the fruits of their own hard work.
They seem to have cornered their own peculiar part of that great national pie Americans likes to call, "The American Dream".
This American Dream, it seems to me, being of one great pie is a different slice to each person who like to have their cake as they would... some like it all icing, red cherries, cute candy flowers - super sweet, some like to have icing and crust, some want it meaty with more crust, some like it simply sugar free...
I think that's Caramelo.
Cheers to good friendships, happy circles, and awesome trails.
Speaking of great dreams and good friendships...
let me share a nice song from the movie Mama Mia
which my mom and I often watch just to relax...