The Backyard where grandpa and I would fix things My 2 Brothers in Italy: Theo and Niikkita Paintings in my Grandparents house growing up in Beclean ROmania. My uncle Marcel and his Daughter. Brasov Romania 2013 Background painting was Hanging on the wall of my grandparents bedroom. Would stare at it till I would fall asleep every night. “In silence a philosopher emerges” Alex Christmas. This quote is dedicated to my grandfather Jon. I grew up in a small village about 3 miles in length with only one main paved road and about 300 residents. My grandpa had a nickname in the village, people called him the philosopher. He always spoke in riddles and parables 90 percent of the time, something that my father who is alive and lives in Rome Italy does also. Both of them shared this trait especially when at a social gathering. This would present a challenge to discern whether or not to take them seriously or if you’ve just been told joke. Couple examples that come to mind: once talking to my dad I asked him what his opinion on doing business with family is. He says to me: “Alex, doing business with family is like wearing a shoe. The higher up the family member is ranked the tighter the shoe laces are tied and the more it hurts when you walk.” Another example, when I visited Rome about 3 years ago I asked him what he thought of the Amanda Knocks trial since I was in Rome I figured I could get a real answer. He said to me that “Every bird by its own tongue fades”. This kind of conversation is none stop. Now at 30 years old it seems that I suffer from the same affliction, especially when I meet new people. It seems as though I have a desire to talk to people in riddles myself. Conversations I have had with my dad have made sense months after we had the conversation. I have been told that he is a bit autistic my father. He can remember every war on every continent, what year it took place, how many people died who won the war. He has never been to Seattle however he taught me that Pike place market is the only market in the USA that has never closed down even one day since its inception in 1907. He knows all the major companies that operate in WA State like Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon. He has never been to the United States but he makes a joke that in 1905 when New York had it first underground subway Romanians were fighting a civil revolution over potatoes with pitchforks and that the two countries are 100 years apart. I had not seen my father for over 20 years after coming to America. One reason is that it took my family and I 12 years just to get a green card to be able to live in America legally and another reason after my parents divorced my father immigrated to Italy a couple of years before I had left to America with my mother. Last time I had a conversation with my grandfather was in 2002. Six years after coming to America. He was very ill and had very little energy suffering from many afflicting one of them being diabetes. I remember being told that he had died in the hospital because the hospital did not have his blood type when he went in and they could not treat him. Small city and his blood type was O positive. Something that would not happen in a hospital in the United States. He was 65 years old. Sometime around the age of 9 years old and about a year and a half before I was diagnosed with Perthes, a hip and femur disease which would send me to a hospital in Bucharest for two years, my grandfather had a stroke and as a result his entire right side of his body paralyzed. He had not control over his right arm, right leg, right side of the face, even his part of his lip would not move. He could still walk and go about his day but he was limited. With that in mind my grandfather made his living through his sills as a mechanical engineer. He was the towns mechanic fixing everything from vehicles, bicycles, welding horse wagons. With his new affliction he was limited to say the least. Here comes the good part for me! People would come to our farm house with all their various things that needed fixing. My grandpa would pull a bucket from the barn flip it upside down and guide me and the other person step by step how to fix the item. I learned how to weld metals as a young child. He would sometimes work on rebuilding complete engines on cars which would take weeks at time even though he did not own a car. This was perfect fit for me and my inability to stay still for too long. We always had bolts in our pockets, just in case a need came for a or a bolt or a nut. This is a habit that I still have today. My wife finds bolts in my pockets on a weekly basis especially if I am working on something. Like my grandpa if I find a bolt or a nut on the street I will pick it up and put it in my pocket just in case the need may come up. I have saved myself from many situations because I had a bolt on me. During this time as I would work on my grandfather’s projects I would always hear him in the background carrying a conversation with the person who had brought the item to repair. Imagine what farmers would talk about. “How much corn did you plant, when are you going to butcher your pig, is you cow milking well?” This was important conversation as my grandfather did not always get paid in cash. I remember one time in specific he got 10 chickens for repairing a horse wagon’s wheel by changing the barring. Being that the town was small there was a lot of gossip going around. “Did you see how SO and SO did not plant enough corn this year? They’ll never feed their chickens and horses over the winter I guarantee it! They’ll end up selling the horse I tell you.” Now at some point in the conversations my grandpa would always end up giving advice. The advice always came in parables. I don’t recall him ever giving me any advice directly only directions like unbolt this, loosen this, tap hammer here however what he would ask me questions like: “this is the radiator take a close look and tell me what is the next step in removing it from the car.” He also had patients for me to answer and the patients for me to make mistakes. If I removed the wrong thing like a head light thinking that it needed to be removed he would let me remove it and ask me “ Ok Alex now how did that help?” “I don’t know Papa Jon (what I used to call him)” “Ok then put it back if it did not need to be removed and try again.” This was great for me as I took great joy on figuring it out myself and I used to love when I got it right the first time especially if he did not expect it of me the first time around. He would tell me very often when I got it wrong “Had you spoken not before doing anything I would have thought of you to be a philosopher.” This was most of the time followed by “Remember Alex the smarter one is the dumber one is also by the wagons full.” Although as a kid I never understood either one of these sayings, they have been imprinted on my personality and I have always thought with caution about being too smart and that silence is for philosophers. My father also says all the time “The easiest thing in the world for a man to do is to be smart and act stupid, but the hardest thing in the world for a man to do is be stupid and act smart.” To me this is a double edge quote. Practice silence and you can remain a philosopher. Why? On one hand it is better to be a philosopher than a liar that’s for sure. In my case many times in my life it would have been better to be a philosopher than a person with an angry burst. “If you cannot say something nice, say nothing at all. Don’t speak upon the silence unless it improves it. Let your yes be yes and no be no.” All quotes with the same message. Over time this quote has been a silent mantra in making a decision to speak or remain quiet. My grandfather’s last spoken words to me were “Don’t forget what I taught you.”

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"I AM Crazy to think I am Normal, But not crazy enough to become Normal." Alex Christmas 2017
Disclaimer: This Website was started on 11/2/2015 SOME of the material has been written in the last 10 years and will be uploaded little by little over time.