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  • I had an uncle who was a New York City policeman, he walked a beat for 35 years. He never got, or wanted a promotion to a desk job. He lacked any kind of formal education, but he had a keen mind and developed interests in things. Uncle Seymour had a passion for oriental rugs, and when he died, he left a collection worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, all of which he donated to a museum.. nothing to any of us. It surprised the entire family, and gave substance to the notion that "you're worth far more when you're dead than alive."

    Anyway, anyway... he lived underneath the Manhattan Bridge in a very poor section of New York City. Each morning he rose, regardless of the weather, and walked back and forth across the Bridge for exercise.

    I saw him briefly before he died, and he told me "I'm gonna die soon." I said "Uncle Seymour, don't say that! What makes you think it?" He said all the joy had gone out of his life, he had such trouble with his hip that he no longer was able to walk each morning across the Bridge. He said that without the simple beauty of looking at the New York skyline, he didn't have much interest in going on. 3 months later he passed away in his sleep. He was in his late 80's. Once that happened I started to walk across the Bridge more frequently to see what he saw... it became instantaneously more beautiful to me.
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