?If it?s Tuesday, this must be Belgium? is a movie I saw about 40 years ago. I imagine it still plays on cable TV somewhere.
I feel a little bit like that today. The hectic autumn seasonal schedule has kicked in. As this is written, it is indeed Tuesday, and my schedule looks like this:
Numismatic News ad deadline is today. The Coin Market price guide monthly section has its ad deadline today. Paper Money Market monthly price guide section to Bank Note Reporter goes to press today. World Coin News also goes to press today. Since I am in charge of all of these, I have various roles to play with each.
I am also recently returned from Costa Rica, where I paid my respects to Paul Green?s family. It is customary in Costa Rica to have 12 chapel services for the departed. I arrived in time to attend the final six. As the only gringo present, I felt slightly at loose ends until I was asked to sing by Paul?s wife. This helped me a lot. I felt I had something to contribute and that helped me overcome the sense of loss and awkwardness.
I was able to sing a solo in English and a duet in Spanish at five of the six services. There were two professional musicians there with a sound system and that certainly helped, though by happenstance my first solo occurred without accompaniment of any kind, since nobody present knew I was going to sing until it sort of spontaneously happened.
I received some comments about how I conveyed real emotion in my voice and how much that was liked and appreciated. The honor of participating was augmented further when it was decided by those attending that they liked my voice well enough that they preferred my solos without background music of any kind.
That made me feel good. Paul probably never thought that I would be singing at his funeral services, but he knew I could sing. On one of my visits several weeks before Christmas we had a rousing family taxi ride up and down hills around San Jose that made Paul and I break into the full-length version of ?Jingle Bells,? that starts, ?Dashing through the snow ...?
It is memories such as this that prompted his wife to ask me to sing in Paul?s honor. I was pleased to do it.
Another sad task that I had was to take possession of his final works. There are quite a few. I have yet to finish sorting them.
Paul in his final months could stand sitting at his computer only so long. These he would e-mail me. He would then adjourn to his old-fashioned typewriter and bat out more articles on paper. There is quite a pile for me to go through.
I asked him why once and he told me that he felt that he was at the top of his game. The words just were pouring out of his mind and he wanted to get them down. If I couldn?t figure out what to do with them all, well, that wasn?t his problem, he just wanted me to try harder.
That was Paul. He always went the extra mile. Not for him was there any permission required. He just wrote and wrote. If I couldn?t use his output one week, why wait a couple of weeks and I would soon figure out how timely and useful the pieces were. They usually were. Sometimes he was so good at spotting new trends that he was ahead of everyone else. It was amazing.
Paul?s wife is holding up well. She was surrounded by family and friends for the entire duration of my visit. We are staying in contact. What might make Paul smile is she is still stumbling across the odd manuscript or two in his computer. I can tell you that Paul?s last unfinished story was about the coinage of the New Orleans Mint. I could see just where he left off in mid-sentence. He would do things like that. I at least try to complete my sentence or paragraph before stopping my writing lest I forget my train of thought.
Paul, on the other hand, was at the top of his game. He felt his mind was plugged into the great body of numismatic knowledge that keeps all of us enthralled with this great hobby of ours. Unfortunately, Paul?s body let his mind (and us) down.