Annie's Foolish Angels
Best Wishes, Annie

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April 28, 2003

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I've quietly always wanted to learn to play the piano, but have never found it convenient enough. This weekend, I changed my thinking on that. I bought a Casio AP-25 digital piano at Costco. It near-perfectly simulates a piano and offers one very important feature (beyond cost savings on the real thing). HEADPHONES!

For the last twenty-four hours, off and on, I've been flipping through beginner piano books, tapping away madly, and trying to learn from my errors. AND, all the while, I haven't annoyed anyone in my apartment building.

So why start now, at age 35?

This past week, we said our goodbyes to one of our all-time favorite employees, Tim Aycock, who died of cancer at the age of 35. You may have encountered him as TMF Roboto on the message boards. Tim was a ball of creative energy, mischief, joy, and courage. And he was a great friend. And he was far more than those or any words can capture. His funeral service this past weekend stands out as one of the greatest celebrations of life I've ever encountered.

What is happening online and offline with you, Annie, and everyone here is -- like our celebration of Tim -- another beautiful reminder of these mysterious joys of being. Too brief for all of us. But, for all of us, clearly so many authentic and joyful moments await, if we want them. If we're willing to dive in, look around, listen, ask, and experience. Annie, you just keep diving, looking, listening, asking, and being. It's wonderful to see. It reminds me of Tim.

Tim's life made me realize it was time to, with a bit more recklessness, pursue what I love and what I think I might love. That led me to my digital piano and the heavy flow of mishit notes thwapping about in my headphones this weekend. Then, at about 2AM last night, after a few hours at this one tune, I played -- without error -- Beethoven's Ode to Joy. That moment I thought of Tim and what I know of you, Annie. I suspect you're feeling what Tim was when, at the height of his illness, he lifted his eyelid and struggled to say to us, "This matters. Life matters."

Yes, it does.


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