Take Casey’s Advice

Clarence Ira Metcalf

Clarence Ira Metcalf

The other night we saw the first fireflies of the season. We were sitting by the fire pit. At first I thought the fireflies were sparks from the fire. My mind made a small u-turn when I realized the sparks were, in fact, fireflies. I laughed and clapped my hands. They are magic and I delight at their return.

They blink on. They blink off. I have always thought their light was like a life span or consciousness. We are here for a moment. We are a musical note made meaningful by the silence that surrounds us.

I thought of the first fireflies of the season when I received the news that yesterday afternoon Casey passed away. He was my grandfather. He was working on his 106th year.

Casey was born before people invented world wars. The airplane was in its infancy; it was more of a bicycle with wings than the jumbo jets we know today. He was a young man just getting started when the market crashed. He learned his trade (he fixed sewing machines) during the great depression. By the time people decided that one world war was not enough, he had a family so he fixed sewing machines for the military. He saw Pearl Harbor. Then there was the introduction of the atom bomb, a thing called television, a Korean war, a cold war, a moon landing, and a Vietnam war, and so on. Typewriters became personal computers, phones became cordless, mobile, and small enough to fit in your pocket. In fact, the phone in his pocket had more computing power than the ship that landed on the moon. I’m not sure if he had much use for the internet but he saw the revolution that it inspired.

Casey loved to fly fish. I remember sitting on the bank of a stream watching him whip his line, again and again, until he floated it to just the right spot. He carried a personal pool cue in a special case; he assembled it like an assassin in the movies assembling his rifle. He lost a leg (from the knee) in a hunting accident, and rather than treat the loss like an obstacle, he invented things like gas pedals for his car and for his bike that accommodated his hoof (his prosthetic leg was more hoof than foot. In fact, in my favorite photo of Casey, he is standing in front of a cannon using his hoof/leg as a cannon ball ram).

His garage was a goldmine of machine parts, tools and workbenches. He could fix any machine. I asked him how he learned to fix stuff and he told me that when he was young there was no such thing as a repair shop for your car. If it broke you had to figure it out for yourself.

You have to figure it out for yourself. That could have been the central mantra of Casey’s life and the best bit of knowledge that he passed on to me. He said, “You can figure out anything if you give yourself the time. It’s when people get in a hurry that they decide that they can’t do stuff.”

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

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