Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Larry Hutnick Sr.

This is my dad's dad, the grandfather I refer to in the post below. I want to give some context to his influence on me, so I thought I would share the my eulogy with you (1/31/07):

Larry Hutnick Senior is a legend. Now I’m one of five people who can say Larry Hutnick was my grandfather. It is something I know I’ll be saying for the rest of my life because my grandfather’s life will be remembered by many people for a long time. 

Anyone who’s ever met my grandfather has something wonderful to say about him. I knew his funeral would be a day of stories and attended by as many people who knew him who could be here in person. If you would like to know how touching my grandfather’s life was, this day and this room are a glimpse. 

When I got the call from my dad I was at work and completely lost it. I was in my new home, Las Vegas, working with a bunch of people who had never heard of the famous Hutnick name and had never been to a Saturday morning clinic. Before I left for the day, I was in my office booking my flight home and a girl I work with walked in to say how sorry she was and asked if we were close…I said “yeah, we were close – if my family was Jerry Seinfeld my grandfather was Kramer”

He came over the house all the time. The pool was probably one of his favorite places to be after a day of teaching tennis. He’d change in the dressing room we set up in our garage, soak his feet for a little while, before he entered the water with a whale-like plunge. We’d shuck corn from Adelson’s farm, hit golf balls into the net we’d set up in the back yard, play driveway golf, and of course tennis at Millwoods, the Purtles, Glastonbury raquet club, Elm Ridge, or any other empty court with a net and preferably a fence…and he always made sure I had the best numbers (or the most) in Joey Viggiano’s annual Superbowl pool. 

I would meet people and they would recognize my last name…are you related to Larry Hutnick? Growing up I felt like a little celebrity. Yeah, that’s me, I’m a Hutnick. It’s my name I’m probably most proud of and the one thing I had the least control over. Anyone can make themselves into something. As a Hutnick, I was a born champion.  Hutnicks are born champions.  I learned that at a young age as I watched everyone in my family bring people together, selflessly give to those who were in need, and ALWAYS play for the love of the game. 

Thank you Grandpa for showing us how to live. You will be missed, but you are a legend who’s life didn’t end three days ago.  We will retell your stories, bake your apple pies, and play tennis at your clinics every weekend. It's your turn to "take it easy." Amen.

Shingle Encounters

9 years old: During our summer vacation my younger sister (Lauren) and I helped my grandfather strip the wood shingles off of our house before we upgraded to vinyl siding (that, thankfully, was installed professionally). We took down sections about 5 feet wide at a time - first the wood shingles, then the insulation, and finally the nails. My grandfather would get the highest parts up on the ladder and Lauren and I tackled everything we could reach. We'd break for a giant glass of fruit punch Gatorade and a dip in the pool every couple hours. It was hard work but we loved it.

26 years old: Monday I was diagnosed with shingles. It's gotten more painful the past few days, which is why I haven't been posting, but it's treatable with anti-viral meds and I should be better in less than two weeks. Shingles usually occurs in people over 60 or those who have compromised immune systems, but for younger people it's due to stress. So much for breathing air and drinking wine... ;)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

We're All Self-Conscious

I was listening to the Kanye West song "All Falls Down" on a bike ride yesterday when I heard the following lyric:

We're all self-conscious, I'm just the first to admit it.

It made me think, "then I must be the second". I scanned my brain for the list of things in my self-conscious vault (some put away more recently than others) and thought about why I'm proud to admit to having this human quality.

Self-conscious feelings are completely yours or disclosed to a special few. Self-consciousness inspires reflective inner dialogue. It stimulates motivation and grief. It's private, familiar, and sexy. I'm very thankful we're all self-conscious.