Not everyone has the strength and courage to stand up for what they believe in, at least not to the level of advocating their cause to a city council, a legislature or beyond. Carl did.
Carl had tremendous respect for his fellow man, and he wanted everyone to do so as well. Many times when I talked with him, I could see the disappointment in his eyes as he talked about parents losing the respect of their children, the wayward direction the country is headed (morally and financially) and the city council's refusal to not stand up for the people (as he saw it).
Proof of his respect was always shown when you talked to him. I don't know if he always did this, but conversations with him would always end with him thanking me for taking time out of my life to share with him, and for being part of his world.
Our last conversation, over lunch in a Chinese restaurant, was all about his plans to host the showing of “Pay it Forward” to thank the community for the support and love it has shown him and his family over the past 50 years. He kept telling me he's had a good life, he's been blessed and Knoxville has been a big part of it.
I don't know if I'll remember his words of wisdom, or if I'll thank people for being part of my life, but I should. We all should. As Carl often put it, “Every day is a blessing.”
It truly is, though that can be difficult to realize and remember. This was Carl's philosophy, and if we all started looking at the world the way he did, and appreciated each other more, this might be a nicer world to be a part of.
Unfortunately, there was only one Carl. His words and attitudes, however, can be repeated. Carl will never be replaced. I miss him, but if we can learn from him, Knoxville's got a bright future.
Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.