Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pat Lapide is way on top of my very short list of favorite people.
She is the Matriarch of a family business in its third generation.
I have been a customer and friend of hers for over 30 years.

Pat was running her Father-In-Law's business
with her husband Larry for a long time before that.
It's a seasonal business:
starting with garden plants and supplies in the Spring
peaking with Watermelons in the Summer,
moving on to grapes and winemaking supplies in the Fall,
ending with christmas trees and wreaths in the Winter.
Wholesale, Retail and everything in between.

There is something in Pat that is missing in too many people.
The depth of her patience, generosity, kindness, humor...
her humanity... attracts and holds everyone she deals with,
regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

Lately, now that the crazy rush of Garden season is past,
I have taken to visiting with her for no good reason
other than to feel be in the company of a person
who generates love, and regularly receives it back...
from the most unlikely sources.

Sitting next to Pat on a white plastic chair,
surrounded by wooden cratesful of wine grapes,
I watch her transactions with a veritable
United nations of amateur vintners.
Everyone calls her "mom".
and most want a special deal...
the "Mom" price.
Of course, they get it.

It's like that all the time.
Whether it's a small bent over Haitian grandma with a single tomato plant
or a grizzled cranky truck driver dropping off his load,
Pat is the same.
She is my Hero.
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