Look at this guy! I am. That’s me in the awkward pose in front of him enjoying his handsome charm.
That’s Stacy. He’s my friend. He’s a friend to many. He’s sort of the baritone-voiced, kind-eyed angel of friendship. He’s the walking, talking genius of warmth and connection, in my humble opinion.
Stacy, were your ears burning? You were the topic of conversation over coffee this morning. My daughter said, the thing about him is that so many people can enjoy what’s wonderful about him. As in, he’s open-hearted and open-minded, warm, loving, gregarious and genuinely enjoys creating spaces where people connect. He’s an artist, yes, but that isn’t his only talent.
Meetups, social media and dating apps perform solidly in bringing people together for initial meetings. It takes empathy, authenticity and work to build a lasting community. That’s Stacy’s other great talent. It’s a teachable skill, too. Before I met Stacy, wandering around a Hampton Block Party at the end of the summer of 1991, I had no idea how food, drink, music, introductions, and laughter could transform people individually and as groups. If joy were currency, Stacy would be a billionaire.
A dear friend who came to Newport News just a little later in life but just as hopeful of finding a home and a community calls him the mayor. Stacy knows everyone. If he doesn’t, he will. I look to him when I need a hug, a dance partner, a quiet beer or a walk. But so many of the people who connect with him come to him for different things. And Stacy gives us what he can.
Are you looking for a better life? Happiness? Peace? A cozy, secure feeling for your soul? Be like Stacy. Make dinner. Invite your friends over. Make art and share it. Hug the worthy souls you meet. Be grateful. Be grateful for your community, for art, for love, for family and friends. I am. Grateful every day for knowing a man like this.