Pine Nuts Honoring a life well-lived
On Sunday, Toccata, the Tahoe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, presented a musical tribute to Dr. Paul Guttman. Maestro James Rawie and his wife Nancy invited world renown violinist, Elizabeth Pitcairn to honor Paul’s personal request for her to play Massenet’s “Meditation” in case of a memorial. She honored that request, and with Donna Axton in accompaniment, well, it was wondrous.
James and Nancy invited me to extend a nonmusical tribute to Paul, which I was privileged to do.
There are a handful of people in this world to whom a dull moment is an unknown thing and an impossibility, Paul Guttman was one. A prodigious noticer, he was intensely curious about all things large and small.
Most men of this century seem to feel that they have got the duties of two lifetimes to accomplish in one, and so they rush, and rush, and never have time to be companionable.
Paul was not one of these men. He would share a new recipe, a new arrangement of an old song, the sighting of a distant star. And to bequeath a medical advancement in technology to society, well, that was not worth mentioning to Paul.
Paul spoke a universal language, a language of kindness, and kindness is a language that those without audible can hear and those without sight can read.
Not unlike Maestro Rawie, Paul held a baton, and orchestrated his life in a way that would have made Toscanini smile. This baton afforded Paul a vigorous enjoyment of life, a life he would celebrate with panache and élan.
His humor was a humor which flowed softly, was pervasive, refreshing, health-giving, and made no more show, and no more noise than does the circulation of the blood. Paul’s days here at the Lake of the Sky were full to the brim with the wine of life.
I had the pleasure of dog sitting Smudgie once, and when Paul returned I had the joy of seeing what a dog’s tail could actually do.
Smudgie’s tail wagged sideways, it wagged up and down, and then it rotated at the speed of an electric egg beater, a sight that would make a homeless person smile.
I have never seen an atom of proof that there is a future life. And yet I am strongly inclined to expect one. And in that future life, if I’m lucky, I might get to mingle with Mark Twain, Lilly Langtree and Paul Guttman.
Nancy Rawie says Paul is up there by the ceiling, proud to have known these wonderful musicians and glad in his heart to hear their beautiful music.
The important thing, the essential thing, is that we endeavor so to live that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry. That is a life well lived. That was Paul Guttman. His beautiful nature and generous soul will never be forgotten.
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.org.
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