Sunday, June 17, 2007

Featured Father ~ A Modern Day Marco Polo

Watch out, Bin Laden, "AK-47 Rossi" is on your tail

Enrico “Hank” Rossi has the wandering spirit. Oh, and he likes to wear black, makes it easy to pack a bag and disappear for months at a time. In the shot above he is at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border testing out his skills. He is my featured father for Dad’s day.

From the Khyber Pass to Lalibela, before it is all said and done, Hank will visit almost everyplace his heart desires on earth. He just returned from a 2 month journey across the Silk Trail, spent last Christmas holiday in Egypt and Ethiopia.

That’s not to say he doesn’t have an interest in Western Culture, big cities, wine, women and song. He’s also been known to lose his way in the City of Lights, looking for Robuchon's latest atelier, or taking a dirt road down an unnamed trail in the Marche, in search of Rosso Piceno and roasted cinghiale.

In other words, Hank is an adventurer. He has an insatiable thirst for cultures of the world and he isn’t afraid to take risks in going out to meeting up with them on their turf, in their ambience.

And while he doesn’t shun luxury, he will walk up steep grades of trail in the Himalayas or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, not expecting a glass of Lafite when he arrives at camp. Sometimes, warm goat milk will be just fine.

Don’t take me wrong, Hank loves good, even great, wine. He has opened up and shared many great bottles of Barolo and Brunello in his cool, modern Turtle Creek flat in Dallas. He loves art and technology and beautiful women (he’s even been know to marry one or two of them); in short, Hank has a lust for life like I have seldom seen in anyone I have ever met.

He celebrated his 65th a year or two ago and that seems to be when he really started making plans to see even more places and be away for even more and more extended periods of time.

When he was a young father, Hank started a business that he didn’t necessarily like. But he worked it hard and he prospered. And then he turned it over to his kids, gave them a great basis for a living. But all along, I got the sense that his heart wasn’t really in the work, there was something else that kept him engaged. He was training for life's big adventure.

I would liken him to the tortoise rather than the hare; he is a marathoner not a sprinter. But what a run it has been.

I sometimes live vicariously through him, especially with all the travels to places that I might not always have a desire to visit. Me, I’m happy to go to a little fishing village along the coast of Italy and stay there for a week or two. Not that he hasn’t also done that. Last summer he and his wife Phillissa rented an apartment in San Benedetto del Tronto, in the Marche, on the beach of the Adriatic, for 2 months. One of my favorite places on earth. That time I was “un po invidia.” But not for long.

So what’s my point in this today? Nothing, except to acknowledge one who is without fear and one who knows that time is a precious commodity. The lesson I take from Hank's life is, we should not waste one minute of it. Live life to the fullest with a sense of urgency, this is not a dress rehearsal.

Climb your mountain.

Happy Father’s Day, Hank!

Hank’s Blog

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've know Hank for years. He is a very special person. So is his wife Phillissia.

What an great tribute to him, and accurate too. Hank has a lust for life that is infectious. When I think of him I see him smiling.

If you are reading this Hank and Phil, I hope all is well!

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