I’m not sure I’ve ever introduced you to my Unkie. My great uncle Aaron, who passed years ago, was like a grandfather to me and the entire family called him Unkie, for a reason I never knew. Growing up he encouraged my every aspiration, took me on picnics and taught me to appreciate what he called “yemin yellies” (those yellow lilies that grow everywhere in PA from May to October). His nickname for me even through high school was peaches. I never knew why, but secretly loved it.
In college, Unkie mailed me at least one handwritten letter a week, with a bit of cash tucked inside and of course a whole bunch of wisdom scrawled in his tentative and typo-ridden hand. It was in those letters than Unkie introduced his mantra for my life. Every letter sent, for each week I attended college, he signed off with a God Bless and a “keep your nose to the grindstone”. I’m sad to say this phrase became a bit of white noise for me after reading it hundreds of times. It wasn’t until he was gone, that I realized their true power.
The best work of your life is hard. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and many tears. Sometimes it hurts but doing the good work, makes you sharp…like anything you keep to a grindstone. Dull and pathless becomes honed and passionate…all on the grindstone.
Someone sent me a note yesterday…and gave me a little nudge that was so needed on a very loud and hectic day. He reminded me in a not so overt way, that what we do at the studio is good work. He reminded me that Unkie would be proud. Thank you for that.
A watercolor of Unkie painted in high school now hangs in the studio, with Unkie’s mantra perched underneath. He reminds us all to keep at it…get sharp…keep at it.