Sigmund, Carl & Alfred tell the story of a decent man. It is a powerful story and a must read. The story's power lies in the fact that it resonates with that joyful and loving sense of life that children often experience and then lose when they grow up.
SC&A's grandfather was a gentleman who never lost the loving joy and quiet dignity that allowed him to truly care about other people. Clearly, he passed those values on to his grandchildren.
I couldn't help but be reminded of my own grandmother, who stowed away on a ship from Italy and came to New York in 1913. Sixteen years old, in a new world, she started her own business and was a successful 20 year old when she met my grandfather another immigrant from Italy just off the boat.
When I was very young, my grandmother would take me on adventures into New York City, where we would go into the poor Italian section and leave dollar bills in places where people would find them "accidently". We would watch from a safe distance as mothers with children; or young men and women would discover the bills where we had left them. They never failed to excite the people who discovered them (back then, a $1 was a lot of money!).
Sometimes I think that the overwhelming and pervasive narcissism that has infected our age has robbed us of the abilty to understand the powerful and long-lasting impact that simple human decency toward others has in the world. Because it is decency and its counterpart, goodwill toward men, that is the glue which holds civilization together. These are the values that give meaning to life and puts the pursuit of our own happiness in a context that both enhances that happiness, and shares it with the rest of the world.
Like SC&A's grandfather, my grandmother was a decent woman, who loved life and shared that love with others. SC&A is right--in the end, decency counts.