Yesterday, my colleague Dave Carter and I where invited to a Uruguayan barbecue at the Estancia, Florida, Home of Edgardo Irigaray.
The farm home was beautiful, the indoor barbecue unbelievable.
Dave entertained a Uruguayan who’s who of the State of Florida — as well as dignitaries like governors and ambassadors who were in attendance for the feast — with his knowledge of beef and bison. Many were intrigued with the bison.
Through out the day, I couldn’t help but watch how congenial Edgardo was. He smiled, laughed, poured scotch, drank scotch. Laughed some more, smiled more, patted people on the back again, laughing out loud—
I couldn’t help looking at him — this man is special, I thought. It was as if the 20 or so people where perfectly orchestrated for Edgardo — and he was loving every minute of it.
When we sat down for lunch, I was fortunate to be only one seat away from Edgardo. Since he was at the head of the table, I could see him straight on. I was intrigued with this happy, smiling, magical, almost budda-like individual. He was laughing and making sure everyone at the table had fun. And plenty of Uruguayan Tannat.
I kept saying to myself, wow, look at that twinkle in his eye, look how happy this man is. I wondered, is it because he is one of the largest land owners and cattle growers in Uruguay? Or is it that he has all of his influential friends here? I was just so intrigued.
Keep in mind, he was talking a mile a minute. It was very difficult to understand what he was saying. But, it didn’t matter. He was spreading joy, he was spreading cheer and laughing and having a great time. We were all having a great time!
Eventually, I just wanted to know where the bright light of this man’s joyous spirit came from. I was just happy to be next to him, enjoying the fellowship and fun of the evening.
A man named Dr. Alvaro, who was seated next to me, spoke some english. So I asked Him to ask Edgardo what gives him such a bright and joyful spirit. I asked Alvaro to tell him how much I was enjoying being in his presence.
When Alvaro asked him, Edgardo looked at me, (and suddenly shrank slightly lower than me) and said in perfect english — “I have less than a year to live, I have bone cancer!” Then Alvaro started talking about Edgardo going to the Mayo Clinic.
That part of the conversation became just background noise to me. The only thing I could think about was one thing — I want to start living today, every day, like I am dying.
Thank you, Edgardo, for teaching me that valuable lesson. Each day, as I live my life, I will live as if today is my last day. And I will think of you.