Several years ago I took an evening Mexican art history course at Phoenix College. The class was mostly filled with 20 something year old college students, except for Kevin, who was older and wiser.
Kevin stood out not only because he was mature in this young classroom but he was impeccably dressed, always came to class in a beautiful suit, a great tie, and polished shoes. FYI…not the norm…in an art dept. He communicated beautifully. He was intelligent, thoughtful and kind. I think about him today because in his younger years, he knew and had worked for the Kennedy’s. In conversation he talked about John, Robert and Ted. Their influence on him was clear.
Kevin met with an untimely death a few years ago. He was a public servant in that he worked for the city of Phoenix, yes. But he was also a public servant in that he was clearly a mindful human being, present to serve. The classroom was filled with students who had families and held full time jobs. One young single mother who sat behind us worked the night shift at Motorola. I learned thru Kevin that she had a daughter. He took the time to connect with her most every class. She was often tired and would forgot her pen, he always had extra pens for her. She had the sniffles or a cough and he had a cough drop or a Kleenex to hand her.
Kevin loaned me his brand new copy of a, at the time newly released, biography about Diego Rivera. He told me to take my time with it and enjoy it. He regularly brought me the art section of the New York Times. I was grateful no doubt, but I used to tease him…What are you, the nice guy of Phoenix?!
He was a professional business man with a kind spirit very much influenced by the Kennedy’s. He explained to me that life is tough for some people and one should, if one could, be supportive and willing to lend a hand, the smallest gesture to make a persons life a bit more comfortable, is worthwhile.
Today I listen to commentary about Senator Edward Kennedy and his humanity is noted. I know of his efforts towards immigration, as he worked alongside Arizona’s John McCain. I liked the team. And Kennedy always spoke passionately about health care for all. Both of these issues are sitting on the table today.
Kevin informed me that important people can cross our paths and influence us in large ways. But he also reminded me that the everyday citizen is important too. As an artist I think about what I do, and who I do it for, all the time. I don’t know that I make a life more comfortable, it’s possible…but I do my best to expand ones awareness…for what it’s worth.
I always thought of Kevin whenever Ted Kennedy was on T.V. or the radio. Kevin helped me to see Kennedy as more than a political icon, he made him a human being to me.
To Mr. Ted Kennedy…goodbye. And to Kevin…thanks for making it clear how we all can and do influence one another. RIP.