Blunt Bites: An Old Italian Guy Named Joe

[ DISCLAIMER: Blunt Bites break away from my normal, detailed laugh-out-loud (right?) posts. They are like snapshots of a significant part of my life. Sometimes, they’re serious. Sometimes, they’re funny. But they’re always gonna be delicious. Yum. ]

I met Joe while working at a retirement home and almost instantly, we connected. During my first week of work, he pointed out my dark hair and ever since then we’ve fought over whose Italian grandma made a better spaghetti sauce. Now, every time I see him he gives me a hug and says he loves me.

At night, sometimes he sits down and shows me the scrapbook his daughter made for his 90th birthday. It’s filled with pictures of the Navy, his three daughters and his late wife along with letters from all the friends, family and neighbors that he has meant so much to over the years. After reading those letters, you can tell just what kind of a life Joe lived.

After he turned 90, Joe told me that he finally realized he wasn’t going to live forever.  He said he wanted to start “doing things,” and he didn’t understand why none of these old guys “ever want to spend their money.” I told him that I didn’t understand it either, since money doesn’t mean anything anyway. We went through the activity book and I signed him up for every single thing.

I asked Joe if he had any advice, based on his experiences. He said, “Find a pretty girl like yourself and realize how lucky you are.” I laughed and responded, “Joe. That doesn’t really help me out very much,” and he said, “Oh, I think it helps you out more than you realize.”

Then he followed it up with, “Yea, I’m a flirt. So what? Keeps me young.”

When I asked if I could take his picture so that I could always remember him, Joe said he was honored that I thought he was worth remembering.

More photos: Indigo Photography

32 thoughts on “Blunt Bites: An Old Italian Guy Named Joe

  1. Oh my goodness, that picture is FANTASTIC! It’s one of those special few that really captures the essence of someone, that lets you glimpse into their soul.

    And thanks for making me feel all sappy, as if I need any help. 😉

  2. wtf. you made me cry a little bit again. Is there a need?!
    *ahem* wonderful lil’ brownie bite 🙂 Everyone needs someone like Joe in their life, I think. . . to inspire us how to be when we’re old 🙂

    I have a habit of striking up friendship with random old men in bars. It kind of annoys my friends/family sometimes. . . but y’know what, it doesn’t hurt me to have a dance with him, and if he thinks I’m special after all the life he’s lived, then that’s a bonus for my day!

  3. He must have been fun. I have an 87 year-old friend and her total lack of caring what people think of her is hilarious. She even talks about her 79 year-old hubby’s inability to take ED meds.

  4. That was such a touching story! He looks amazing at 90 and that picture….oie! You can really tell the kind of great man he is just from that one amazing picture. Great job chica!
    P.S. loved that dessert last night YUM!

  5. OMG….what faaaaaaabulous story, Blunt!

    Soooooooo touching! And holy cow….90 years old?!?!? You GO, Joe!

    Your photography always blows me away! Freakin’ GREAT portrait! Love the black and white.

    And I’m so happy to hear another Italian call it ‘sauce’ instead of ‘gravy.’ HA!

    Hope you had a super weekend, girl!


  6. I worked at a retirement home one summer in high school and I forever regret that I was so distracted being moody and miserable that I didn’t come away with any brilliant advice from people who I’m sure coulda taught me a thing or two about life.

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  8. Great story, I love this guy! I hope that my character shows as plainly in my face when I get older – and that it’s a good thing!

  9. everyone needs a “Joe.” Mine’s a “Dottie,” and although she’s closing in on 80 this year, she doesn’t take crap from anybody! Not even Time Warner! She’s their worst nightmare.

    I would LOVE for you to show my new store some love, but I can’t figure out how to email you the info. Can you email moi? It opens Friday! woot!

  10. He’s 90 years old?!?! Goodness he looks so good in that photo! YOU TELL HIM I SAID THAT!
    I loved reading this story, reading about characters like him who have a rich and happy life. I smiled when he ended his sentence with, “keeps me young”.

  11. What a fabulous photo. It almost looks like a movie still. I imagine him walking off the page and going to hang out at his favorite barber shop or something. I love your last line. Priceless.

  12. So I found your blog while searching for blog layout designers – what a find! I love your writing so far – and this piece.

    If I can be half as dapper as Joe when I’m old, I’d be content.

    And I love, love, love the picture.

  13. It’s one of those special few that really captures the essence of someone, that lets you glimpse into their soul. Actually it was just one. They’re all worth remembering.

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