About a month ago we were invited to our friend Irv Spivak’s Birthday’s party. We’ve been friends for over ten years, since he joined our BNI networking group. We discovered there were a number of things we had in common. We both lived in Israel and speak Hebrew, and we both like to tell jokes. At that time he worked at the Simayof Jewelry Store, helping buyers celebrate their lives by spending a lot of money on diamonds and jewelry. His next job was at the Payne Mansion Hotel, where he helped to organize events. While there, he developed his next occupation officiating special celebrations like weddings, childbirth celebrations and funerals. No matter what Irv touched, it was always a celebration of life.
The party was his 63rd Birthday celebration, and I did not know what to expect, since I was told that Irv had started chemotherapy. Generally, people are not known to celebrate during these unfortunate life circumstances. The party was held in Golden Gate Park, but it was not a typical picnic. It was a celebration of life. Music blasted with the help of a DJ, while people danced on the grass. Smoke rose from a huge grill. Huge amounts of food and drinks covered tables, children played lawn games, and everyone had a good time. And to top all of this, cigars were freely distributed by our celebrating host. Part of Irv’s celebration of life was his love for food. I was surprised when one day a few years ago he announced that he would start a special diet. A few months later, a new Irv appeared in his new clothes, 40 lbs. lighter. Similar to many diets, the transformation did not last. We had lunch a few months ago and Irv was dressed in his old clothes, and enjoyed bread with butter and the rest of his meal with a great appetite.
Unfortunately, his disease caused him to lose weight again. But his big blue eyes were shining at every guest he greeted. Seeing us, his first words were “Let me tell you a joke”, which he told with great pleasure. When I texted Irv last Sunday to find out how he is doing, I received a reply from our mutual friend Constance Adamopolis, who is an incredible events organizer and helped create Irv’s Birthday party. She has worked with Irv on many life-celebrating projects. Constance told me that Irv is in hospice and that he does not have much time left. When we went to visit him there, Irv had difficulty speaking, but when my wife Elfa told him a joke, his face lit up, and he showed his thumb up. There are so many small things that can teach us how to celebrate life.