My older cousin, Paul Violi is gone and I'm still in a state of disbelief. I always looked up to Paul and he embodied what it was like to be a fine young man growing up after WWII in a rural setting, which was Greenlawn in those days. A period in time; both good and bad; which is forever gone.
I remember his love of adventure, his curiosity, love of the outdoors and his knowledge of the many American Indian tribes. He read everything about their love of the land, of nature and about their survival skills, which he put into practice in the forests and rivers on Long Island.
I remember Paul as a teenager, taking off and spending many days by himself with his canoe on the Nissequoque River, stopping to study the wildlife and flora, get in adventures and make friends along the way.
In my eyes at that time, he was like Samuel Clemens and his Life on the Mississippi, only 2,000 miles closer to New York.
Knowing Paul as I did, his writing seemed to me to be a combination of Walt Whitman meeting Bret Harte by way of Oscar Wilde. Great charm, wit and humor.
From an early age, I always sensed that Paul found what we all want and very few of us get. I don't think that anyone could fail to be a better person for having known him.
Goodness is the greatest force in the world and Paul had it in abundance.