We must begin by melting the ice in the heart of man to use our knowledge wisely.
The snow had just begun to fall last Thursday evening as the weather front, predicted to shut down Denver, rolled in. The city though was in full preparation with the promise that not only main thorough fares would be cleared—neighborhood streets would also be plowed. I had snow removal on my mind as I drove to listen to former Denver mayor Bill Vidal’s Aha Moments—the 4th of our five speakers for KE Live!
I did not know that snow removal was a Vidal family affair—not only was Mr. Vidal’s charge to handle the city’s snow removal when he was head of Denver’s Office of Public Works, his older brother owns a private snow removal business. It would appear a peculiar line of work for two Cuban born brothers but not if one listened to Bill Vidal’s heart wrenching story of his life. It is a rare individual, especially one who has the visibility of public service such as Mr. Vidal, to open up so candidly about the turmoil that was his family. My admiration turned to affection for this man who pulled no punches about what he and his brothers endured, all chronicled in his autobiography, Boxing for Cuba.
Bill Vidal could speak from the heart because his heart has been broken many times. I learned that he and his brothers were just three of over 14,000 unaccompanied children who were flown from Cuba to the United States after Castro assumed leadership. Vidal’s mother and father, as so many other Cuban parents, faced the unknown in separating and sending their children north—and in the case of Bill and his brothers to the orphanage (where he first experienced snow) that would become their temporary asylum, the Sacred Heart Home of Pueblo, Colorado.
It would have been easy for Mr. Vidal to stop there—a story filled with the bitterness of abandonment, the bewilderment of being a foreigner and the brutality that was the asylum. But he opened his heart to us—not fearful of what we might think of him—and willing to recall that bitterness and bewilderment had already been a part of his family life in Cuba and was again his life once reunited with his parents in the United States.
Did Bill Vidal hesitate to hang his family’s “dirty laundry” in public? “In the end,” concludes Vidal, “I realized that to tell this story without describing the very hardest times would have rendered the story incomplete, creating a façade of our lives that would hide the most important lessons to be learned from them, and taken from me my own blessed opportunity for redemption.”
Aha said the heart. Snow removal indeed.
Please join us for our final KE Live! Speaker—Thursday, March 1st—the “Adventure Rabbi” Jamie Korngold on Awe-ha experiences.