My Corner, Your Corner: July 7 we lost ‘a giant of generosity’

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio

We lost an unheralded good friend July 7.

Jimmy Mulé was a great friend to so many people and one of the most generous. He was a business owner and always had his hands into something. Most recently he was the owner/operator of Pittston Printery on Main Street, downtown.

It was there where many people got to know Jimmy. One usually found Jimmy behind his desk with a telephone headset on while he was working on his computer. Like a lot of people, Jimmy was self-taught in many things and he knew how to make a buck.

In his office, it was never, “Here’s what I need, thank you,” and out the door. Customers were encouraged to pull up a chair and have a conversation with the man. “So what’s going on?” he’d always ask me. An hour later, I’d still be talking to the guy, thinking I was holding up his work. That was never the case with Jimmy; he would always multitask.

The only time the two of us would stop talking was when the phone rang. This is the conversation I would overhear: “Pittston Printery, OK… OK… OK… OK, no problem. How about next Thursday?”

I think Jimmy was one of the easiest going people I have ever known. He had two speeds — slow and slower — but he always got the job done.

He did whatever had to be done with his shop to keep up with the times. He was in the process of getting rid of all the offset print machines and was pretty much printing everything digitally. There really wasn’t a job too large or too small for him.

God knows how many jobs he did gratis. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how the man paid the bills because he let so many people slide on paying him. But that was Jimmy.

He and I grew up in the same town and he was about 10 weeks older than me. We knew the same people, had the same teachers and had the same friends, but we didn’t travel in the same circle. Our friendship was long and when we sat down to talk, it felt like coming home.

He had a passion for cars and liked photography, just like me, and we both shared a graphic arts background.

When he wanted his house remodeled and reconfigured, he could have called anyone, but he called my brother Frank to do the design work. Together, with Jimmy’s dream design and my brother’s know-how, they converted a one-story home into a magnificent property that included an indoor pool and a third floor with a view overlooking the Susquehanna River.

The only flaw Jimmy had was his addiction to cigarettes. As his condition worsened over the years and he was forced to use oxygen, he would tell me how bad smoking was to his health. He had a sign in his office that read, “Thank you for not smoking.”

I believe it was Jimmy’s only regret in life — smoking.

One Wednesday, Jan. 13, my daughter Ashley was celebrating her birthday by having a painting party for family and friends across the street from the print shop at Paint N Pinot on Main Street. The party wrapped up around 9 p.m. and when I was leaving, I saw Jimmy’s “open” sign was lit.

For a split second, I thought, “Should I visit him or should I let him wrap up his night so he could go home?” It wasn’t uncommon for Jimmy to work from noon or so until 9 p.m.

I’m not sure what prompted me to visit, but I did and I’m glad I did. He was at his usual station behind his desk when I walked into his office. He seemed happy to see me and wasn’t annoyed that I popped in so late.

We talked for a while when he told me he was going back to Philedelphia to the hospital that Friday for what I believe was a consult. It was then when he told me he was on a list for a lung transplant.

That was the last I saw or spoke to him.

I texted back and forth a few times to check on his progress, and his wife, Denise, would respond. The last correspondence was condolences from the couple on the loss of my mother in April and to tell me Jimmy was doing better and he was being weaned off the tracheotomy.

Never did I think he would not make it. I had so much hope for him. So many had the same hope and prayers he would be all right, and he would be back to his own self and behind the desk.

For Jimmy’s family, friends, customers and the City of Pittston — we all lost a gem, a one of a kind and a giant of generosity.

Quote of the week

“Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.” – Isaac Baashevis Singer, American writer.

Thought of the week

“The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.” – Northrop Frye, Canadian literary theorist.

Bumper sticker

“Choose only one master – Nature.” – Rembrandt, Dutch painter.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected]

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected]

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