by Bill Piervincenzi

Dan is a retired electrical engineer. He moved to Andes full time, three years ago. His home is at the top of Old Gladstone Hollow Road, where he lives with two dogs, three cats and a lot of wildlife.

Dan lived in Manhattan most of his life. During the Viet Nam War, Dan had an occupational deferment from the draft. He voluntarily did not renew his deferment and allowed himself to be drafted. He served in the signal corps for a year. He loved Viet Nam and the Vietnamese people but hated the war.

When he returned to civilian life, he worked as a producer in the television industry. He was involved in the earliest pioneering efforts to develop interactive T.V. Since moving to Andes, Dan has designed a rich website called Catskill Rag. His idea was to provide a forum for amateur writers to get their writing out to the public, and to promote humor through satirical articles.

During my conversation with Dan, he revealed that he was terminally ill. Seven years ago, he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Three years ago, the disease began to take its toll. After being treated at the Albany Veterans Administration Hospital, he decided to create a website and give it a name that would honor the V.A. hospital. It was his way of expressing his appreciation for the excellent care he received there. His website address is:

www.albanyva.org/CATSKILLRAG/ <http://www.albanyva.org/CATSKILLRAG/>

When you visit the website, you are greeted by a photo of a gorgeous Catskill sunset. His website lists various contributing writers as well as Dan’s own commentaries. There are satiric pieces, political cartoons, links to the music of Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, links to government agencies in Delaware County and much more.

Dan admits he doesn’t know what direction the website will ultimately take. He is waiting to see what evolves from the contributions of the writers he features. In addition to making people laugh, Dan believes each of us has a unique story to tell. He greatly appreciated the humor and the tradition of oral storytelling that was so pervasive in the Catskills.

He also bemoans the written word’s loss of esteem of the written word, remembering his youth when his room was crammed with electronic equipment, but more importantly, lots of books.

Dan hasn’t allowed his physical problems to dampen his outlook or enthusiasm for life. In fact, just the opposite is true. He is energetic, positive and full of appreciation for all that life has to offer. He is especially eloquent when describing the natural beauty of the Catskill area.

Dan doesn’t drive. Once a week or so, he walks several miles into Andes and treats himself to breakfast at Cassie’s Kitchen. He has generously agreed to apply his technical expertise to design a much needed website for the Andes Society for History and Culture. When I asked him if he was lonely, living alone in such a remote location, he smiled and said, “I don’t feel alone. I’m connected to the whole world.”

If you meet Dan, or communicate with him via E-Mail, you can’t help but be impressed with his courage and positive outlook. He’s a fascinating guy. ~


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