If you can't watch this sweet and extremely cool video from AARP's rad new studio right now, it's OK — we have some highlights for you below to tide you over until you can.

Ricky was tired of doing skilled labor work. He decided to focus on what he loves to do, which is creating magic with marionettes.


The first week he was out in the park bringing his show to the public, he met Doris. She's a retired columnist, and she later came back and brought him some of her articles she thought he'd like.

DORIS: "So the next time he saw me, he said 'Oh, I have something for you.' I sat down next to him, and he pulled out the little Doris puppet."

Yes, you read that right. He made her a puppet. That looked like her. Just because.

RICKY: "I decided to make a marionette of her, as to wow her, like 'Oh alright, you want to be nice to me, well here we go.'"

He makes his puppets himself, out of things like wood, eyelets, rubber hose, and Glade air freshener covers.

As they unveiled their new act as a duo, Doris got pretty popular.

RICKY: "People would come by and take pictures of her with the puppet, and she just felt like a queen. And her friends are telling me 'Since this puppet, man, you know it's like she's getting younger!'"

And Ricky's career began to take off. In the way that a humble street puppeteer's career can.

RICKY: "And I went from having to play gigs and pour concrete and all that to I'm doing this and people are putting money in my hat and people feel like this. I was just overwhelmed. All these years I had been a laborer trying to be an artist or a steelworker trying to be an artist, but I was an artist trying to be all those other things. So that's who I really am."


This is just too wonderful not to share, and if you can check out the video, it's fascinating to see Ricky explain his process for creating characters with the marionettes.

Cheers to precious friendships and to finding a way to do the things our souls long to do.

For some people, every day is Independence Day. For Janis Shinwari, this will be his first 4th of July as an American citizen. And boy, he earned it.

"If I was in Afghanistan—if I didn't come here, I wouldn't be alive now. I would be dead." Shinwari told CNN Heroes in 2018. Shinwari risked his life for nine years serving as a translator for U.S. forces in his native country of Afghanistan. He risked his life everyday knowing that should he be caught by the Taliban, the consequences would be severe. "If the Taliban catch you, they will torture you in front of your kids and families and make a film of you." Shinwari said. "Then [they'll] send it to other translators as a warning message to stop working with the American forces."

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