Friday, April 1, 2011

RONNIE THE DREAMER

Ron was one of my best friends from junior high on until today and on into the future.  His dad was in the Air Force and eventually was stationed at the local Air Force base just south of town.  Ronnie had grown up moving from place to place as the military saw fit and so in order to survive he had developed a sense of self that surpassed me by several years.

He was confident in himself and had high self esteem.  He felt like he could do anything if he set his mind to it and this proved out several times over the years.  Ronnie was my dreamer.  He would talk about the future and things he was going to do with his life.  Some of his dreams seemed way out there but if you knew Ronnie you also knew that nothing was outside his reach to achieve his goals.  He was a very focused young man.

Ronnie cared about his appearance more than any of my other friends.  He worked out with weights on a daily basis in his bedroom while I read the latest issue of National Lampoon or Rolling Stone Magazine.  All that weight lifting paid off as he grew older.  Although basketball wasn't his game, he was very athletic.  He ran Cross Country for the school and tried out for the football team.  Ronnie was one person I would not want to get into a fight with.  He was just a little shorter than I was but his physic spelled disaster if anyone got in his way, which didn't happen very often.

He was a very level headed person and did not lose his temper too much except at his little brothers and even then it wasn't like he was out of control.  During the summer when we were out of school and his mom and dad worked Ronnie and his little brother Rick would take turns babysitting the littlest of the brothers, Duane.  Monday would find me and Ronnie hanging around the house listening to records and having pretty deep discussions for kids our age at that time.  Tuesday would find Rick stuck at the house while Ronnie and I were free to do what we wanted.  We would ride our bikes or take walks or go up to the Steely's house where the sisters that lived there were very good looking and very intelligent.  They were fun to talk with and to flirt with.

These times during the summer when I wasn't at the ball fields playing baseball which was a summer requirement for me, gave Ronnie and I a lot of time to learn and discuss things about life.  The arts really fascinated us.  Music was the big thing we loved and we would listen and expand our musical horizons together.  In those days the album covers were work of arts in and of themselves and we use to love to study and talk about the covers.

It is kind of difficult to really put down a good overall description of Ron.  He was so many things that were head and shoulders above the rest of us in that age group.  He always stood erect and tall with a straight back that added to his good looks.  His mind was always running somewhere, much like mine and it wa important to talk these things out or to do experiments on what we were thinking.  He had red hair that he always kept at a steady length above the ears never letting it grow out as I had done with mine.

He was the most respectful person I have ever known to the adults in our lives.  I think I learned a lot about how to treat people with respect from Ronnie.  He seldom put anybody down and I can't remember him ever being intentionally mean to anyone.  Sometimes it would seem that he was just too nice which would irritate me at times.  We went to a party at one of Barb's friends one evening.  I had just bought that fabulous fourth album by Led Zeppelin.  I put the record on the stereo and "Rock and Roll" started playing.  It lasted about a minute before the Led Zeppelin suddenly went quiet and we heard the voice of Karen Carpenter start to sing about Rainy Days and Mondays.  For my part I was livid.  How dare anyone take off Led Zeppelin for the Carpenters.  Ronnie calmed me down and said it's just music, we can listen to it later.  He was right of course and we did.

When Ron joined the army we kind of lost track of one another.  It wasn't until he asked me to be his best man when he decided to get married that we got in touch again.  The wedding was in Shreveport Louisiana and was a beautiful affair.  Ron looked very handsome as he got married to Janet and began a long life with her.  I don't think any of my friends were as much in love as Ron was on his wedding day.  Janet was the best thing that ever walked the face of the earth.  They are a good match and are still together.

Ron went on to continue to dream and then work to fulfill those dreams of his.  I have never known anyone who knew more precisely where they were headed in life than Ron.  Everything was part of a plan and the plan grew as he got older. 

We drifted apart again after his wedding and that should have never happened.  I think it is mostly my fault for not keeping in touch.  I am not good at keeping in touch with people at all and I have lost some friendships over the years because of that flaw in me.  A few years back Ron began to get int ouch with me and I have done my best to return the favor.  He was a good friend for many years and still is.  He cares about my wife and my family.  He always remembers my birthday, our anniversary, things that you just wouldn't expect someone to be able to remember.  Then again he is Ron and that means he is smart.

It is difficult to write about Ron as you can probably tell if you have made it this far.  He is such a special person and so different from the ordinary man on the street.  He is mentally strong as well as physically strong.  He has a focus on life that few people could ever hope of having.

He is still keeping in touch with me a lot better than I do with him and I am so glad he does.  He is a big part of my life, bigger than his family or my family knows.  Our talks, our philosophical discussions at an early age helped me grow substantially.

I have had a lot of friends that you have read about on this blog over the last few months.  There is Larry, and Scott, another Scott, a few Mikes among others.  Those friendships are all very special and I would not trade any of them for the world.  Mine and Ron's friendship though was a quiet one that kept a lot of secrets and thinking just between the two of us.  I feel like knowing Ron during those years made me a better person.  I learned to grow up and to focus on a career.  I learned much more from Ron than I could ever begin to even skim here.

I am lucky in having all my friends over the years.  I am very lucky to have had Ron as a friend.

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