For reasons that don’t really matter, I’ve made very few good friends here in San Diego. Ronnie is an exception. What started out as a simple masseur/client relationship slowly built into one of those special friendships you find now and then if you’re very, very fortunate. Despite backgrounds that were about as different as night and day, Ronnie and I connected. There has been no subject that we couldn’t talk about. Since we met about three years ago, it’s been a rare day when we haven’t traded messages up and back usually with some little joke attached.
This afternoon I received a call from Ronnie’s ex. Ronnie suffered an embolism on Sunday which took his life today.
Ronnie leaves behind children and grandchildren, all of whom I believe loved their big gay dad. They were special lights in his life with whom he shared the bright, bright light in his soul.
Ronnie had another passion in his life, and that was music. He was a remarkably talented guitarist, had a decent singing voice, and wrote most of his own songs. Ronnie wrote from his heart. If Ronnie felt something, it went into his music. The funny thing is that Ronnie was partially deaf and could barely hear without his aid. He was never going to be a great singer. His compositions were never going to top the charts. But he loved making music and sharing it with those in his life. And that’s all that matters.
I saw Ronnie this past Thursday. He had been asked to perform a 30 minute set at a local club and had invited me to come along. The rather poor picture at the top of this post with my phone was taken at that show. One of his daughters, her new boyfriend, and I formed Ronnie’s cheering section. He barely needed it. As he seemed to do wherever he performed, he charmed his audience with his humor and his warmth. After the show, he gave away a few copies of his latest CD to those who showed a particular interest. Ronnie did such things without thought for remuneration. It was just something he did.
We went out for a quick snack afterwards, toasted his performance, and shared his joy at having been scheduled for a return engagement in a couple of weeks. Ronnie was floating on air and I knew it. He walked me back to my car and we hugged and I repeated the farewell I always used with Ronnie, “I love ya, big guy”. As he walked away, he waved and smiled. It was a very special evening for us both.
And now Ronnie’s gone. In 50 some odd years, the man did a lot and has left a very special legacy. I feel honored to have known him and to have called him friend. My heart is aching tonight.
I love ya, big guy.