I’m not sure I can do this.
I’m not sure I want to.
Putting words to these thoughts & emotions & mental processes seems limiting & endless at the same time. But I think it’s time…
I lost someone two days ago. He was a mentor, a second dad, a friend. He was all of those things & a thousand more. He was the reason I chose to do theatre professionally. He gave me my first teaching job. He was a living legend who, unlike so many, was appreciated in his hometown…well, home-state anyway. His name is Mr. Ron.
He was a normal-looking guy, about 6’2″ with dark hair & prominent ears. But when he smiled, with that little head shake, he was a hero. He wasn’t perfect…I mean, he was missing a little piece of his middle finger on his right hand because he stuck it in a snowblower. What kind of moron sticks his hand in a SNOWBLOWER?! The best kind. His name is Mr. Ron.
I always thought I’d grow out of calling him Mr. Ron, but I never seemed to be able to. First of all, my mother would have written me out of the will, but secondly, when you’re little & you learn someone’s name, it’s hard to learn it another way. And he told me one day, that really, he kinda liked that I kept calling him that. You see, his name is Mr. Ron.
He had a whole history before he ever stepped into mine, but for me, it started when I was 9. I was enrolled in the Springer Theatre Academy summer camp against my will & I was doing my best to avoid eye contact with every human I encountered that first day. I was walking out of the Saloon, down the big ramp by the green room, when my ground-gazing eyes stopped on these giant tennis shoes. I looked up & he said, “Hi!” & waved with just one hand, fingers closed. I’m sure there was other conversation in there about how my first day was going & if I liked “chicken thangs,” but mostly I just remember not being able to believe that the big guy who ran everything had noticed me. And for the next 17 years, he just kept noticing me. His name is Mr. Ron.
I could keep writing. I could try to pen a tribute that fits him, but I know I will never be able to & that, in & of itself, is a testament to his magnitude in my life.
So, instead, I will just do what 12-year-old Caroline learned from Mr. Ron:
Do my job well & treat people nicely.
I love you, Mr. Ron.