Saturday, we attended a wonderful birthday party for my buddy, Ron. His daughter, and MJ and my niece, Tara had provided a wonderful setting at a winery in Carlyle, Illinois. There was terrific food and all the wine that you desired, and a tangible feeling of love for the patriarch of our family! You see Ron is my brother-in-law…but he seems like my brother! I met Ron over 42 years ago…and we were both bit younger. Throughout the years we reglary enjoyed holidays and special occasions together, but it is over the past 10 years that we have really gotten to know each other. I recall my first thought the first time that I met him…’I like this guy!’
As I sat next to Ron Saturday I reminisced as to our many adventures. One of the first things that I learned about my friend is that he has a young heart! He not only knows how to have a good time…but he knows how to inspire those that he is with to have a good time too. Our first trip together was to Jamaica…and he talked me into climbing Dunns River Falls. I thought that I was old at the time…and I was 10 years younger than I am now! Ron is a little older than I. He scurried up the falls with the fleet footedness of a mountain gazelle…while I left my finger prints in every stone that I grasped for dear life as I feared that the end was near!
Our family has been graciously invited to Destin, Florida by Ron and Ira Kaye on numerous occasions. We have wiled away the hours watching the ocean and walking on the beach…and enjoying the bounty of the cooler. Ron and I have a tradition of enjoying an afternoon at the Wine and Cheese shop in Watercolor, Florida while Ira Kaye and MJ shop at the quaint stores that are within walking distance. We have solved the world’s problems on several visits…with the assistance of additional wine!
Ron is an exceedingly kind man who fiercely loves his family. I have never been with him that he did not speak of his daughter and grandchildren and his son-in-law, Mike, in the most glowing and heartfelt terms. He is one of the most skilled people that I have ever known. He has built houses and wired them and he is a wealth of knowledge! At times he and I have somewhat different political beliefs…but he always speaks to me with the utmost of respect and deference to my feelings.
My sons, Aaron and Jonathon, love their uncle Ron! When they hear that there is an opportunity of visit with him…their eyes sparkle! I have always been older than my years…and Ron has taught me to look on the bright side of life! Whether I have been staying with him in Destin…or attending a fish fry and homemade ice cream social at the lake of Centralia…he has consistently been more concerned about everyone else happiness and well being.
Mary Jane loves her brother…I noticed once in a supermarket in Destin that they seemed to speak a language with each other that both understood… and the rest of us watched with curiosity as to the translation.
Ron’s face was alive with delight and his smile and laugh were prevalent during the festivities on Saturday…and we were blessed to be a part of it!
Note: The photo of Ron and Mary Jane is courtesy of our great niece, Paige Fleeman.