Randy

November 19, 2015  by RJMS  •  Friends

To sum up Randy is easy for me: he is the most generous man I have ever known.

Example 1: A few days ago, at the age of 58, he and his wife Fabiana adopted a 2 year old named Noah, who was a ward of social services in Tennessee. Randy has two daughters by a previous marriage, and they are now in their twenties. More about them later, suffice it to say I consider both of them to be extremely well adjusted human beings. Fabiana and Randy were married 12 years ago. About 6 years ago they decided to put their hats in the ring as foster parents. They have had custody since that time of 3 babies, 2 of which ended up back with their birth parents. Noah is the 3rd and they have had him since soon after he was born.

This is just the latest in a very long line of generous things the man has done. I of course have been on the receiving end of it myself. He and I have been friends since 1976, which is why he is the lead off in this series of posts. That makes him my 2nd oldest continuous friend (Marda Kirn being #1). Above is a picture of us and a few other folks, from 1978, when we headed the production team that built the stage and provided the lighting and sound for the Rabbit Junction Dulcimer Festival in Boulder, CO. It was organized by Bonnie Carol, who is in fact my 3rd oldest continuous friend, as we met when she called me to see if I would work on her festival.

Example 2: I call it my $10,000 summer. It was a few years ago, summer of 2009. I was on my annual cross country motorcycle trip. Just south of Ottawa, Quebec I aborted a trip to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, due to 3 days of hard rain that threatened to accompany me all the way there. I was in rural West Virginia, on my way to Nashville, about 20 miles east of the Ohio river town of Ravenswood. It was a beautiful sunny July day, about 1pm, when my BMW motorcycle had a sudden, catastrophic electrical failure. I was rescued by some good Samaritan bikers and taken in their pick-up truck into town for repairs, which turned out to be impossible without special parts, and I was forced to have the bike put on a trailer and towed to Athens, Ohio.

Randy and I had been intending to spend a week or so riding together around Tennessee and possibly into the Smokies.
Instead he and Fabiana drove up to Cincinnati, Ohio and met me at the home of Randy’s best friend, Steve, and his wife Ginger. Steve had driven to Athens to rescue me. I had found out it was going to take a week or so to fly in the new $2500 wiring harness from Germany so we decided to salvage the time window of Randy’s time off and spend it in Cincinnati. When the part arrived at the dealer’s shop in Athens Randy and Fabiana drove me back and over to Athens. He and I spend next couple of days we reassembling the bike which I had stripped down to the frame while waiting for Steve to arrive. When we finished, it ran but not real well. We decided to take it Nashville, and they followed me down to their home, where I spent a day tweaking various things to try to get it to run better. During this entire time, Randy and Fabiana were right there with me, staying in the motel, sharing meals, working on the bike. After a couple of days it was still running way to rich. Randy and Fabiana had work to start on now, so I decided to take the chance and make the run back to Colorado where I could work on it at my leisure at home, which I did in 2 long days.

Example 3: It was 1980. I was still very much an amateur production guy. I was at the beginning of my career, and though I had by then done quite a few shows in quite a few venues, I was still very much learning about backstage doings. I did have a reputation of being reliable and concientious, and I was pretty good at seeming to be confident regardless of the situation. Randy had returned to his hometown of Nashville after spending a couple of years in Colorado, where we had done several shows together, so he knew me pretty well by then. He called me up and asked me to take a show on the road that was being produced and directed by a long time friend of his, and which he could not do.  It was going go out in January and was a car and van (like a bus and truck but smaller). He needed an LD/Stage Manager, and a sound tech.

It was an original musical review with 6 or 7 black singer/dancers doing songs from Porgy and Bess and the Wiz and a few other crowd pleasers. It had a small set, a sound system, and a tiny lighting rig. Mostly we would be playing local arts centers and college campus venues, ranging in size from 2000 to 200 seats, and from Florida to Northern California, with stops in the upper Mid-West, for about 2 months. I called up a friend who I knew could engineer sound, we flew to Nashville, and after seeing one rehearsal we hit the road.

It was only my second tour. I stumbled thru it, designing lights and drawing plots while driving to the next gig, calling cues and spotlights to local crews. Pete was great, really knew his shit. I was really learning fast. We would typically leave the motel early in the a.m and drive all day (and twice all night after the show) to get to the hall in time to set up everything, which usually meant a mid-afternoon load-in, leaving only a few hours to get it ready for an evening show. Doug the producer was driving one of the cars with the talent in it and an actor drove a second one. They would usually roll in around 6, do a sound check, and then we would perform.

Towards the end of the tour Doug let it be known that he was flying Randy out to join us for the last few dates, but failed to say why he was coming. I thought it strange, and decided that he was coming because Doug wanted him to assess my work, and perhaps even have Randy take my place for the last few dates. It was obvious by then that I was struggling with the whole thing. Randy came and watched, and apparently gave me an ok review. He never spoke to me about it, so I still don’t know why he flew out to join us. Perhaps one day I will ask.

Who he is. Calm, assured, intelligent, and very, very kind. Anytime I have needed a favor he practically jumps out of his seat to help out, and never, ever with even a hint of anything save pure, fine, altruistic demeanor. And he does that with everyone who crosses his path. Everyone. A true friend.

 

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