Back in the carefree days of my youth, I bought a little bright blue Pinto station wagon. I loved that car. It had shiny spoke wheels and was just cute as a bug. It was a great party car, too, because of the extra space in the back for coolers and whatever you may need. Shortly after I bought it, my best friend Tracie, Ron, Tyra and I decided to load some beer in a cooler and take a drive through the country. Yeah, we shouldn't have been drinking and driving, but this was small town Kentucky on a Saturday afternoon and it was just what we did. We were tooling around somewhere out towards Morgantown and the need to pee was getting urgent. We found a little country church with his and hers outhouses and I pulled in the drive. Now rather than park in the lot and walk to the modest facilities, I thought I would be cool and drive down in the little ravine where they sat. After we took care of business, we quickly discovered that the ground was soft there and we were stuck. Really stuck. Pushing did nothing. We were screwed. This was long before cell phones and we were in the sticks on a little road with virtually no traffic.
After about an hour of waiting for someone to come by that we could flag down, Ron decided that he was going to walk back to town to get help. Our hero! We watched him trek down the country road until he was out of sight hoping he would be back sooner than later with help to get us out. I always had a blanket in the back, so Tracie, Tyra and I spread it on the ground, popped some beers and made a meal of some Cheez Whiz. We chatted away, not overly concerned about being rescued, because Ron was on the job. After a bit some young guys on a tractor came up the road. They saw us from the road and quickly assessed our situation. They had a chain and in no time had the blue Pinto party wagon back on solid ground. After paying them with a couple of beers, we loaded back in the car and went down the road hoping to catch up to Ron.
We made it back to town without coming across him which did concern us a bit, but not so much that we skipped turning into Burger King for some real food before we continued our search for him. Cheez Whiz wasn't tiding us over. We ordered at the drive through window then drove around the back of the building towards the pick up window. Standing in front of the window in the drive through lane was our hero, Ron! Seems he needed some sustenance before having us rescued, too! I will never forget the look on his face when he realized we were behind him while he was walking through the drive through. It is one of my fondest memories of carefree youth when nothing much mattered beyond having a good time.
Tyra died a few years back. It made me sad to know that she wasn't in the world anymore, although we had not really been in touch for awhile. I kept up with her through another friend who did talk with her often. I was bothered that one of my "group" had passed. Seemed like we were too young for that. This morning I found out that Ron died a few days ago from a heart attack. I am heartbroken. Ron and I had reconnected a couple of years ago and just last night I was texting him to come out and have a drink with me because I was in BG visiting with Sonja. I had no idea that he was gone. The fact that two of the four of us that shared the fun of that Saturday afternoon are dead has really rocked me today. I realize I am getting to that age where things happen to people, but it is so hard to accept. I'm also so very heartbroken for Tracie who has lost probably the three most important people in her life in the last couple of years. How much weight does she have to bear? I feel so helpless.
We will go on, those of us who knew and loved Ron Fuller. That is what we do after all. Go on. Today I am replaying many memories of Ron and weeping and laughing as I remember. Thanks Ron, for telling me to put lipstick on my whole mouth because I apparently was missing the edges of my lips. Thanks Ron for not laughing at me because I attempted to fry a pot pie because the munchies did not allow for the baking time. Thanks Ron for the chats over the last couple of years and for helping me past some self esteem issues that I was having. Rest in peace, and know you will always live in my heart.