My Longest and Best Journey

Dear Ray,

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Raymond Jon Reynolds May 24, 1946 – November 2, 2009

It’s November 2, 2014. Of course you probably know this, maybe you don’t care. But I do. You’ve been gone, where ever you are, five years today. I’ve been meaning to thank you for not putting me through a long and protracted illness and then leaving me. But, come on, the suddenness freaked me out. Did you learn that in college getting your undergrad degree in Drama and TV? If so, well done! Beautifully played! Bravo! I suppose the exit is just as important as the entrance. I’d never really thought about it until now.

I appreciate your appearances in my dreams and such recently. There have been times when I hear a laugh in a restaurant or I hear what I think is “NM” that sounds so much like your voice that I drop my fork. My friends, what few I have without you, just think I’m clumsy. Speaking of dreams, why’d you take so long to show up? And that one, where you know you did…you know, was the best! It made me feel like (ahem) a teenager again. You can come any time in my dreams!

Since you’ve been gone I’ve let a couple things slip. For the longest time I really didn’t have the energy to take care of myself. Yes, I’ve had a long bout of depression, there were many times I just simply didn’t care. I’ve started to feel better recently and I’m happy to report that I never once resorted to “Big Pharma” to achieve what you always called a “designer personality.

I sold the house on Beverly Drive. I realize we sat out there, on the back deck, through gallons of daydreaming, thankful for our lot to be in such a beautiful place. But once you left I just seemed to rattle around there in four bedrooms and three bathrooms only using about 1/10 of it. The pool became a pain in the ass. I didn’t sell it right away. I leased it out for two years first. The tenants were French and artistic. You’d have loved them.

Remember how my job at Microsoft used to totally consume me? Well, once you left I just sort of lost interest and paused to think about what I was really doing with my life. Out on the deck we talk, ad nauseum about having money, travelling the world, and maybe making some sort of difference. I did quit though, one year after you left. A month later, on my birthday, I embarked on our dream trip. Making a difference, in our names, is a work in progress.


The only selfie that I’m aware of. He took this the day before he died.

We went totally around the world Ray! Sometimes your visa status, not to mention the state you were in raised some eyebrows. But I took you back to Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand. We also went to Cambodia, Viet Nam, India, Turkey, France, and The Netherlands. In London, The Tower was especially poignant to me since I have a wonder photo of you there, our first trip abroad. We were both quite young. I ended that trip with Mike and Ann in Sicily. You’re in the flower bed out front of your Nana’s childhood home…Katarina and Josepina’s house in Randazzo and also in Linguaglossa at the base of a WWII monument with both your Nana and Nanu’s surnames.

Since then I’ve also taken you to Murchison Falls on the Nile in Uganda, The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Erg Chebbi in Morocco, Costa Rica, and Panama. I had you churned into the mortar of the foundation of this little cabin I’ve built in Kentucky. I call it Hollyweed. I know that makes you chuckle. It’s so gorgeous there. Visit anytime.

Friends have been scarce you since you left. There are the stalwarts: Jill, Joan, and John, and now that I’ve moved to Palm Springs, Donna. Jill is always there! Joan is my best travel buddy, and John at least calls sometimes. Oh, and Luis Marquez is sweet too. Allison Maxwell also seems to like me even though you’ve left the scene. Ray, it’s sad that some have abandoned me since you could no longer do anything for them. That’s life, and death too, I suppose.


Remember dancing to Sylvester and Two Tons of Fun in Atlanta and Mary’s admonition of poppers at Infinity in Miamisburg? It went something like this: “There will be no poppers on my dance floor.”   I’ve never snorted poppers harder in my life than when she announced that. I don’t think I’ve snorted them since. That was around 1982.

So here we are today, November 2nd. I’ve moved to Palm Springs and I’ve bought a place. I think you’d like it, and I’m going through a renovation much like the one on Beverly Drive, albeit on a smaller scale. It’s 11/2, and I’ll never, ever forget that day. Remember when we used to listen to this?   And we’d thought we’d conquered the world? A= I still think perhaps we might. You wouldn’t believe what’s happened on the “gay marriage” front since you left. It’s been mind-bending. You’re leaving me as a “domestic partner” in California made the process of your passing SO much easier. Thank you Republic of California.

Ray, this has been a long five years. Some days I still miss you so much that I don’t think I’ll be able to cope. The tears still flow and I know that I’ve got to stop that. But, I hope you don’t mind, I’m getting better. The move to Palm Springs seems to be helping a lot. I’ll never feel young, liberated, and free again…to that I’m resigned. But I do seem to be, finally, finding some semblance of peace that I know in my heart you’d never begrudge me. But I still think of you, love you, miss you, long for you everyday.

Don’t ever come back here.   It’s awful, not at all as you’d expect it. I’m no longer pretty enough to demand attention even though that might shock you. So I’ve resorted to my wits. You’d approve of that though I think… You taught me how to do that.




11 thoughts on “My Longest and Best Journey

  1. Randy! The welcome mat is out in Portland. We’ll take a weekend hike, have dinner with the family, drink good coffee. You can poke around a zillion nice places while I’m at work. Sending you a hug.

  2. Beautifully written Randy. Ray was one lucky man! Dream on!
    Big hugs my Appalachian friend…that’s one great cabin story….

  3. Oh Randy,

    This was so moving, so beautiful and so personal but I thank you for sharing it with us.

    It has been a long journey for you and I now realize at times a very trying one but Ray would be ( may I say is) so proud as I believe he has tried to tell you on occasion. I feel he will always be by your side, your forever angel, watching over you, encouraging and cheering you on. You know he would want you to continue on as you have and continue the next part of your journey which from where I’m sitting is off to a great start and definitely very promising.

    Here’s to your move, your new home and to new adventures…

    I thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart with us as you know I encourage your writing and I might add I am honored that you would include me in your list of friends.

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

  4. ohhh Randy! please stay in touch–i loved Ray. what a bittersweet entry. so glad to refind you! we’re 4 hours away and would love to see you up here in Santa Barbara wine country–Los Olivos! plus, i get to Palm Springs a couple times a year. XO big hugs and love.

  5. Oops–it’s Theo Stephan–i’ve never gotten my bootblogger blog rolling & that’s what it calls me! anway, yes! Los Olivos. Please visit; how about coming up for Thanksgiving? Both of my daughters will be here. email me for contact info, ? : )

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