We’ve had a wonderful season of travel this year but Neal and I haven’t been quite ourselves on this year’s journey. We’ve stumbled onto many new places and adventures and revisited some old ones but through it all our hearts have been hanging with a constant numbing sadness.
At almost every turn we’d comment “Oh…Shelia & Randy would love this!” or “Remember the time when we rode here with Shelia and Randy.” Sometimes our comments would be with a laugh or a big smile, other times with a sniffle and a tear.
We met Shelia & Randy several years ago while camping in southern Arizona and hit it off right from the start. The two of them together were a sight to behold. Always smiling and laughing, even when they were in a corner alone together. Shelia always trying to keep track of Randy’s forever disappearing phone and sunglasses and Randy always there to hold Shelia’s purse, open her door, and any other gentlemanly thing you can think of. It was obvious they were such great friends and they loved being together.
Randy was often unwittingly the center of attention with his quick wit and personable way. People naturally gravitated towards him. His sincere charm and thoughtfulness were only part of his endearing personality. He was always there with a helping hand or funny comment. As I think of him I smile. He liked gummy bears, ice-cream and cartoons, as well as, fast cars and motorcycles, hunting and a TWO FINGER pour of Jack Daniels.
Even though we live hundreds of miles apart we managed to cram a lifetime of wonderful memories in a short timeframe. We were lucky enough to be able to travel together often through the last few years. Every winter since 2008, minus one or two seasons, we’d figure out a meeting spot and spend the next few months wandering the country side. We’ve traveled together coast to coast, from Tybee Island, Georgia to Oceanside, California.
When the four of us traveled together, between our two rigs, we managed to bring enough toys to impress any big boy romper room. In some fashion, with any combination of toys and ingenious methods, we’d manage to bring the necessities, the Harley and Jeep, and sometimes bikes, golf clubs and quads.
The plan for this year was to meet Shelia & Randy in South Padre Island in southern Texas on the Gulf Coast in January, Friends Bud & Cindy along with Nancy & George also planned on joining us. Tragically those plans changed. Randy was diagnosed with Melanoma over a year ago and the disease progressed rapidly this past fall. We lost Randy just after Christmas.
I’ve learned that you never get over the loss of a loved one. Life on the road this winter was lonely and sad at times without our buddies Shelia and Randy. The realization that we have to rely on our wonderful memories of Randy can be devastating at times, but I always end up smiling or even laughing through my tears thinking of all the fun and love Shelia and Randy have brought into our lives.
Cheers to Randy…We will miss you at every turn my friend. And Cheers to Shelia…we have more turns ahead. We’ll always be here for whatever you need.