HAPPY BIRTHDAY RANDY!

My Dad liked all my friends, but some held a special place in his heart.
Like Randy.
To the guys he was “Raisinbrain,” or “Raisin” or “Rais.” Still, more often than not he would just go by “Fool.”
Fact is Randy is no fool. He has just, for some six decades, done some rather outlandish things making him an easy target.
Like calling my mother “Mrs. B”, still, although she became Mrs. L in 1965 and Mrs. T in 1989. Even to her face.

Or the time in the ’70′s when he moved to Oklahoma or some other state Jews don’t go to help a friend build a house.  He was promised half the house, but when construction was completed all he got was a “Thank you.”  So he turned around and returned to Ohio.
One of Randy’s claims to fame was having and being proud of his two pee-holes. On any given day he could stand six feet away from the five adjacent urinals in a Brush High men’s room, and hit the two on the end urinals simultaneously. As if he was two place-kickers kicking off of one tee.
He has no airs about him. Never did. What you see is absolutely what you get. My sense is that this pureness was the reason you could never stay mad at him. Ever.
Like the time back at OSU when he missed the birth of his child. After waiting at the hospital through hours of labor he got itchy and called me to meet him for pizza. I agreed, and with my dad we ate while Hailey was entering this
True to form, when Randy returned to the hospital and found out he’d missed the birth he called again. The three of us reconvened and spent the night/early morning at the Holiday Lanes, an all-night bowling alley off Hamilton Road.
Or better yet, the time he agreed to ride with my dad to New Philadelphia, Ohio to deliver magazines. They decided that while my father was meeting with the elementary school principal Randy’d wait at a drugstore, have a Coke, and read the newspaper. Low and behold when my dad returned to scoop up Randy, he was nowhere to be found.
Fumes came from my father. His lip puffed. Where was Randy? How could he disappear in central Ohio?
An hour or so later my dad and the New Philly police (in a cruiser) found him…..sitting on an orange crate on a side street. Resting.
Happy to see the entourage, Randy exclaimed. “I just had to get away. Ha!.”
I think Randy knew my dad could never stay mad at him. Twenty-some years after my father’s death my phone rings each October 4. It is Randy calling to tell me how he still thinks of my father. His never-ending birthday wishes for “Mr. B.”
Raisin turned sixty this week. Incredible. To think that he is now older than my father ever was.
In reflection though, they shared not only a special bond, but also a special trait: each was and is forever young.

So here’s my birthday wish for Randy:

May the good lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you’re far from home
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you’ll always stay
FOREVER YOUNG,

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