This is a photo of my good friend, Robin Rakes. This is how I want to remember him, now that he’s gone. If there was ever a person who embodied all the wonders of the universe, it was Robin. From the wiffle ball he’s holding to the cosmic cloud he painted on the wall, Robin’s world was the universe and every amazing thing about it was his to explore.
We went to high school together but we didn’t meet till I was in college. The day we met was a moment that will always be special for me. He struck me as kind of arrogant but in a comical way, as if he knew everything but he was willing to let me in on his secrets if I passed his test of friendship. As long as I had a well developed sense of humor and a capacity to laugh at his absurd statements, we would get along fine and we always did.
Robin was a fountain of information and opinions and he flooded my life with ideas and jokes about every subject from art to music to sports to food and he was ever the cynic when it came to humanity. Fools were not tolerated and friends were held to the highest expectation of friendship. Friendship, for Robin, was an Olympic sport and he always went out of his way to make sure those of us in his circle were enthralled, not just entertained.
I’m still not sure what I brought to his life in return. I had no artistic skills at all, my musical tastes were ordinary and I wasn’t epicurios. Maybe he recognized my willingness to learn from the master and took pity on me as a poor lost suburban kid who needed a pilot to take him to the stars. I went along for the ride because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He taught me things I will always have with me to remember him by, like classical music and art and not just the beauty of it but the finer points that make it even more amazing.
It was in the minutia of life that Robin found his happiness. The tiniest details made him giddy with excitement and eager to share his revelations with others. He looked for ways to enrich every experience for others and to spread the wisdom he gleaned from each new discovery. I once drove 15 hours from Houston to KC just to get there in time for a party he said would be great and he wasn’t lying. I didn’t sleep for 24 hours but it was worth it.
Robin had a knack for creativity and problem solving that was amazing. At his funeral, someone told a story about how Robin figured out a way to bake an old audio tape of the 1969 KC Chiefs Super Bowl to restore it to its original quality. I came home thinking about this blog and how I could honor his memory. I remembered that I had this old photo of him on a 35mm slide but I had no way to scan it for this post. It took me the better part of an hour but I finally managed to use a little slide viewer to light it from behind and then I used my digital camera in macro mode to shoot it. I did some quick retouching in Photoshop and it came out pretty good, all things considered. Robin’s life should be an inspiration and all of us who knew him need to find ways to carry on his legacy.
I’m just sorry I didn’t make more of an effort to stay in touch. I didn’t even know he had cancer until I read the obituary. It’s not much but at least I have this photo and the phenomenal memories that it brings back to me. On behalf of Robin and all the other amazing people we have in our lives right now, let me just say this as tactfully as possible. Let’s all get off our butts and tell each other what we really mean to each other. It’s not hard to say, “I love you and you mean a lot to me. Thank you for being my friend.”
Thanks again Robin. You are unforgettable and I’m proud to be your friend.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content