My Friend Rudy

It seems I have entered the demographic where people you know start to die. This is not a good thing, but it is a wake-up call to remind us that life is far too short. My friend Rudy died suddenly this week at the age of early 60 something. In Rudy’s case, suddenly was the last way in which most of us would have thought he would exit this world, having triumphed through no end of potentially life-limiting situations including cancer, a heart attack, and most recently a nearly lethal run-in between bicycle and truck that resulted in multiple injuries that would have gotten the best of most of us. Here is my personal eulogy for Rudy.

• Rudy was one of those early boomers that we late boomers look upon with extreme admiration. He was old enough to have been at Woodstock (although I have no evidence that he was, and probably even if he was, neither did he) He invented long hair. He never lost his extreme appreciation for Jimi Hendrix.

• Rudy knew how to reinvent himself. When his corporate career went south, he spent many years at culinary school and developed considerably adept cooking skills. Nothing gave him more pleasure that to roll out an exquisite three or four course dinner party meal with wines to match. And nothing gave me more pleasure than our annual choucroute garni cook off. Rudy, I will be making my own sauerkraut soon in your honour.

• Rudy did not let moss grow on his bicycle cleats. How many of you have cycled across Canada lately? Or done the hilly bits of the Tour de France? Or cycled from Toronto to North Carolina with a cranky tandem partner on the back end of the bike? I thought not. I never did get the chance to ask him what he thought about the Lance Armstrong ‘confession’. I will forever be regretful for that missed opportunity.

• Rudy kept a fine garden. A miniscule downtown garden, but a well tended one and the source of the many fresh herbs that graced his incredibly graceful table. He grew much better hydrangeas that I have ever been able to even though I have more semblance of soil. But maybe that’s because he actually watered them.

• Rudy was a big fan of re-purposing. I’m glad we were able to host him once at our cottage that was kitted out with the kitchen cabinets that were the casualty of his ambitious renovation. Unfortunately they eventually succumbed to the cottage fire, but they gave us many years of function over form. We still have a skylight, which was also a reno castoff, languishing on top of our garage just waiting to migrate north to cast some light within a shed or sauna. When we do finally install it, we will look up to the stars and think of you.

To my dear friend Dorothy, Rudy’s long time companion, I know you are trying to comprehend how to function on a tandem bicycle with only one rider. I have no answer for that.

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