April 04, 2004

Ali Heine

My dear Sophie,

I read your note today and I thought it was time that I began to write...my first memory of Ray was, of course, at the boxing gym with you and Marian. I was traveling on business in San Francisco and since your gym was near Moscone then you invited me along. It just so happened that I would be able to meet Ray, your crush at the time. I'll never forget walking into the gym and seeing all of the punching bags. People were dodging back and forth and I was so curious to meet him. You finally pointed him out and Marian and I giggled like school girls. The best part about that day was seeing how your eyes lit up when you looked at him, and in turn, the way he looked at you. I knew there was definitely something special between the two of you.

Flash forward to my wedding with Dan. I was so pleased to see you and Ray and to have you celebrate with us. Yes, I definitely took my mom's advice and laughed and drank and danced all night. One of my favorite pictures is out on the balcony with Sean and Ray with Sean's cigar in my mouth (just for the picture, of course!) It's strange how a photograph can be just like the others in a photo album and the next day it becomes so special because of the people in it. That statement sounds so obvious, so dumb...but I find myself searching and searching for more pictures of Ray. The memories are there and I want to have them all solidified on a Kodak print. 
Do you remember Dan's 30th birthday party when we all went to the Exploratorium when Rose was just born? I'll never forget Ray holding Rose in the sling for hours and hours. She was cuddled up next to her daddy's chest. So peaceful, so calm, so content. At one point during the day Ray handed Rose over to Dan and he put the sling around himself. Rose played along and it was one of the first glimpses for me to see how Dan would do as a daddy. Ray reminded me of Dan a lot. Dan described both he and Ray as "listeners", so they didn't share too much conversation, but they shared many wonderful moments together at UDOGS.
I think my favorite memory of you and Ray has to be on your wedding day. I have never seen you look so beautiful and the love was flowing that day. Obviously by the measure of notes in your house, the love only flowed more abundantly as the years flew by.
I have made a promise to myself to tell Rose about her daddy whenever I get the chance. She will know of his calm demeanor, his bright smile, the low, reassuring tone of his voice. I want to say that I wish I had taken the time to know Ray better, but instead, I will say that I am honored to have known him.
I love you, Sophie and Rose.
(first cousin to Sophie)