March 02, 2005

Dave White camera.gif

Ray's passing was difficult for me as it was for all of us. I haven't been able to articulate very well all that I've felt. Ray was a very important part of my life, a role model. He truly had the ability to brighten people's days and had a never-ending supply of good cheer. As time goes by, when I think about Ray I feel more happiness than sadness.

I just moved to a new house weekend before last. A mutual friend of mine and Ray's, Chuck Condon, was visiting. Over the last several years Chuck, Ray and I had a tradition we called "dude's night". Once a month or so we got together to play a random board game, sip a few beers and just shoot the bull. Since Ray passed on, Chuck and I have tried to continue this tradition. On this night, we found several photos of Ray in an old box of photos that had turned up in the move. We browsed through them while discussing old times. It made us feel pretty good.

The photos you see here are a couple that we found. These are from my first trip ever to the S.F. Bay Area in 1990. I was lucky enough to have Ray as my host and tour guide. Ray, as you know, was the most thoughtful of hosts. We saw the city, stayed at his dad's place in Lafayette and rode horses. The day I was leaving he said, "Hey, I think the Grateful Dead are playing at Shoreline, we should stop by on our way out." So head to the Grateful Dead we did, casually taking the 40-mile detour to get there, and in Ray O'Neal style we saw a sunset with the quintessential Bay Area backdrop. Another magic moment with Ray, he had a way of making those happen daily.