By now many of you have heard the news that our longtime correspondent Ron Flewelling passed away last Thursday.
It has always been a policy of mine not to write tributes about members of our community who have died due to the fact that I don't want to rate someone's life on who is important enough to write about and who is not. They are all important and I just leave it at that. However, in the case of our dear Ron, I'm breaking my rule.
I've met many people during my time on this Earth and not too many measured up to Ron. He had a love of writing that not just inspired me but left me flabbergasted.
His stories were filled with humor, wit, and I might add, really, really big words that I've never imagined existed. But Ron did. I would read his articles and come across a word and say to myself, "come on, that's not a real word."
I would then grab my dictionary and by golly there it would be, as big as life, and further more I could hear Ron's voice in my head laughing at me.
"I got you," it would say, and then keep laughing.
Ron often reminded me of an uncle that we all have. You know that type of uncle, the one who has been around the block a few times and gets a kick out pulling your leg just because you're a young whippersnapper.
That same type of feeling I felt in his writing, especially in his Backroads columns. That column was Ron's ultimate playground. He would tell tall tales with a unique blend of good old boy flavor with a matter of fact goodness.
His characters were as unique as the man. Most were based from his real life experiences, but from the point of view from his characters and with a whole lot of color added.
In fact, he told me many times that folks would come up to him, sometime a little heated, and tell him that they didn't appreciate that he was talking about them in his stories. That wasn't the case at all.
You see, Ron had the ability to tap into that part that each of us have, that part that from time to time, that would do something foolish or down rite stupid. When he applied that to his characters, and since we've all done stupid things, people would naturally think he was writing about them.
Ron got the biggest kick out of that. However, as many people who would complain to Ron, there were always many more people laughing out loud at his stories.
That is a great gift to have and a great gift to give. Ron was all about giving gifts. He would always be bringing gifts to us here at the Chronicle Times, be it a stuffed animal or some little figurine that he would find at a garage sale. Once he found out that you collected something, he would find that something and bring that to you.
Ron and I shared a love of movies and TV shows. I will miss him bringing in an old movie for me to watch. But I'll miss our conversations about those movies even more. We didn't always agree on what made a movie good and we would get into fights sometime, just like Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Ron really liked to tease people and boy did I like to tease him. In the end however, it was a joy to see how passionate he would get about those movies that he loved.
What I'll miss most about Ron will be his encouragement. He was the first person to call me when I have taken a good photo or wrote something that didn't hold back any punches.
He didn't just do that for me but he would show encouragement to anyone he thought did a good job.
Again...what a great gift to give to people.