memories

Reading Richard's obit underlines the truth of the expression "youth is wasted on the young", because to me, during some extremely formative years in my life starting in about 1983 or 1984, Richard was simply "Laura's Dad"…and we had no idea at all of how accomplished a person he was!  What were we then, 18?  19?  I shake my head at my younger self.  It's entirely to Richard's credit that my memories of him are always of an affable big bear of a guy who never talked down to the cadre of long-haired misfits that were his daughter's best friends.  He was someone who never lorded over us his very demonstrable intelligence and accomplishment.  As a parent now, I can only imagine the very understandable horror that any reasonable father would experience at sight of so many Grateful Dead patches, customized army jackets, and secretive whispered conversations amongst his daughter's friends.  But Richard was always nice to all of us, always gregarious and outgoing.  It was true of her whole family, in fact.  The house was always open to us.  "Laura's House" was a location of primary importance all throughout our high school days.  I told Laura the other day that of all the many memories I have of times spent at her house in Bethany, one that stands out is a time when Laura, her father, and I went fishing.   I can no longer remember how this day came about, but knowing all involved, it probably stemmed from a conversation between me and Laura in which she revealed how into fishing her Father was, followed by me saying "I would totally go fishing with you guys!", followed by Laura laughing and slowly realizing that I was actually serious, and then her no doubt telling her Father about the weird friend of hers who totally wanted to go fishing.  And Richard then of course probably extended his very genuine offer.  And so I remember meeting Laura and her dad at a lake somewhere, very early for our 18 or 19 year old selves, probably.  I remember the process of getting the boat into the water and, although I had some acquatic/sporting knowledge, it erred decidedly on the "some" end of the spectrum…and I recall neither Laura nor myself being much help in getting underway.  My memory might fail me, but I seem to recall Laura baiting her own hook, but maybe in fact Richard did it for her, uncomplainingly….either way says something great about both of them…and while I can't remember any specific conversation, the memory I have is of a guy who was very happy to be right where he was, and very happy to be with who he was with, and who took great delight in his daughter and in sharing something he loved.  It was unexpectedly fun.  It's not an experience I would have otherwise had.  Laura's Dad passing reminds me of something I hope I will share with my own daughter one day; that she not underestimate the importance of getting to know her friends' parents, and that she should take them up on any offered chances to do things with their families, and to extend the offer for her friends' to do things with our family.  I'll remember to use this story of that one morning from the 1980's.

Jason CiloPresident, Meetinghouse Productions, Inc