So it’s been one year today. One year since the world became a little less bright.
A few weeks ago, we were finally back in the theatre for a few hours to do some repair work, and you just walk in the door and you expect to see him there, smiling, behind the counter.
Straightening out cans of soda and bottles of beer.
Arranging candy bars on a little silver tray.
Checking to make sure all the little details, all the housekeeping stuff was taken care of, so that we could worry about the big stuff: The audience. The performance.
His kids, he called us. “I love my kids,” he’d tell people. And he always meant it.
He was as kind, as generous, as giving a person that you’d ever want to meet. He was trusting to a fault. Over the last 10 years or so, a few people tried to take advantage of that. All they really succeeded in doing was making him mad, and strengthening his resolve.
“I want this place to go on after I am gone,“ he used to tell me.
We just never thought it would be so soon.
When some incredibly unscrupulous people, two people he trusted who, as we now know, have ZERO honor in their lives or in anything they do, tried to torpedo him, tried to ruin him, and a small group of us came together and pulled off a miracle, as the audience was leaving that performance at 2 in the morning, he just stood there and smiled. He was so proud. And happy.
And when we took that same show, and performed it to close out the state theatre conference that year, he sat in the audience and BEAMED. As the audience laughed and cheered and clapped and shouted unspeakable obscenities with us, he sat there and took it all in. We were back. He was so happy and proud of “his kids.”
And we were proud to BE his kids.
So you walk in the door, and it just feels like, it just smells like home. Everything is comfortable, and familiar. This is a place where you can express yourself. Where you can be yourself, or, if you prefer, be someone else. You climb the stairs, and there it sits, silent. Waiting.
An empty stage. A blank canvas.
His gift to us, his kids.
It’s just that now something is missing.
Thanks, Uncle Fred. We miss you.