Today would have been my brother's 50th birthday.
He died at 42.
He left this earth in a bizarre way. He fell off the back of a moving golf cart in front of his home around 11:30 pm on the night of July 24, 2012. He died the next day when he was removed from life support and his organs were donated.
Randy had a busy day on July 24. He worked all day, then helped move furniture for my mother who was downsizing. Being a guy who burned the candle at both ends, after that very busy day, he helped a neighbor fix his golf cart well into the late night. After Randy fixed it, they took it for a test drive around the cul-de-sac. The full set of details are fuzzy here, and at this point they don't matter. Yes, I'm positive alcohol was involved. With Randy, many fun times involved alcohol. But Randy wasn't driving the cart. No, a friend was driving. He was sitting on the back seat (that faces out the back of the cart) and when they arrived in front of his house he stood up before the cart stopped. He lost his grip, fell on to the pavement and landed on his head.
Gravity is not always kind to even the strongest among us.
As the years go by, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way. Randy touched a lot of lives. I didn't realize just how many until the day of his funeral. It was standing room only. I can honestly say in my 58 years I don't think I have even known as many folks as were in the sanctuary on that July day. The place was packed. The memorial was perfect for Randy. We sent him off with Jason Aldean singing, "My Big Green Tractor" and Toby Keith singing, "Red Solo Cup". And yes, there was a toast at an after party in the parking lot after the memorial party.
"Cause there ain't no party like the pre-party and after the party is the after party In the parking lot party....."
Thanks, for putting that phenomenon into words Lee Brice, Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett & Luke Laird.
I'm sure Randy is sorry he missed all the parties.
Randy was bigger than life. He was a bear of a guy with thick leathery hands - the hands that fixed anything and everything. His blue eyes would twinkle with his wicked sense of humor. He packed a lot of life and love into the 42 years he was here.
Randy is the reason I started my business. He started his business, Frozen Drink Madness of Texas, in the mid 90's and helped me get mine started in 2001. I worked to help his business grow and get online and he helped teach me all that is a "margarita machine" and help my business grow as well. You can read more about our story here.
If I'm honest, the fact that we could work as a team to grow our individual and separate businesses was helped by the fact that we were 700 miles apart. I was in Nashville, TN and he was still in Dallas, TX. I was always very surprised and proud of the fact that as adults we were able accomplish this feat. Randy and I worked and lived by a different set of rules. We were very different people in many respects. He was a risk taker in a way that I could not be. Both of our styles worked for each of us, but if we were in the same business in the same town and worked with each other every day, the results would have been very different and more than likely disastrous. I let him run his business his way and he did his best to let me do the same.
The business of selling, leasing, and servicing margarita machines has changed though the years. His business is now run by his widow, Kati. My business has become more of a consulting business. Changes are inevitable with just about any industry, and the Margarita industry is not immune to changes. Yes, people still love to drink, but where they get their frozen concoctions has changed. There is no certainty in any business. I often wonder where the business, as a whole, would be if Randy were still alive. He didn't invent this business, but he was a big presence in it.
Randy was the guy who the other guys and gals called when they needed a machine fixed or business advice. Competitors were also his customers. He helped everyone that needed the help. This was not only in Texas, it was nation wide. Like I said, he could fix anything. It didn't matter if he was in person with his hands on the problem or on the phone diagnosing for people all over the country. Randy had wicked skills.
I have written much more about our relationship personally and professionally in a draft on my personal blog SockOnARooster.com. I'm hoping to publish it soon. I wrote in detail like I've never written before. But I haven't finished it. I'm letting it all simmer. If you think about it, visit my personal blog and check-in. You may just be able to read more some day.
Whether I finish that post or not, all should know that I loved my brother. I took care of my brother as a child and tried to when he was an adult. He was a good guy who worked hard, loved his family and was a good father. He would often say to me when I called him on any given weekend and asked what he was doing, his reply was...."Making Memories!".
Yes, he made many memories for many people who loved him.
Are any of us perfect? No. We are all doing the best we can every day. As with all siblings, we were individuals with different perspectives that could lead to disagreements. But at the end of the day, we were still family.
I'm lucky to have had him in my life.
That is all.