My Right Turn ...
Ray and I met at a memorial service at a local Elks Club. I know, but it's true. I was in London finishing up a short ten day tour singing with John Miller's Orchestra when the news of Dave's passing arrived. Judy (Ray's sister) and I had been friends for a few years and became close. I had just completed writing Judy's memoir story and realized that the man she brought with her to the service had to, by process of elimination, be one of her three brothers. After all, I became intimately, yet anonymously involved with Judy's family through the writing.
Well, I'd volunteered to help put the food together for what was expected be a packed gathering in the hundreds. As I was finishing my kitchen work at the Elks that morning, someone peeked their head into the kitchen to announce that Judy had arrived. I walked the short distance from the kitchen into the bar and saw her seated next to a handsome man who gazed up at me when I entered the room. He was fumbling with his tie. Looking and fumbling and managed a wink. I focused my gaze upon my friend, Judy. We embraced and shed a few tears. Judy introduced me to Ray, the eldest brother. She introduced Ray to me as her good friend who wrote her book. I'll never forget Ray's response ... "What? You have a book?!" Surprise.
After the service, Ray and I spent the lion's share of the time getting acquainted. Music was a strong commonality we enjoyed and shared enthusiastically with each other. Two artists, amuck. He asked me, before he and Judy headed back to her house for the evening, if I wanted to join them. After stepping away to see if I was needed for any clean-up, I returned to find that they had already left for Judy's. My heart sank. I felt disappointed.
Shortly afterward, I got into my little Miata. It was dark by then. I moved slowly down the road until I reached the familiar stop sign at the dead end. Turn left to go to Judy's. Turn right to go home. I turned on my left blinker and sat another few minutes, thinking. The blinker illuminated the dark road. I wanted Judy to have time with a brother she saw very seldom. As much as I wanted to see Ray, I put on my right blinker and headed home.
The rest is history. Not a fairy-tale. Our tale. And, it's a doozy.