I Really Feel You Now
"...an eccentricly humorous and hopefully soon-to-be old, one-eyed BEIGE man."
It's no secret
that I drove a taxi in Austin while also working in law enforcement between 1971 and 2004. I didn't work all
those years straight in either capacity but they frequently overlapped each other none the less.
I think the experience I got from both careers made me a better,
well-rounded person that can cope with and tolerate the tensest situations without breaking a sweat. I have been tested
many times and am still around to talk about it, so I am living testament to what I preach.
I remember the day I drove Ray Charles Robinson from the Robert
Mueller Airport to the Four
Seasons Hotel. He was here to holler at Willie
Nelson, an old friend of his.
It was a sweltering July day in 2001 and my air conditioning
had to make them feel like we were in Alaska in the dead
of winter, it was so cold. His escort/guide was a big brother who was also very quiet at first. He dressed
like a Black Muslim (black suit, white shirt and bow tie). I found the topics that we discussed on
the way to the hotel sort of funny, all things considered since I've never met a Black Muslim that liked the police. Plus
it was challenging talking to them both because ”Bow Tie" was the quiet rider so I tried my best to stay focused
on Mr. Charles.
I don't remember the whole
conversation verbatim however I do remember asking Mr. Charles if he ever got tired of people asking for autographs
and their other forms of adulation. I asked him if he would rather have the fame OR the fortune and surprisingly he
chose "fame" stating, "That's why I'm in show business.
Why would I not want the attention when that's what I love and why I do it?"
Man THAT made so much sense and he was blind since he was
a child yet could still see more clearly than very few people that are not blind, especially me. It wasn't so much
his answer but the speed of his response coupled with the way his words touched me. It was every bit an epiphany.
Very few people realize that I am suffering with Glaucoma
and am completely blind in my left eye. My right eye is going and they are trying to lower my pressure to treat it and
save it. I also have Diabetes and have had it almost 15 years. I thought my eye problems were related to my Diabetes
and if I had been paying attention... Well who knows if the outcome would be different? Might be worse and truthfully,
my life has been so well blessed that I really can't complain. God loves me.
The thing is, I am a car nut and I have owned many different types
of cars over the last 30 some-odd years. I have two 1978 Corvette Pace Cars, one a L48 auto and the other
a L82 manual. Why two? I had this crazy idea for a his/hers ensemble, realizing too late that my wife
doesn't share my love for nostalgia when it comes to cars, preferring new and improved cars with ONSTAR. So I have two
and may sell one if I get the right price.
Most people that remember when I was in college know that my 1st
Corvette was a 1978 Black Coupe with a Black interior and automatic. I painted it to resemble a Pace Car because I couldn't
afford to trade up. Eventually I sold that car because I was so poor that I couldn't buy the gas.
25 years later I bought authentic 1978 Pace Cars with
low mileage and one was a Bloomington Gold Show winner.
I can afford the gas nowadays but neither car moves from the storage
garage they are housed for they are simply nostalgic investments of an eccentricly humorous and hopefully soon-to-be
old one-eyed BEIGE man. That is MY prayer, anyway.
I stopped driving in March of this year and now have designated
drivers to get me around. It's sort of funny sometimes because people often think my cars are Secret Service from
all the black out and antennas but that's just me chilling with my Direct TV satellite and 2 way radios for business.
It's a mobile office and "comfortable" doesn't even start to describe most of my rides.
I'm not bragging...
I am going blind, can't drive and am happy. Go
Let me tell you a little more about me and the way I think.
OK, I am going blind. I accept that but I do not have a "give-up" bone in my body. Like my friend the late Dennis
Johnson told me, "Ron you are like me... You hate to lose." He ain’t ever lied.
So here I am, thinking about my next challenge before my lights
turn off and my engine seizes, wondering to myself, "Have you done everything you wanted to do, made a difference, helped
all the people you could sanely help without losing your own mind?" And the answer that I feel is "No, you can do more
I certainly pray that I can for helping others and changing circumstances
that will propel them to hopefully aspire to be better than they already are is a true source of pleasure for me.
I love making a positive difference in the lives of people that want to succeed.
The good lord knows that I bleed orange and love me some Austin,
Hook Em Horns, Texas Longhorns Baby. As a child in 1967 I sold football programs and learned how to interact
with a bunch of people I would never have known otherwise... Inspiring people with hearts of gold like Freddy
Steinmark, who let me ride with him in his new Green Corvette Convertible. I remember so much about those years back then and
the characters of the friends I made that I cannot help but smile.
Maybe I started loving Corvettes after riidng with Freddy, who
had all sorts of gadgets and hand controls in order to drive due to having lost one of his legs to cancer. Freddy was
on the Longhorn Championship 1969 Football team. Man he was braver than me and all I got to worry about is Glaucoma
It'll probably take me a couple of years to get top dollar for
my babies if I sell them but I am patient... as long as I am free and won't be a patient at which case it really won't much
matter to me then, do you think?
How can I make jokes about such a serious thing? Will crying change
anything? I can quip and laugh about going blind and even dying because as Ray Charles basically stated that
sweltering day, "There's nothing you can do about things that go with the territory so you might as well enjoy it."
And if he didn't really mean it like that, then at least that's how I took it.
Man, he was so right on target for a guy who
could not see.
Wisdom translated makes me feel like I can see in stereo,
better than ever before even with just one eye. How about you, can you see clearer?