Friday, January 23, 2004

Larger than Life

There are a handful of people who are bigger than life.  Ron Harris is one of those people.  Despite the fact that he is 6-4 and probably 250+ pounds, Ron is special because of his big heart and loving nature.

 I met Ron and his wife Shirley way back in the late 70's.  Shirley was the bar manager of the bluegrass bar I worked.  As you can see, Ron is a musician.  He was a local celebrity, but managed to play all over the world with some renown Blues Bands.

I left Lexington in 1980 and did not return until the early 90's.  When I ran into Ron it was if we picked up a conversation we left off last week. 

Here are two of my favorite recent Ron stories.  He was playing in Germany and collapsed on the stage.  When he came to, he was in a hospital hooked up to every imaginable machine and surrounded by some very concerned faces. "Mr. Harris, you have one week to live." Ron jumped out of the bed, pulled out the IV's and said, "Well, then hell I ain't spending my last days in no damn hospital!"

Thank God they were wrong.

Second story.  His daughter is going to Transy U. in Lexington taking a music appreciation class.  The professor says something, she rolls her eyes and makes some sort of disagreeing noise.  The professor is stunned by the overt challenge of a student and asks to see her after class.

"My father would say you were full of crap," she told him, "Just who is your father, then?" "Ron Harris."  The guy is silent for a moment. "Ron Harris....THE Ron Harris?"  Ends up Ron had taught this guy to play guitar when the prof was in high school. 

I just found out today Ron had a heart attack and passed away while we were in Florida. He was only 52.

 I think he is up in heaven organizing and winning talent contests.  When he would pick the guitar with his teeth....well, no one ever could top that.


sonensmilinmon said...

thank you for shaing those interesting stories. My condolances to all who were touched by Ron Harris.

sunflowerkat321 said...

I'm so sorry to hear the world has lost Ron. These two little snippets of his life are so telling. I know he will live on in the hearts of many.

karynetaylor said...

great tribute to Ron. He does sound like wonderful and fun guy!

~ Karyn

musenla said...

I don't know who Ron Harris was but your description of him sure makes him sound like quite a guy. I'm sorry you lost a friend. It's bittersweet when we lose contact with friends from long ago and then to suddenly hear they're gone. But I agree, he must be whoopin' it up up there.

krobbie67 said...

I did not expect the ending, as I'm sure you didn't either. My heart goes out to you. You have written a wonderful tribute here. ---Robbie