Remembering Ron Sykes
On July 24th, 2011 my good friend Ron Sykes lost his battle with cancer and is now in Heaven with family and friends who preceeded him. Many of you reading this know this already and know Ron.. but for those who do not I share the following...
On February 6th, 2011 my family watched the Super Bowl with our good friends Bryan & Laura Anderson at the home of Ron and Lola Sykes. Those of us from Wisconsin know this was a special night while those of you from Minnesota.. SPECIAL?? may not be the word you were looking for. I even have pictures of Ron (a life long Bears fan) wearing a Packer hat.. PRICELESS!ANYWAYS over the next few months to follow Ron would often say to me.. “Jeff, when you are having a bad day do you ever console yourself by thinking.. well at least THE PACKERS WON THE SUPER BOWL. And truth be told, I did from time to time console myself on bad days with this GREAT TRUTH the Packers won the Super Bowl… and IT WORKED.. until Ron passed away.
RON actually ASKED ME TO DO HIS EULOGY (IF NECESSARY) back in June 2011. I was honored to accept this request as I have so many great memories and strong feelings regarding Ron and our friendship.Then I started thinking the hidden reasons Ron may want to have me give the Eulogy.1. My whole life I have struggled with speaking in public and in fact when I was a senior in High School I took a lower grade in a sociology class taught by friend Jim Anderson by not giving an oral presentation. Jim was in attendance of Ron's funeral, and so I asked him by doing the eulogy if I could now get that 'B'? He nodded, but I never did recieve official confirmation of any grade change.2. The other reason Ron may have wanted me to give the Eulogy was that men sound like wounded badgers in a bear trap when they cry... and Ron would find humor in this. .. and he knew I would cry.But onward and forward...I HAVE KNOWN RON MOST OF MY LIFEThe Sykes family moved to Wisconsin as their year round home I believe in the early 1970s. They attended the same little white church in Cable Wisconsin as I did, and this was the start of a lifelong friendship. We both loved sports and our faith was a common ground for us over the next 40 some years. We attended the same High School, church, were college roomates, and roommates after college. We stood up in each other’s weddings and we have been through a whole-lotta life together. Single days, roommates, married, then married with children.Growing up I was envious of Ron as his family owned a resort. I was the son of a logger and I appreciate that heritage, BUT Ron’s 'summer job' while in college was to pull pretty girls waterskiing behind the speed boat or setting behind the resort front desk schmoozing with those at the resort. In contrast I was cutting down trees working with men who looked and smelled like sweaty dirty men whose language would make a Baptist blush.But... while this page is in dedication to my good friend and his life well lived there are a few things that should be noted.. before we nominate Ron for sainthood.. There are glaring flaws that you should all be aware of regarding Ron. Let me name a few. 10 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT RON
ONE OF MY FAVORITE ONGOING OUTINGS WITH RON as I have shared in the past isDAVANNIS for LunchFor years now, At least a couple times a month IF NOT EVERY WEEK I have lunch at Davanni's Hoagie and Pizza Eatery in Arden Hills Minnesota with my best friends in life, Bryan Anderson and Ron Sykes.
I call these get togethers ‘The Friday Lunch Brain Trust’ Both Bryan and Ron are successful college graduates while I am the guy with a referee’s whistle and color crayons. Our weekly discussions cover the gamut of life’s mysteries.
We move deftly from topic to topic as only guys can without missing a bite of our hoagies. One strange side note is that Bryan and Ron each week both order a Whole Turkey Hoagie on Whole Grain. Don't get me wrong it is a great hoagie, BUT.. this leaves them a lifetime deprived of pizza and calzones. On the other hand I try to work the entire menu from meatball hoagies, to solo pizzas, and Davanni's makes a very good calzone... BUT I DIGRESS..
We not only laugh with each other, but at each other. It is very much a ‘guy like’ term of endearment to give each other good natured ribbing. To make each weeks lunch complete it takes us usually about 1 1/2 to 2 full hours and most often includes us retelling the same stories and same jokes from our lives together.
Then.. THE MORTALITY OF OUR FRIENDSHIP comes in to play
A SUMMARY OF US 3 WISEMENWe don't know what the future holds for any of us in this drop in the bucket of eternity existence.. BUT what I do know is the importance of good friends.. no make that GREAT friends. How many of you can say they still see their best friends from school days on a regular basis? I CAN!
It just is not the same without Ron, BUT someday we will all gather together again for Hoagies on a Friday in Heaven.I hurt for Ron's wife Lola and their kids as Ron leaving us was simply too soon. The old saying goes YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU.. when you go to Heaven is true, BUT ALSO.. the greater truth today is YOU CAN’T TAKE IT FROM US!.
YOU CANNOT TAKE AWAY FROM RON
YOU CANNOT TAKE AWAY..
FINALLY…YOU CANNOT TAKE AWAY the influence Ron had during his life serving the one true God. To love God and care for others (God's greatest 2 commandments) was not on HIS 'to-do-list', it was who Ron was.
I PRAISE GOD for Ron's life lived well. I know in my heart though Ron was taken from us too soon, that as he arrived in Heaven he was greeted with the words.. "Well done my good and faithful servant."
Ron's passing was a tough day for Lola, Caleb, Lara, Zhana, brothers and sisters and other friends and family but please take comfort and pride that Ron is a man who lived life the RIGHT WAY! So many at a funeral can only think of a lifetime of pain and REGRETS, but this is not the case here. As I write these words remembering Ron and honoring his life.. again.. he lived life the right way.
HEAVEN.. is that plain of existence beyond our comprehension.
.. until then, Bryan and I will watch closely for anything that resembles a haunted-hoagie as we continue to meet for lunch and will always remember our dear friend.
( Ron Sykes Sightings.. in PARADISE ).. I would like to note that the locals in Heaven will also appreciate and be exasperrated by Ron as he attempts to blend in.