Roy was a longbearded poet who walked the highways and byways of downtown London, Ontario, greeting all who crossed his path. Roy died in February at the age of 80.
Today, on one of the small workshop stages of the Home County Folk Festival, Roy’s friends paid tribute. Love was in the air. The first speaker asked us “What would life be like if all of us were as unique, as thoroughly ourselves, as Roy was?” Oh my. What a fine question. See the power that one human being can have. Are we inspired to let our souls bubble up into our homes and schools and offices? I hope so.
Roy was known as “The Mayor of Richmond Row” – a fun stretch of shops and restaurants. One speaker said that his death left a huge hole in downtown London. Yes indeed. Another told us “Many people loved Roy. Many others didn’t quite get him. But nobody who’s met Roy will ever forget him.” And those words also ring true.
“Did he ever come up to you and offer to do a rendition of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’?” Sadly, not for me. What I remember is a late night conversation at the McDonalds on Wellington Road, sprinkled with wisdom and choice nuggets from his poetry. Lucky me.
Roxanne Andrighetti sang one of her songs for Roy, and the words point to the man:
Did we take hold of each of our days
Before all this passes away?
And to finish things off, another young woman favoured us with Roy’s favourite song – Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Goodbye, dear Roy. Thank you for being in the world.
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way