May 25, 2010

rock It was the Sunday night just after the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl that I heard my good friend Rock had passed away of a heart attack in his sleep just a couple of weeks before. I was walking along Las Vegas Blvd with my Goodboys friends The Funny Guy and Doggy Duval after watching the game at The Mirage when it occurred to me I should call Rock to at least offer my congrats – after all, the Saints winning the Super Bowl was something I knew he’d be celebrating big time along with his many friends. And it was then, amidst a large crowd of revelers, after his wife Donna picked up his phone and told me the news, that I felt myself so alone and devastated at hearing that my friend was gone.

It’s a funny thing in this day and age how you can be such good friends with someone and not even know their last name. Rock was always just Rock, a number on my cell phone, someone who I could call at any time, and he me, and enjoy a few minutes of conversation and a good laugh and then go about our separate ways. I knew he ran Rock’s Safe and Lock in New Orleans, had a nice wife and a couple of great kids, but that was about it. We’d only chat a couple of times a year, perhaps, but whenever we did I could feel the strong connection between us. We both wished, I think, we could have lived closer to each other because we enjoyed each other’s company so much.

I had met Rock through his cousin Billy, who lived here in Phoenix and helped run an Italian pizza joint that went under several years ago. When Billy heard I was a big New Orleans guy, he told me I just had to look up his cousin the next time I went to New Orleans. And that’s how it happened: in 2004 I met Rock for the first time, and from the first lunch we had (over char-grilled oysters and a couple of cold Abitas at the Acme Oyster House) we became fast friends. We spent a lovely day driving down to his camp on Grand Isle, and during the drive to and from there was nothing we didn’t talk about: sports, religion, politics, cooking – you name it, he was equally at ease talking about anything. It was as if we had always known each other.

The devastating flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina put both his business and his house in St. Bernard Parish under water, and his family, like so many others, spent quite a bit of time and effort in alternative arrangements that, while not preferable by any means, were still better off than most; he was at least able to keep his family together on their own property.

I knew it was all pretty stressful for my friend Rock, because, when I visited him a few months after the floods had subsided (when the picture above was taken), he took me around to all the hardest-hit places and felt comfortable enough in my presence to blow off some significant steam. But that was Rock: no false pretenses. He was, I suppose, what some might call a ragin’ Cajun, but I always felt he was the most genuine person I ever knew.

Rock spent a lot of time, effort, and money putting his house and business back together. I knew it was hard for him, and I believe that, even though he died 4 1/2 years after Katrina, he was as much a victim of that disaster as anyone. All that time dealing with the stress of trying to hold your family life and your business together under the most trying of circumstances had to have taken a lot out of him. I know that, because he cared so damned much – about his family, his business and clients, his Louisiana home, and those around him who called it theirs.

If there is one story about Rock that characterized him to a ‘T’, it was the day we drove down to his camp at Grand Isle. I had mentioned to him it was my mom’s birthday, and that I had to give her a call. So there I am, talking with my mom, and Rock asks me for her name. When I told him Dorothy, he asks me for the phone. A minute later, there he is, talking with “Miss Dot” in that heavy N’awlins drawl of his, and charming the socks off her – as if he had known her for years and was one of her own.

That’s just how Rock was – kind, generous to a fault, always making people feel welcome and important. Maybe that was the only side I ever saw to him – after all, I only met him four times in my life. I’m sure he had his demons like we all do, but I have a feeling he was a good man – the kind you just don’t see enough of these days.

I had meant to write about Rock after I got back from Las Vegas, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the picture of him I knew I had somewhere. It was only this past weekend, while rummaging through my rebuilt computer trying to rebuild my Goodboys Museum ahead of the Goodboys’ 20th anniversary tournament, that I came upon his picture and proceeded to have a good cry. Rock would have told me not to be such a wuss. I get it.

I miss my friend Rock, and pray he’s in the Lord’s love, light, and eternal care. We down here are much the worse off as a result of his passing. Rest in peace, Rock – you were, and always will be, a special friend whose memory I will always cherish.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:48 | Comment (1)
1 Comment »
  1. Sorry to hear about Rock, GWS. He sounds like a good guy. West End was totally wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. She has undoubtedly shortened many lives. RIP, Rock.

    Comment by Rob — May 25, 2010 @ 11:51 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info