Friday, October 03, 2008

Cy Rawls Forever

.....Cy Rawls was a fan. Of music, of sports, and judging by the way he fought these last few months, of life. To say he was an unique individual, is a vast understatement. He was a living legend. One of the ways he earned his legendary status was to show up at an astonishing number of rock shows. Sometimes these shows were on the same night, great distances apart. If you were a band playing out of town, to spot Cy's friendly face at the show seemed like receiving some cosmic blessing. But it wasn't luck. He had to drive there.
.....My quintessential Cy story took place on New Year's Eve some years ago. We were throwing a party at the Big House. Cy showed up at 9:30. No one else would arrive for at least an hour and I still needed to get dressed. Cy ate a few snacks and hung out for about ten minutes before heading out. He said he'd be back a little later. By 4:30 am, only Zeke, Becca and myself remained awake. Side two of "Purple Rain" was playing, probably louder than it should have been. And in walked Cy, looking as sharp as he had hours earlier. Years later, at a soccer match, I remember being actually kind of disappointed when Cy had to call one of us on a cell phone to figure out where we were. Finn has that amazing story from South by Southwest where he plays a show, gets taken to a surprise "Gang of Four" show and winds up in a van with Andy Gill. It's a long and amazing night. And the coda, the punch line, is he finally gets taken to a hotel room to crash, and as he enters, Cy walks out. You never expected him to be there, but you were always glad when he was.
.....Cy was a loyal fan. His record of attending UNC home football games is more than impressive considering that sometimes the team's record wasn't very good. I didn't get to watch a lot of Carolina sports with Cy, mainly because he tended to be at the game more often than not. There used to be considerably more Washington Redskins fans in North Carolina before the Carolina Panthers came to town. Cy stuck by his skins. Again, not always easy. A friend of ours from Washington invited James and me to a Redskins game for his birthday. James couldn't make it, so knowing Cy was a Redskins fan, I invited him. I had known Cy for years, but most of our conversations were pretty short. I wasn't sure how easy it would be to share a 5 hour drive with him. The time flew by easily however, discussing music and sports and sitting behind the goal posts later, I surprisingly found myself rooting for the Skins, a team I had never liked. Unfortunately, The Giants won.
.....There is so much more that could be said. Cy on the dance floor. Cy at the cover up. Cy at trivia. I mean he was always going somewhere, doing something fun. And everywhere he went, he made friends; an astonishing amount of friends, as has been demonstrated these last few months. I'm appreciative that he got to see how much he was loved. We are all sad; sad that he won't be showing up anymore when we least expect it. Because you knew if he was there, then that place, that moment, was somewhere worth being. And often, he was the reason that was the case. So thanks Cy.


Your fans.

No comments: