Happy Birthday, bro

Randy Gene Porter was born in Hawaii on January 26,1960, and left us December 26, 2011.
I first met him and the Porter family in 1971 when I moved into the other side of a double that was owned by Second Friends Church, which was next door.  You probably remember his expressive face, and I can’t count how many times I caught him looking at me with an expression that said, “I just can’t figure this guy out.”  We were so different in so many ways.  I wasn’t even 21, yet, a Quaker farm boy from Iowa who didn’t have a clue about the big city.  He was very good at figuring people out, even then, and I think I was a challenge to him.  He taught me so much about life.  The title reflects one thing I resisted.  But he called me bro all the time, and I liked that a lot.  He eventually wore me down, and I started calling him bro, too.  When he came back from his tour around the world when he served in the U.S. Navy, he wrote this, which says “Friend”.



I think it is true that people who are different from each other often have long, strong friendships, because the variety is what keeps things interesting.  He became my best friend, and was ALWAYS there for me.  Anyone who knew Randy knew he was one of those special people who would absolutely never hesitate to help anyone in need.  He was a simple person in the very best sense of the word.  He knew what was important in life, and didn’t waste his time on the rest.

In 1977 I moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to work in a Neonatal ICU there.  I worked the evening shift, and he liked to mess with me.  He’d wait until my Friday shift was almost over, before calling to say whether he could come visit that weekend.  I’d drive the 2 hours to Indy, and we’d get back to Champaign-Urbana around 4 am.  We’d go to movies, eat, and play soccer.  I missed him during the week.  One way I spent the time was by trying to learn how to draw.  Here is one I did of Randy from a photo.

I sure miss you, bro.

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