Saturday, January 19, 2008

Roy Cushman: A Smile File

Roy Cushman, a kind soul who will be missed by all who know and love him, died Saturday, December 22nd, 2007.
That is the beginning line of his obituary. Roy will truly be missed. He is one of those rare people absolutely liked by all. One has to marvel at his unique sense of interaction with fellow humans as well as canines and as far as I know, any other creature roaming the planet fortunate enough to cross paths with him.
It probably goes without saying that most people having ever associated with Roy have fond memories concerning both his wit and friendliness. Ask anyone who ever met the guy and the first words out of their mouth will be, “He’s funny.” He really was one of the funnier people around. He also happened to be an accomplished artist ( He did a fantastic watercolor of me and good buddy Rocco taken from a photo outside the door of Zero’s on closing night.) as well as an avid cyclist.
Roy had a knack for being able to balance a life of work, recreation, time with family, time with friends and time with self as well as time for making new friends. Again, a unique interaction.
I have referred recently to his sense of humor as being slightly twisted, but more accurate terms might be esoteric or just plain Royish.
One example, and I have quoted this statement to friends over the years. The FW Cats had recently performed in Nacogdoches (this being in the early 80s) and the temperature out there must have been in the teens.
The band stayed at a lady’s house in the country and all of us were shivering throughout the night. I explained the scenario to Roy by saying, “ Man, Roy. It was freezing in there and I was under at least six blankets.” Roy looked at me with a straight face and said, “Hey pal, nobody MADE you get under all those blankets.”
Then again, on the twisted side, any body who has ever been on the receiving end of the gag shock box disguised as a dinner-to-go at Fred’s Café can thank Roy V. Cushman for that joyous jolt.
The sweet side would always turn out around Christmas, when he would don a Santa Suit and make rounds to all the houses of his friends that had children. Oddly, just knowing Roy with his mannerisms and high pitched voice, he came across as a pretty convincing Santa. To us adults, he was just Roy in a Santa suit, but to the kids, he was the real deal.
Mexico. Roy showed up to visit Beth and I in San Miguel de Allende a few years back. He stumbled off the bus with a ridiculously gargantuan bulk of luggage and tray of bottled water that would probably last anybody a few months in the Sahara. “For some reason, guys, I’ve just never learned to travel light.” We all had a good laugh about that and he checked himself into the first apartment we showed him.
He moved about a week later into a place on the opposite end of town, but had found the new place through some of his new friends. I swear, I had only introduced him to about two people.
Bear in mind that my wife and I had lived there for several years. Within two weeks, and I am not exaggerating, Roy had more acquaintances than either one of us.
“Hey Roy, you ever seen that lady that dresses her chihuahua in the same outfit as she wears? Bizarre.”
“Hey, Dave. They really are nice people once you get to know them. They’ve invited me to dinner sometime soon.”
He also, due to being neighbors with them, befriended a group of college students down there that quickly started referring to him as “Uncle Roy” as he somehow got the point across to them that not all middle aged people are uncool.
On the other hand, he could be funny without the intention of being so. One night, at a watering hole in San Miguel, Roy kept ordering drinks for me, or himself or Beth. He would speak loudly and with confidence to the bartender –“Basura!”
Basura, translated, means garbage. When I asked him why he kept saying that, he blinked and asked, “That’s not the way you say thank you?”
Another non-intentional moment of funniness occurred at the Alborada, which is a fireworks display that begins at exactly 4:00 AM and lasts for an hour. Fireworks are shot over, around and into the crowd. We explained this to Roy as he stayed up with us all night before heading into town to witness the event.
Just after 4:00, when the show was kicking into gear, Roy turned to me and said, “Dave? They don’t really shoot the rockets into the cro..” Blam! A bottle rocket the size of a small shampoo bottle blew up against his back. At that point, we were all deaf and he lobbied by means of gesturing that perhaps we should move under a nearby awning.
As far as being kind to canines goes, there are all sorts of stray dogs running about day and night in San Miguel. I remember many times meeting Roy at the town square and seeing him with a baggy in hand full of dog treats. There would seemingly always be some scraggly mutt that he would be feeding and telling it what a good dog it was.
Anyway, so as not to go on rambling too long, that Mexico trip was one of the last times I really spent any time with Roy. There are obviously many other stories and perhaps they can be told at another time.
Just before boarding the bus that would take him back stateside, he thanked us for “everything.” He thanked us? Hey, I think it’s probably the other way around if not at the very least mutual. Adios, Roy.


Blogger T. Williams said...

I just found out Roy had passed away. I knew him since 1968. J.P. Elder Jr. High, Fort Worth, He will be missed.
Thorne Williams
North Side High School 1972

2:36 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I am so sorry to hear about Roy Cushman. He was a good friend of mine from General Dynamics. We both enjoyed the scary movies and he came to our house several times to be Santa Claus for my kids, they adored him. We all adored him, he was a very unique individual to say the least. Everytime I am in Galveston I think of Roy because we all went to the Strand for Mardi Gras. We stayed at his sister's house. I lost touch with him after Lockheed. But he often crossed my mind and I would often wonder what he was doing. Actually he crossed my mind today and a friend of mine emailed me this blog, which was so weird because she had no idea that I had just asked another friend if she knew Roy and knew whatever happened to him. He was such a good person and he will truly be missed, I am very sorry to hear he is no longer with us. Kelley Box

3:49 PM  

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