by Ryan Terry
Talking to Rob is always an experience. Whether he be telling one of his crazy life stories, or explaining one of his conspiracy-esque theories, you will be sure to walk away with some new enlightenment.
Seeing my father with all of his siblings was mind boggling. Rob, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Mark, Matt, then the babies: Genne, and Kevin. They had not all been in the same place together for over 25 years, but they had gathered for my Granny’s 84th birthday. The six brothers looked exactly the same. Their faces, noses, ears. All the same.
Rob loved to dance. He would always take Linda, his ex-girlfriend of many years, out dancing. He was living with us at that time. I was probably six years old, and I don’t remember Linda. Rob still loves to dance, and sometimes he’ll bust out some old moves, but it isn’t easy with his recent double hip replacement.
Granny died the day after her birthday party. It was expected. She had become quite frail so the only surprise was that she had died with her entire family in town. Good planning on her part. We were all already there in California to attend her funeral.
Rob always tells me that I look exactly like Genne did. Knowing her now, I don’t see the resemblance. She is my dad’s sister, and I look like my dad, but I don’t think my dad looks like Genne. And I don’t think I look like Genne. Rob however, insists it is so. To him, I am a little carbon copy of his baby sister.
The funeral was in a gorgeous catholic church. The priest was from South Africa, and his voice was even more gorgeous than the building we were in. Rob wanted to do the eulogy. No one knew what to expect, but the Terry’s aren’t big talkers, him being the exception, so no one else wanted to do it. He went up and ad-libbed the eulogy in a surprisingly eloquent and well executed manner. After sitting, he told the family that he wanted to be a priest when he was younger. He even went to seminary school for a short time. Envisioning Rob as a priest is the hardest things I’ve attempted to imagine.
A few months ago we received a call from Rob. He was in Thailand with his new, young, Thai girlfriend. He had been drugged at a bar and robbed. He was pretty vague about it though, so we had no idea what exactly had been stolen from him. We feared the worse: that maybe he had lost all his money and his passport, but we couldn’t contact him to find out. He’s back in the U.S. now, so I guess he didn’t get ripped off too badly.
During the family dinner following the funeral everyone was sharing stories, and it was a happy time of remembrance, not particularly sad or mournful. Rob, who maybe enjoyed his alcohol a bit too much, was a few drinks down and loudly telling us all about the time he took Granny to Seattle. He fed her some pot brownies. She had a great time. He never told her about the special ingredient.
My mother is a severe insomniac. She often only sleeps two hours a night, so sometimes she’ll read the most boring things she can find to try and lull herself to sleep. One night she was reading the divorce announcement section of the paper, and saw the divorce between Rob Terry and Linda. No one in the family knew that Rob was married. Apparently Linda was a foreigner, and my parents assume the two married to keep her in the country. They never mentioned this discovery to Rob.
Ryan Terry is an Early Honors freshman who has lived in Alaska her whole life. She trains year-round for nordic skiing, and spends her free-time adventuring in the mountains or relaxing with a good book and cup of coffee.
Your writing is always so honest and matter of fact; which is refreshing but also leaves the reader wanting more. I liked visualizing everything, especially the church and the priest. I definitely wanted to know more about Rob and what came of Thailand and his life. Great attention to detail.