February 26, 2016

R.I. P. Friend

When I was in high school and the early years after graduation our family had a great friend.

He was in the same year of school as my brother and very involved in Drama classes and theater with the rest of us. He was a talented actor and comedian.

He was ridiculously funny. If he was around there was a good chance you would be wetting your pants from laughing until you couldn't breathe and the tears rolled down your face. Yet, he was a good listener, shared his feelings and was a good friend.

Our family rented a cabin in South Lake Tahoe every summer and each of us kids would take a friend. The week that Jeff Risk came with us has faded a little in my memories. My husband had just flown out to his tour in Japan and our son was 3 months old.  My hands were probably pretty full while we were at the cabin but I can tell you that I have never, ever enjoyed a drive up Highway 50 as much as I did the Friday night we headed to Tahoe.

My brother was driving, Jeff sat in front with him. I sat in back with baby J.  Jeff was wearing a pair of white linen pants and, instead of a belt, he was using a long length of hemp rope. He repeatedly tried to talk my brother into pulling over and smoking the rope...just to see how Hemp it really was! "Pulling over" on Hwy 50 in those days pretty much meant flying, and it was a long way down.

If you haven't been on Highway 50 headed east from Riverton, CA to Lake Tahoe you have missed one of the real-life Whip-dee-doos! There are more hairpin turns in that stretch of road than the climb up Pikes Peak in Colorado.  My brother kept his hands on the steering wheel, so Jeff took over control of the radio. We listened to Chinese music all the way up the pass and back down. Jeff accompanied the singers, sometimes singing in remarkable synchronicity with the artist but more often making up his own lyrics.

It soon begin to be an early '70's version of Asian Rap. We all took part in making up lyrics, making fun of each other, teachers at the school, the road...all was fair game.

My stomach ached when we pulled up to the cabin. That ride was truly the most memorable and fun drive ever.

Jeff, I know it's been years since I've seen you. I'm thankful that my brother kept up with you over the years. You were a joy to be with, not just funny but you were a caring, loving friend. I'm sure you continued to touch lives wherever you traveled.

I'm glad I knew you and that you were once a part of my life.

Rest In Peace.


  1. What a lovely memory.
    Jeff sounds like he was an amazing guy.

    1. Jeff really was. I don't know anyone who didn't love him.

  2. this post made me LOL at the memories you have of your friend. my condolences.

    1. Thank you. He was in some of the best memories.

  3. Replies
    1. OUR loss, really. He was one of the good guys.

    2. OUR loss, really. He was one of the good guys.

  4. Such a beautiful tribute! May he rest in peace.

  5. "They who are remembered, live." RIP to Jeff -- sounds like a great guy.

  6. Replies
    1. He touched many lives and made many memories.


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