Posted by Andy Bell
UPDATED AND EDITED ON DEC 29th & DEC 31st
Not an easy one this one. Painful. Necessary.
A friend died.
Ralph Mclean – Channel 31 presenter, arts doyen, political campaigner, man of Fitzroy and much else besides.
After getting the news from a sympathetic soul at St Vincent’s on Monday morning, I wandered down towards the city in that daze that envelops you when reality really strikes.
I took stock: smiling and teetering on the brink of tears in equal measure.
That was Monday.
Then there was Thursday and the “so right” funeral at La Mama on a baking hot afternoon.
Another kind of daze set in there.
The daze that comes from making a wooden box the centre of your attention for an hour or so and trying to figure out how that fits in the scheme of things.
There was laughter and tears, but that box dominated.
Such was the strength of Ralph’s presence, even then.
And when the coffin disappeared – first by hand, then by hearse – there was a tumultuous round of applause.
What an exit. What a life.
And still the taking stock goes on.
Uproarious stories of political campaigns of yore, the whys and wherefores of Melbourne and much more besides won’t be heard again. Although, they will be remembered – in spirit , if not in total accuracy.
Lunches and dinners on a Tuesday, it always seemed to be a Tuesday, are gone. And there’ll be no more swopping of bizarre and hilarious YouTube URLs.
A sly wit, a wicked intellect and a generous counsel has left my life.
I’ll also reflect upon how I got to understand myself a little better through the total randomness of this friendship.
And I’ll keep on asking three questions.
Without hectoring or table thumping, Ralph taught me to make a trifecta of simple and wonderful inquiries when faced with any challenge.
Is it doable ? And is it fun ? Is it worthwhile ?
Perm the order, it still makes sense.
It always did.
Not a bad mantra.
So, some things stay with you, even when others are taken from you.
That’s more than a blessing.
It’s a treasured gift.
The December 31st amendment adds funeral comments & turned a pair of life rules into a trifecta!
ALSO a chance to take a peek at Ralph in his pomp.
AND some music.
These two delighted and intrigued Ralph and he revelled in spreading their gospel!.