Pure Sunshine: Celebrate the life of Rick Kulwicki this weekend at the Bluebird Theater
A little more than a month ago, I attended the memorial service for a Rick Kulwicki at Fairmount Cemetary, the same place where my grandparents and my favorite aunt happen to be laid to rest. The place doesn't really hold a lot of fond memories for me.
Barely ten years old, I remember wiping tears from my eyes as I watched my grandfather being lowered into the ground. I also remember my dad pointing out the unmarked grave of my grandmother, as I tried to wrap my young mind around the whole concept of death. Some twenty odd years later, we repeated the process with my aunt, only this time, I fully grasped the frailty of life. Death represents sadness and loss. That's what I learned in the intervening years.
And while that is certainly true, there's a flip side to that coin, as Rick's memorial service proved. Seeing all of the people who came to celebrate his life -- the lifelong friends, family, fans of his bands, neighbors, co-workers, baseball buddies -- and listening to those dear to him share their anecdotes and give heartfelt testimonies to his selfless, kind-hearted devotion and to hear just how full of life he was... well, that was probably one of the most profound experiences I've had in recent memory. We should all be so lucky to have impacted so many people and to be remembered so fondly.
Kindness. That was the word most commonly used to describe Rick, who, I learned, was an avid wrestling fan (and not the WWF, but the old school All-Star Wrestling, which they used to show on Sunday mornings on Channel Two. I appreciated that, as I was a huge fan myself and often missed church to watch to matches on TV).
I also got a kick out hearing how Rick showed up to his sons' baseball practices with aviators, blue jeans and motorcycle boots, and the other parents didn't really know what to make of him -- until they got to know him, and then they loved him. Like everybody else. Universally, everyone seems to remember Rick as a bright spot in an otherwise dark existence.
From the sounds of it, the world could use more Rick's.
But that's going to be tough. He was one of a kind, an analog soul in a digital era. Didn't have much use for the things that some folks just can't live without, cell phones, Facebook, the Internet. Instead, he focused his time and energy on the things that actually matter, people and relationships. Trust: The irony of memorializing Rick on a blog is not lost. Nonetheless, in advance of Pure Sunshine this weekend, the shows tonight and tomorrow night at the Bluebird Theater celebrating his life and benefiting his twin boys, we asked some folks for a few words on Rick.
Click through to read their thoughts, and then please feel free to leave some of your own.