I deliberately avoided Ron Rooks the last time I saw him. Ron was behaving so erratically at a Los Lobos concert last month that I moved to a different section of the venue so he wouldn’t spot me.
That’s how bad things had become. It wasn’t always like that.
I was immediately enamored with Ron’s wit, intelligence, ambition and passion for music when I first met him about twenty years ago. He was off-the-wall and crazy like a fox. I enjoyed few things more than drinking beer with him in the basement of his store, The Music Exchange, back when it was east of Broadway on Westport Road. Although I disagreed with him on virtually every subject, I loved that man.
People shouldn’t allow Ron’s recent troubles to overshadow the way he lived most of his life. His children filled him with pride and he loved to brag about their accomplishments. And Ron knew that he had a wonderful wife. His sporadic efforts as a professional musician made him giddy. He also made quite an impression on elderly Kansas Citians with his hysterical appearances on the Mike Murphy talk radio show.
Ron died earlier this week.