A trip down memory lane...almost 30 years ago...
Back when I was a wee little tyke around the age of 14, a guy came over to the house. He had trouble walking. He was loud. He was cheerful and energetic. He had tickets to a rock concert in Odessa. He invited me and my brother to go with him. If I remember right, it was Golden Earring and Night Ranger.
Dru didn't walk anywhere. He had cerebral palsy and his knees didn't exactly work. It was more of a fearless act of forward momentum without quite falling. He called it "running". My memories back then are a little skewed by being young and barely weighing a buck fifteen.
Dru was big and when he got to running I'd often wonder how in the hell he was going to stop. I quickly found out that's what I was there for. He'd take off with a cry of "running" in his deep voice and I knew that was my cue to be one step ahead. I had to stop him before he ran over the big biker dude 20 yards ahead. Dru was at least twice my size. I loved those days. I learned a new appreciation of the 80's rock scene going to concert after concert.
He'd stand near the sound booth on the floor at all the concerts in Ector County Coliseum. Standing for Dru wasn't exactly easy, but he'd do it. Every time. And I didn't mind standing beside him so he could lean on me when he needed to steady himself.
He introduced me to "38 Special" although I had no idea who they were at the time. I was just a kid sitting inside the KUFO studio waiting for Dru to drive me to the next concert when suddenly he's introducing me to all these long haired guys wearing sunglasses.
His car was rigged so that he could do all driving with his hands. The acceleration and breaking were both done by some mechanism on the left that looked like a steel pipe coming out the side of the steering wheel. That was fun too.
When he had access to extra albums, he'd always offer me a copy (after my brother turned it down). I don't know if I'd have near the appreciation for music that I do now had it not been for Dru. He took me to see Dio's Sacred Heart Tour. He took me to Blue Oyster Cult's comeback tour. Sometimes my brother was there, sometimes not, but most (if not all) the time, I was invited to tag along.
I lost contact with him when I went to college. I don't really know what happened. My brother and I still talk about him occasionally and wonder what he's up to. If he's still "running".
On Thursday, June 23rd, 2011, Dru passed away. It makes me sad. I'd like to hear the ominous rumbling yell of "running" coming up behind me one more time.