I lost a friend yesterday. He lost his battle with prostate cancer that had spread into his bones. I could go on here and say how angry I am that his country doesn’t do routine annual PSA tests, but we all have different health systems. If only…….
He was such a kind man. Do we call him a bloke? a geezer? a Cockney? He was all those and more. He was a husband, a father, a grandfather and in a few days he would have been a great-grandfather.
I met him in 1999 when his son took me to his parents’ home to meet them for the first time. His Dad, Ron, grabbed my arm and led me to his garden shed leaving his son wondering “what the heck?”. Ron had one question: “Did I own a gun?”. “No” I said and I think he was relieved. From TV and the news he thought every American carried a gun. This was the beginning of our friendship.
He had a quick wit, a dry sense of humor and a very thick Cockney accent. I learned the slang from him. I learned to love football/soccer through both him, his son and their extended family. Every time I made a trip to London, and there have been 25 of them, we would pile into a car or van and head to the Valley for a Charlton Athletic match. The day always started and ended with a few beers…..His wife warned him as we headed to the ground “only one Ron”. right.
He’d give you the shirt off his back. If I needed to be picked up or dropped off at the airport and his son couldn’t do it then Ron would run to the rescue. There was one time when he did get lost on our way back into London and it took a Yank and his daughter-in-law who doesn’t drive to guide him back in the right direction. But that was Ron. Riding in his car was always an adventure.
He loved his garden and was most proud of his fish pond. He took great pride in that.
He loved his kids and his grandkids. He was always there for them. You’d find him at the boys’ football games every weekend without fail. He was almost like a mascot. For the girls, he was at ballet recitals, school plays, gymnastics, and anything else they were involved in. He always gave encouragement and his undying support. He once told me he couldn’t live the way we do in America with our families spread all over the country. His family all live within a few miles of each other and were there in the end. He was blessed.
It’s difficult for me to imagine what life will be without him for his family and friends. Even though I only saw him when I was in London he meant the world to me. I will remember him fondly and I will miss him forever.
He was a true Englishman and I am proud to be able to say he was my friend.
RIP Ron Crabb. We all love you.
PS: I was just reminded, by Jade Foote, of something he would say to me. “You’re alright, for a Yank”. And Ron, “You are more than alright for a Brit”