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                                                            A TRIBUTE TO RALPH


                                                   Written By: Rashon Leyf



            It’s time for me to write about my greatest friend (except of course for my girlfriend
Amber). His name is Ralph Hawk, and there are so many things I could rightfully say about him. Yet, probably the best tribute I can pay him, is to simply say that he’s done (and continues to do) so much that’s rightful. And his most substantial gift to me has probably been his insistence that I not “make too big a deal” out of every occurrence which, for one reason or another, has affected my life.

            But Ralph has always been a “cheerleader” for me – so to speak. And he’s told me I have numerous talents Yet, he’s also said I haven’t used those talents as I should have. And, he always tells me it’s time for me to begin applying myself – and, sure, I know what he’s trying to say when he says that!

            Still, I’m appreciative of all I’ve been able to do in my life thus far, despite the fact that my collective accomplishments wouldn’t, as they say, “set the world on fire.” And, through Ralph’s help, I’ve lived where I’ve had the freedom to do what I’ve felt was necessary. And, also, I’ve hopefully committed actions which have improved the lives of others around me; and, in chain reactions (though some don’t believe this is how our world works) ameliorated human existence throughout our entire planet. But Ralph has also shown me how (figuratively) every single human being I’ve ever met is a part of me now.

And those of us who’ve contributed to this literary effort have had a diversity of opinion

concerning what should and shouldn’t be included in it. And as I’m thinking about this entire project,

I’m contemplating, and also trying to understand why it is that although apparently anything (and I

mean anything) is capable of transpiring in this city, most of its artistic type residents still seem to

exist in states of confusion and disorder. And sometimes I really wonder where some of us (and that

includes me certainly) would be today had not Ralph Hawk intervened in our lives and convinced us

to relocate here. And thus, though some of my friends say this book is substantially about some

certain lovers and their love affairs, to me it’s really about Ralph Hawk and all he means, and all he has meant to all of us who’ve resettled here near the river. So Ralph, here’s my tribute to you!

            Ralph, you’ve done so much for me and those others you’ve helped relocate to this city. And as far as I can tell, all “your people” who now live here near the river seem to love you. But, despite that, and despite your best efforts on behalf of all of them, it still seems that many of them, and myself included, continue to struggle here as they (and I) attempt to grasp hold of anything remotely resembling “order” or “orderliness.” And I think most of us have a basic outline of what we wish to do with our lives. And most of us seem to know what we should do, yet we don’t know how or when we’ll be able to do it, if ever. And probably, if it were left solely to us, on our own the majority of us might find it difficult to procure any real sense of achievement or satisfaction here while we function daily held within the grasp of our inability to organize our own existences.

            But, having said that, I must also admit that some days I’m so sure I’ve found the path from which I must not stray. And yet, on the next day, I’m not so sure what I’ve found. And then again, on the following day, often so much of life presents itself to me as once more altered from what I’d just recently known. So, it must be true; I must be a student of life’s highway still.    

            And while I myself have struggled to remain on the straight and narrow, I’ve also noted that many of my fellow humans are treading on paths of inconsistency as well. And they’re headed, it appears, toward confusion at the least, or other more drastic possibilities and scenarios at the worst. And I don’t think anyone can truthfully deny the postulation that disorder is always lurking just around the corner in one’s life. But I believe the relevant questions concerning that fact are:  “What can one do to stymie a lack of orderly process?” and, “How can one achieve at least some sense of worth in one’s life?” And I fear those questions, but more assuredly many mortal’s inability to find their answers, trouble those mortals today.

            And thus, I must say how fortunate I feel to have been recruited by a Mr. Ralph Hawk, and to have been encouraged by him to relocate to this city and become part of its “artistic enclave.” And all that occurs here now (and some portions of it are bizarre almost beyond comprehension) is all I live for today, except of course for my love of Amber Rolon, and also for the concern I have that I reach my rightful home in my second (eternal) life to come.

            And when John (that’s F. John Surells to be more specific), Ralph, and I decided to

“formulate” this book from the input of both ourselves and others, we knew it would probably be a

somewhat discordant undertaking. But our purpose in this book, as Ralph explained it to John and I, was to be the recounting of various incidents which occurred in this city and elsewhere since the publication of our artistic group’s first book “The Same Tapes.” And though I may be repeating myself here, I want to stress once more, that in my opinion, this book, relatively unstructured as it is, is really a tribute to Ralph Hawk. And most of what’s related in its pages will no doubt have been “set into motion” by he and his superiors – his superiors being the masters of the Parallel Reflections earthly reality, be they angels or whatever or whomever.

            And I can only hope that those who read this book will be able to fathom what all Ralph must

contend with here in this city. The artistic types whom he’s successfully relocated here now look to

him for guidance, but their presence in this city has not diminished the definite “rift” which still exists

here between some older south and north side residents. And, to be quite blunt, on the south side, some of those of my parents’ generation are jealous of those who are wealthier and more successful than they, and who live, in large extent, north of this city’s dividing river. And on the north side, and again amongst older people mostly, there is a sense of disdain for those south of the river – those less

successful, and if the truth be told, in many cases, less ambitious as well.

            But the entire “make-up” of this city was radically upset and thrown into confusion when

Ralph Hawk began settling artistic type people here on the near north side of the river. And frankly,

both those north and south of the river didn’t, and still don’t know what to think about some of the

newer faces they’re now seeing around town. And today there are a number of “personality clashes”

in evidence in this city – on both sides of the river. Yet, it should also be stated, that as a rule, those

forty or younger here (on both sides of the river) don’t seem to display the same traits I just

enunciated. They don’t seem to be consumed by either jealousy or disdain as do their elders.

Nonetheless, it’s Ralph’s “lot in life” to “deal with” all the suppositions, accusations, and

rumors which are rampant in this city. And he especially must try to shield those he’s brought here

from the types of ill-will and gossip to which I just alluded. And thus, he functions as a protector of us

who, in my opinion, are “his people.” And he also serves as an agent for many of us; that is, he books

the greater share of all the appearances and performances many of us make. But, what’s most

important about Ralph, to me at least, is that he’s a friend, advocate, mentor, father figure,

cheerleader, and so much more. And thus, we all love him, and we all know he loves us as well.


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