My first association with Ronnie (no one ever needed to say his last name, you knew) dated to the days when the Atlantic Association (26 clubs ) first held their Winners’ stake at the Bald Eagle Beagle Club. He and Andy Yufer were partners-Ronnie was the treasurer. They were both avid beaglers who wanted Bald Eagle to be a premier club and were willing to dedicate themselves to two propositions-the beagle club and the notion that they would compete with good dogs rather than just another entry. This sounds tediously serious but one could never be quite certain that they were serious beaglers or a traveling comedy team. Bald Eagle was short on help to tally-ho rabbits so they came up with the idea of hiring the local boy scout troop and pay the boys $.25 for each rabbit they tallyhoed. The boys were enthusiastic and when you judged a class you had to keep your horse in a position so that you could see the rabbit when one of the boys yelled. It’s difficult to imagine the treasure trove of pleasure that associated with the ascendency of Bald Eagle to the upper strata.
From these beginnings Ronnie’s passion took him to the pinnacles of beagling associations and successes. He was a driver in a class with Doc Skinner and Dale Pliscott-often driving all night to get from one event to another, always enveloped with an insatiable passion of finding the perfect dog and never getting beyond “pretty damn good.”
Near the end I visited Ronnie in a nursing home in Jersey Shoe @ 7:45 AM. He was in a room by himself and we talked old “war stories” and such for an hour and a half. He said when he was stronger he wanted to come to Swatara and watch dogs run-I said I would come and get him and take him home. Both of us knew in our “heart of Hearts” that this was not going to be. We said those personal things that made me cry for the three hour trip home.
You often hear people talk about “true” friend or “good” friend or “very good” friend. The fact is that friend cannot be qualified-You are either a friend or an acquaintance, which can be qualified and quantified. As Paul Davis likes to say Ronnie never hurt anyone.
The finest thing I can say about Ronnie is that my friend has embarked on his final journey-Godspeed!