Don Kelly (Grump, Deon)
Maybe, if really fortunate, once or twice in a lifetime one stumbles upon somebody who is truly a great friend, confidant, inspiration, and a joy to be with. Often we fail to realize that blessing until it is gone and we recount the joy they brought, but, sometimes, we can recognize that blessing while those people are here and part of our lives. He had the greatest, most dry, sarcastic sense of humor. He played the part of the eternal pessimist – but he was just playing. He’d do anything for anyone. Although he’d deny it, he did it because he liked people and saw the good in all. He was bright in most all matters and was especially keen on all things mechanical. He could just as easily talk philosophy as he could cam shafts. He loved and knew music. He was an excellent judge of character, and those that entered his chosen circle of friends did so by his choice alone. No one pushed their way into his realm, but, if you got there, he was your friend through thick or thin.
We came from two distinctly different places and met because we rode Triumphs and participated in this forum that has brought so many of us together. We bonded instantly – maybe it was just because of a shared interest in the bikes, but, as one who believes in those sappy notions of fate and Divine Intervention, I believe Don came into my life when I needed him. He served that purpose and much, much more and I’ll be forever thankful. Today I find myself somewhere in the middle of knowing and appreciating Don while he was with us and at the same time feeling I’d neglected to be fully appreciative of such a great friendship until his passing. I knew what a great guy Don was. We spent some time together, but not nearly enough. I tried to stay in touch during his illness, but not hard enough. Sadly, I found out about his death only yesterday – 4 months after. I’m feeling badly about that loss right now, and ashamedly sorrowful for not being a better friend until the end – Like I’m sure he would have been. If you knew him, you feel much like me. If you didn’t know him, I hope you stumble on someone like him.
Don, old buddy, my vision of that eternally perfect place has great roads and equally great weather. The roads are lined with trees on one side and beaches and crashing waves are near the other. There are more bends than your famous buckhorns. Tiki bars and bistros are everywhere – each with great food and even better music. Cool breezes blend with the hot sun, and everyone rides a motorcycle. I’ll see you there and I won’t need any Red Bull! Ride in peace, my friend.
[If you would like to add a remembrance or photo of Don please contact us or send a PM to FriarJohn via the Forums.]