I know I promised an Adventures at the Ren Fest post, but there’s something else I need to write about first. My friend Keegan Rice passed away this last Saturday. He was 27 years old, and I’ve known him for more than half of my life.
Keegan and I became friends in our middle school knitting club, of all places. We lived fairly close together, so we had the same late bus stop. Our shared love of the theatre made us best friends, since we both had aspirations for show biz. His were way more grounded, of course, since he could actually act, dance, and sing, but he never turned down a part in the videos I made on DV tapes and Windows Movie Maker.
We stuck together through all of the high school misadventures. He joined me at countless family celebrations and trips. Then he went off to Cincinnati for school, and I stayed here to go to KU, and communication fell off a little bit. I visited him there one summer. He had a theme park show gig at Cedar Point, and I went to see it. We rode the world’s largest wooden roller coaster during his break.
Then the only place I started seeing him was the Renaissance Festival. We always went together in high school, so it was a little fitting. We’d catch up, we’d talk yarn, we would make plans to get together to knit, and then the schedules never lined up.
The last time I saw Keegan was late in the season last year. He came to visit me for a spinning demo. He told me how much he loved the blog, and that I should talk about this crazy poodle that walked by in the next Ren Fest post. He picked up this gorgeous skein of gray Mini Boomer that I had my eye on. The two of us have always had great tastes. I told him to call my mom, and he said we’d all get together to knit.
The last time I thought about Keegan was last week. I was watching Moulin Rouge, a movie he introduced me to, and working on a Wingspan, a shawl that looks like wings. Keegan’s favorite aesthetic of the whole movie was this Moulin Rouge dancer that dressed like a viking wearing these off-white wings. I thought, I should show him this when he comes to see me at Faire. He would love it, and it would be perfect for that gray yarn if he hasn’t used it yet.
I don’t know why I didn’t just call him then. I guess the annual Ren Fest visits just seemed so sure, he never missed one season I was out there. Now, I’ll never have the chance.
That’s why I really wanted to write this today. Please learn from my mistake. Tell your friends you love them. Make your schedule work to see them when you can. If you’re thinking about somebody, reach out to them then. The next time you see them isn’t promised.
I will never forget Keegan. He was a member of my family, for all intents and purposes. And fifteen years was too short of a time to have with him, but I’m trying to appreciate that I got any years at all.