The Water That Carried Them Away

Ronnie and Ruby Allen

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Sometimes you know the victim on the news,
­   the water that carried him away.
You played ball together, for as long as you can remember,
­   And shared similar birthdays.
You knew his mom, and that side-eyed grin she’d give you
­   And the water that swept her away.
­ “Keeper of the score,” you called her
­   And then, “Put an extra two points on the board,”
­ You’d say to her before tip-off of the game.
­   “Go on, get out of here,” she’d respond.
­   “It’s time to play.”

Rest in peace Ronnie and Ruby. I can still see your smile, and your mom’s too. Thank you to all in Charlotte County who helped save Ronnie’s son. I remember how proud Ronnie was after his son was born. I can still see him all these years ago, walking in to the gym at Charlotte Court House, with a big smile on his face, his baby wrapped in a blanket in his arms, and the big smile on Ruby’s face when she saw him approach.

jeffrey pillow photoWritten by Jeffrey Pillow, author of the coming-of-age memoir in progress When the Lights Go Out at 10:16, which you can read on this blog as it’s being written. When the Lights Go Out at 10:16 is a story of growing up in small town America in the 1980’s in a teeny tiny town known as Phenix, in Charlotte County, Virginia. It is a story of life and friendship in the face of terminal cancer. Want to read more blog posts? Visit the blog archive. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive updates of new posts by email. Or, follow me on Twitter (I just re-joined).

18 Comments

  1. Jeff, this is so nice as you remember both Ronnie and Ruby. I wanted to share it on FB, but I can’t figure out how.

    • They were good people. I hadn’t seen either in a long time, but they shared the same smile and I remember it well.

  2. Very sorry to hear about your friend and his mom. Simple but beautiful poem.

    • Thanks dm. Back home, everyone knows everyone, so when I heard about the age of the first victim, I knew I would know who it was. It’s been a long time since I last saw Ronnie, but he was a good dude, as was his mom Ruby. She used to run the scoreboard at all the local basketball games back home.

  3. My heart goes out to those devastated by Hurricane Michael. You read these stories on the news and often the deaths mentioned seem so far from you until you read something like this. I love the smiles in the photo.

  4. I came across this post on reddit and want you and anyone reading to know that our prayers are with you. As someone originally from North Carolina we experienced a similar situation just a few weeks ago and there are no words to describe it

    • Thanks Justin. I know North Carolina was devastated, as I’ve seen the photos and have peers that work in the area. Mother Nature is a powerful force and can take away lives and homes so quickly.

  5. Wow! Such a heartfelt post Jeff.You would have been porodog the show of support I the search to find Ms. Ruby. Such sweet souls. Our community is still just in shock. As a dispatcher that I just don’t know how we made it. We had no warning. But in true fashion we were all Charlotte Strong!

    • I’m sure. Even though I didn’t witness the devastation firsthand, seeing the photos of back home and hearing some of the stories of rescue was unimaginable to me. I appreciate all who put their safety on the line to help their fellow man.

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