In my previous post, I mentioned writing a series of poems to make my friend Rodger laugh. Today, my family held a mini-memorial service for him. It seemed only right to read a few of the poems. And they were such fun, I wanted to share. The rhythms are off with some lines, but they were intended for nothing more than to be silly.
I miss you, Good King Rodger. And I love you. Be at peace, my friend.
The Kingdom of Dyss Nee
Far in the land of Dyss Nee,
Ruled a king so just and true.
Rodger was the name of this king.
He always wore navy blue.
His people were known as technicians.
They followed his keen fashion sense,
Wearing shirts and pants or shorts,
In that blue that was very intense.
Now Rodger loved electronics,
Lighting, sound, and the like.
His technicians were trained with such skills
As focusing lights or placing a mic.
Throughout the castle and the halls,
Up and down the floors,
Cables, cords, wires, and gel
And oh, there was so much more.
The Great Dining Room
That was used for feasts
Was filled to the ceiling
With drapes, folded and creased.
The courtyard so green
Was strewn with fixtures
To light it brilliantly
For Princess Ashley’s mixers.
Across the meadow,
Reaching to a spire,
A giant idol of Mickey Mouse
Was hung upon a wire.
For Christmas was approaching
And then New Year’s Eve.
All must be in readiness,
King Rodger’s big pet peeve.
While the technicians were hard at work
King Rodger could be seen
Cutting gel and fixing things
Painted red when they should be green.
Rodger never complained,
For he loved his people so.
And they loved him, too,
From his head to his tippy-toe.
They all worked together
In peace and harmony.
Technicians are so happy
Here in the land of Dyss Nee.
The Lovely Princess Ashley
The Lovely Princess Ashley was not born in Dyss Nee.
She came from a land that had no sea.
She lived atop a hill snowy white,
She could touch the sun if she flew a kite.
Her mother and father were both very dear,
But for some reason, which was not quite clear,
She wanted to go out into the world
And meet the barons, princes, and earls.
She left her home, Coll Orrado by name,
And discovered a tutor of unbelievable fame.
The man known as Asu, a great intelligence,
Would teach Princess Ashley and give her confidence.
For now she could speak about many things,
Not just castles and dragons and faraway kings.
She could enter a room with style and grace,
But she didn’t seem happy anyplace.
Asu lived in the vast, dry beyond,
Arri Zohn, of which the Princess was quite fond.
But she knew she couldn’t stay.
Her heart had been led astray.
She could learn no more from her teacher.
He just couldn’t seem to be able to reach her.
He suggested the change, maybe a career,
So off she went, into the wild frontier.
A friend told her of a land,
Of happiness, sunshine, and beach sand.
This is how she learned of Dyss Nee!
With all her heart, she wanted to go see.
She crossed the desert, far and wide.
She finally arrived tired and bleary-eyed.
She reached the castle gate
And knocked, waiting for her fate.
The doors flew open and she stepped in,
But she couldn’t hear anything over the din!
A jolly party was being held,
One that was unparalleled.
She’d heard that the people of this land
Enjoyed a soiree great and grand.
Before she knew it, she was caught in a dance,
Whirling and twirling, here and there a glance.
She finally stopped, dizzy, in the middle of the room.
Surrounded by guests, dressed in costume.
She looked about, blushing, becoming aware
Of her torn dress and matted hair.
“I have been travelling, I come from afar.
I must apologize for looking bizarre.
I’ll leave you now. Thanks for the bread.”
Princess Ashley whispered, bowing her head.
A merry laugh filled the space.
To match the laugh, a merry face
Appeared through the crowd and stepped forward.
“My dear, don’t say another word.
You are my guest, I welcome you here.
I’d like you to stay and share in the cheer.
Let’s get some fresh clothing and a place to tidy up.
Then come back downstairs and join in a cup!”
The king was so gentle, sweet and sincere.
Princess Ashley was amazed and to her eye came a tear.
“Kind sir, I thank you. What is your name?”
“They call me King Rodger, one and the same!”
Princess Ashley just smiled, full of relief.
She’d found a friend in this great chief.
With a curtsey, she said to him,
“King Rodger, I’m honored and filled to the brim.
I am Princess Ashley, new to this land.
I hope that you can lend me a hand.
I came in search of something great,
Perhaps you can accommodate.”
King Rodger listened with a thoughtful ear.
He understood why the Princess was here.
She was searching for adventure, excitement, and love.
He hoped his kingdom could provide thereof.
He sent the Princess, along with his maid,
Up to the guest quarters, on a clothing crusade.
For over an hour, Ashley prodded and primped,
At last, she descended, clean and hair crimped.
The gown she had picked was flowing and fair,
A burgundy color, that matched her hair.
She swept down the stairs and into the hall.
Everyone watched as she passed them all.
She went right to the throne and fell to her knees.
King Rodger just chuckled, took her hand, and said, “Please!
You are a Princess, and a guest at that.
I ask you to join me. Now let’s sit and chat.”
As the party went on, the two of them talked.
They sat and stood and danced and walked.
He showed her around the castle so bright.
They came back to the Hall at the end of the night.
“King Rodger, I thank you. You’ve been a great friend.
I’ll never forget this, even in the end.
Now, I suppose I must say good-bye.
I’ll miss you and think of you when I cry.”
“You silly girl, you cannot leave.
You’ve made my court like you on this fine eve.
I need you here, to help me rule.
Doesn’t that sound pretty cool?”
“I’m hip to your jive, Daddy man!
I’d like to stay, since I can
I’ll help you rule your kingdom so fine
Now let us dance and have some wine!”
And so it was settled, Princess Ashley would remain
She was there to keep King Rodger sane.
And since that night so long ago,
The kingdom’s been great and never low!
A smile can be seen on every face.
The banners are made from ribbon and lace.
Rodger’s installed another throne.
And the kingdom knows they’ll never again be alone!
I found out today...quite by accident...that a good friend of mine passed away. I say good friend, but as I think about it, I didn't know that much about him. But our hearts were connected, and that's all that really matters. I scoured the web for an obituary--anything that might have memorialized him--but I couldn't find anything. So I'm going to memorialize him here. Because he was a good man. A GREAT man. And he deserves some tribute.
I don't even remember how I met Rodger. We worked together at Disneyland. He was a union technician in the Entertainment department while I was a young just-out-of-college stage manager. I believe he was my tech on a little show I managed at the time--Aladdin and Jasmine's StoryTale Adventure.
While working that show, another tech flirted with me. Being young (and stupid), I blindly pursued a relationship with that guy. Rodger was there to pick me up when things went south. He talked me through my feelings and supported me in every way.
I loved making Rodger laugh. He had the best laugh! I wrote a series of Dr. Seuss-esque poems about people we worked with. I'd visit him on his shift in the workshop and read the poems aloud. His approval came in bouts of raucous laughter. Those were some great moments.
He took me out once. We saw Star Trek: Insurrection. He gave me a ride to the airport for a trip home--we saw the Hershey Kissmobile on the freeway. He watched my car for me. Before I left Disneyland, he gave me a walk-through tour of the Haunted Mansion as my goodbye gift.
Rodger and I kept in touch with emails and texts. How precious those are today. He would send me pictures of various installations he worked on--Halloween and Christmas, in particular. And I still have all the poems I wrote for him. I called him Good King Rodger, and he called me The Lovely Princess Ashley. We didn't communicate often, but when we did, our words were full of encouragement and love. I could always count on him.
In 2015, I got to take my family to Disneyland. We visited with Rodger in California Adventure as he worked on the Mad T Party. I'm so glad my husband and kids got to meet this man who meant so much to me.
Oh, Rodger, how I wish I could give back to you all the love you gave.
I don't know the circumstances surrounding his passing. I hope it was peaceful. I hope he found rest. And I hope he knows how dearly I love him. GKR, I look forward to the day when I see you again. I know you'll be there. I can't wait to hug you and thank you for getting me through some pretty rough times. You will never be forgotten, my sweet king. Be at peace, dear one.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3