Friday, May 27, 2016

Tribute to Lucky by Keith Carnes

My brother in law wrote this about my dad and posted it on Facebook. I love it so much. He really captured who my dad was and I am very blessed to be able to share it with you as my own words will not come.

First off, thanks to all the friends and family who have offered their thoughts and support to the Tomblin, Davis, Carnes and Walter families. The FB posts, calls, and texts are greatly appreciated a truly helpful during this time. I’m not much of a FB poster, however, I think this may be the best way to be heard on this subject. As many of you know, my Father-in-law Lucky Tomblin passed away on Tuesday. What you may not know is due to his fight with Lewy Body Disease we really lost a little bit of Lucky’s true essence every year then month then day due to this brutal form of dementia. I, like so many of you, was fortunate enough to know Lucky several years before the disease really took hold. And, although I will cherish every moment I spent with him, those are the years that really stand out for me. There are way too many stories to tell but a couple I would like to share.
The first time we met was summer of ’91, I was in college at SWT and my friend Dama Gregg had introduced me to her friend Tiffany Tomblin a few weeks prior. We were all out on the town with friends until someone decided at about 1am it would be a really good idea if we went swimming. Like you do….at 1am. Tiffany said, “we can go to my parents house!” Now…..not having met her parents, I remember thinking, #1. Ummm it’s 1am and you want to go to your parents house? Are they out of town? (they weren’t). Are they cool with this? #2. Do you live there? (no, she had her own place) #3. I really like this girl and she wants to go swimming at 1am, with me. I’m in!
So there I was, 20 minutes later on this ranch outside of San Marcos sitting in the hot tub with Tiffany and friends for a few minutes when a blue Ram Charger SUV drove up. “Oh, that’s my dad” Tiffany said without any hint of worry in her voice. Ok….here we go I thought….I’m in HIS hot tub with HIS daughter at 1:30AM. What could possibly go wrong??…. He came walking up, big smile on his face, knelt down, gave Tiffany a hug and turned to me, stuck his hand out “they call me, Lucky.” Perfect. Then he went inside after telling everyone how good it was to see them again or meet them and…. have fun. I remember thinking, man that went better than expected and how interesting it was that it didn’t even strike him as weird or upsetting that we were at his house at that hour and…that guy was out as late as we were!
Another time in college, my roommate got a noise complaint filed on us from the downstairs neighbor for stomping his feet too loud. That’s another story for another day. However, when I got back from class that afternoon there was an eviction notice on my door and we had less than 24 hours to vacate the property. Tiffany was with me and said, “let’s go see my dad.” I had met him a couple of times in passing and maybe spent a total of 30 minutes with him. I was not looking forward to going to see Lucky with this issue because I did not want to impose on him and mainly I was embarrassed to be in this situation and I would really prefer the dad of the girl I really liked didn’t know about it. We went to his law office inside the Fire Station Studios. As we walked upstairs and down the hall, there were pictures of famous Texas musicians on the walls with Lucky. Stevie Ray, Willie, Jerry Jeff, Ray Benson, Jimmy Vaughn, Doug Sahm, Delbert McClinton, Gary P. Nunn and so on and so on. Cool. I thought you said your dad was a lawyer? Then there was a huge picture of some guy pretty damn fit in a leotard with face paint obviously taken during some dance production. Who’s that? Oh..that’s my dad. It was taken while he was performing his rock opera, 13th Millennia, that he wrote and produced. What? I though you said your dad was a lawyer?
Then we went in his office and I was greeted warmly like and old friend and I truthfully and embarrassingly told my sad tale of woe. He was immediately on my side but he barely knew me. He asked a couple questions, and then called Betty the apartment manager. Poor Betty. Without notes or any research he quoted eviction law to her, though this was not his area of practice, informed her in no uncertain terms despite her wishes that she would not be evicting this upstanding poor young college student just trying to get his education. Awesome. He spoke well of me and my character, and resolved the situation. I was impressed and grateful. That was my first glimpse into his intellect, his championing of the wronged, and his vast diversity of interests and knowledge.
Three years later Tiffany and I were married and I became an official member of the Tomblin family, although I already felt that way years before. I was always welcomed and included and loved.
Lucky was a traveler and self-proclaimed “groover”. He not only viewed travel as a chance to see new places but as a chance to meet new friends. He never expected that someone wouldn’t want to be friends with him. As best I could tell, he was right. He had friends all over the world. I saw it countless times, within minutes of meeting someone he was making plans with them to see them again or go on some adventure together. It wasn’t like the way some people say great to meet you we should do this again sometime. It was ACTUAL plans that he would put in his calendar and they provided him (and myself sometimes) with many fantastic adventures.
He was extremely generous. There are many many stories of Lucky hearing of some social issue or person in need anywhere in the world and I heard him say EVERYTIME, “What can we do to help?” And he did. That was the true essence and spirit he embodied was helping others. Either by financial contribution, organizing a fund raiser, benefit concert, offering his home, his time, his contacts or championing their rights in the court of law.
My friend Lucky and I and our family traveled the world together, fished, hunted, snorkeled, rode motorcycles, played guitars, sang, smoked Cuban cigars, negotiated business deals, competed in golf, horse shoes and bocce ball, made dirty jokes, laughed and laughed, and had intense passionate discussions about politics, music, religion, law, and civil liberties. Lucky was a swirling vortex of charisma, generosity, friendship and adventure that you couldn’t help but be drawn into and I am a better man because of him. I am forever thankful of the time we spent together.

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