In Memoriam: Joey Weyand

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on August 31, 2012

Joey would slow down on his truck and call out my name every time he would pass the theatre. At first I suspected, or rather thought, it was condescension due to my particular persuasion. How wrong I was.

I once stood out in front of the Roxy with one of those gold foil and bit of ribbon things they put under short-lived potted plants. Joey called out my name as he always did, and at that point (and I am infamous for it), I put the foil on my head and crushed it tight to fit my noggin so as to become a hat. Joey cried out, “I want a hat like that,” so I gave it to him from off my head. He thanked me, put it on his own head, and drove away. He kept it on while driving up Franklin for as far as I could see. He was just that kind of guy.

We would have short spurts of conversation, like the kind I cherish with Dee Boaz on occasion, quick flashes of enlightenment and humor. Joey was a man’s man. I knew he liked me for me and was non-judgmental. He would pull over from time to time, and we would joke, gossip, laugh, swap stories or just engage in some inane banter which would break up an otherwise hectic day of Parks and Rec.

He wasn’t a theatre goer, nor I a biker, but in common we shared a love of Florida. Before he went to Florida on vacation, he said he would like to come and see “that Happy Days.” I wished him well and said I knew he would have a great time. I said the God I believed in never took you on your way to vacation. It was a flip but prophetic remark, which too soon sadly came to fruition.

The newspaper said “he died at the scene.” The scene — ironic. He died instantly on a bike, losing control on Swift Drive — a swift death. I know of a number of good souls who have lived long, long lives in nursing homes. The quick goodbye is a gift and a blessing. Joey was blessed.

I attended his funeral without going near the box, for he had gone to his maker and the shell didn’t have the wide smile, bright eyes and easy contagious laugh.

The minister told a story about Joey’s interview with Mayor Piper. He asked the mayor, “Do you know what is white and sleeps four?” The mayor was silent, so Joey said, “A city truck.” The mayor said he knew that joke, but he didn’t think anyone would have the courage to tell it to him. Joey did … and got the job!

Joey Weyand will be missed, but never forgotten. For life — like theatre — in spite of all of its pitfalls, stumbles, jerks, bumps, dropped cues, missed entrances and losses, somehow manages to still go on.

[John McDonald]

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