This year's IML was one of my best. Had a great time, and truly felt like I was a part of it all. But, it was also incredibly bittersweet. Because it was my first IML without embracing Robert.
A few people saw it proper to host a memorial for Robert during the IML festivities. It was with a heavy heart that I attended, putting the daddy green ribbon on my shirt and taking my place on the side of the room. There were many speeches about what a great man he was. How he was dedicated, with firm resolve, to do what he felt was right. That he loved the leather community through and through. It was said that Robert was strongly opinionated, and communicated those opinions whenever he had the chance. Friends and fellow leather leaders had a lot to say about how it was impossible to be friends with Robert without arguing with him.
I never did argue with Robert. Not once.
But then again, maybe I had a different relationship with him than everyone else. Most others related to him as peers, as a fellow leader in the San Francisco community, as a fellow writer and/or publisher as Robert was for Drummer Magazine, his book Painfully Obvious, and his columns on Leatherpage.com. They related to him as another person with his eyes set on the forward progress of the leather community. As people who had differenting ideas as to where we and it should go. Maybe they just wanted to argue the issues.
Me? I was chicken to his hawk.
I was astounded that this one thing was never mentioned! How much of a dirty old man ole' Robert was. He was constantly trying to get into my pants. Everytime he saw me, he would put his arm around me, and ask when I would see it proper to "do an old man a small favor." He would pass-off my girlfriend at the time with a wave of the hand, stating how it was Boymeat he wanted.
badfaggot asked me after the memorial, when I recounted the above, "Well, did you ever?" I said no, and broke into tears. I always teased, never put out.
I tell friends that when they see something they really want in a leather vending area, buy it, because you never know if you'll be able to buy it again. Well, new lesson - if there is an experience with a person that you have the opportunity to enjoy, take it... because you never know if you will again.
I highly recommend the following websites that Dusk Darkling put together. They offer an excellent lens as to why Robert was such an amazing man.
Robert Davolt and the legacy of Drummer.
Tributes to Robert Davolt.