41 out of 42 weeks of surfable waves.
who know me well, and are privy to my scheduling of this weekly
column, know that I typically write the column during the week.
In other words, I jot down little notes to myself, and basically
get ready for the weekend writing surge. Nine times out of ten,
I stick to my planned subject matter. Usually the only time I
stray from the program, is when something unexpected happens.
And most times, the unexpected is not good news. This my friends,
is one of those times.
Paugh passed away this morning.
It is difficult to write these words down, let alone grasp the
reality of what I just shared with you. Linda Paugh, the
beautiful wife of Mike "Zap" Paugh passed away
from cancer this morning. While the rest of us woke to a 6 inch
coating of beautiful, white snow, Mike was helping Linda
transition to her journey to the next world. She is there now.
In God's hands. The grief and sadness once again descends on our
small surf community. This has been one long sad year.
While my intentions were to talk about the RUN of surf
and my movie, there is also another Run that has been happening.
And it's been a Run we could all do without. From Lil Miss
Molly, to Gert Keefe and now Linda Paugh. I
know I am not alone, when I say that it just seems pretty sad
that we can send human beings into outer space, but we can't save
them from cancer here on Planet earth.
get me wrong. The medical field has been amazing. And we are lucky
to be surrounded by many in the medical profession who surf. I
just don't understand why we can't beat cancer. I know about early
detection and let me say this right and here and now. Early detection
is KEY to beating cancer. All you guys who are fast approaching
the 50 year mark, you need to make an appointment for a Colonoscopy.
All you women need to do the self examinations and get a mammogram.
This stuff is no joke. You need to help the doctors and nurses
who will care for you by getting in line to detect the cancer.
Early detection can save your life.
I can do it you can do it.
is a photo of my wife and I on our night stand. It is one of our
favorites. It was taken on September 17, 2005. One of the
happiest days in the seacoast community. It was the day that Mike
and Linda Paugh got married. They took their vows in the
same little Chapel that Cory and I did back in 1987.
The Union Chapel. What a great day that was. Mike and
Linda have been lovers for many years and finally decided
that they wanted to make it legal. They both looked beautiful
We were all so happy for them and for ourselves. The surf community
How sad is it, that a little over 4 years later, that dream ended.
It seems unfair. It seems cruel. It seems impossible. However,
I believe as many of you do, that there is something bigger and
better than all of this in the next world. I believe this with
all my heart and soul. Earlier this week before I heard that Linda
had taken a turn for the worse, I had a chance encounter with
a local seacoast Pastor. Long story short, I met him as a co-worker
who worked with the guy who does my leaf pick-up each year. I
had no idea who he was. So after I had dropped a few F-bombs (I
didn't know he was a Pastor until he was ready to leave my studio)
in his presence. He asked me if I knew where I was going when
I died. I said yes. "Heaven". He asked me how I knew.
I told him.
"You get to heaven by being a good person, and by giving
a part of yourself to making someone else's life better. In other
words, if you sacrifice a part of your life, to help someone else,
then you will be accepted by God." He looked at me and smiled,
and then asked me if 'I wanted to make sure I was going to
heaven' I said sure. I mean why not take the extra backing?
So he basically asked me if I knew I was a sinner. "Absolutely.
No question." I answered. And then he said "And you
know that it would be impossible for you to pay back the sins
you have committed.." I agreed. I mean the thought of all
those "Hail Marys and Our Fathers" was frightening.
He then asked me, if I would repeat a simple prayer accepting
Jesus as my savior. Look I was baptised as Catholic. I had already
accepted Jesus years ago, but thought "sure why not? It can't
So we prayed in my office, With all the crazy surf posters and
surf art, and Marine Corps memorabilia and other Rock and Roll
decadence. It was a simple prayer. I told the Pastor I was still
going to be the same person. I'm not going to change anything
about my current lfestyle. I would still be dropping F-Bombs on
the unexpected, I'd still curse at those who dropped in on me,
and I'd be committing the occasional sin. He smiled and said that's
OK. He then asked me, as he walked out my studio door..."Where
you going when you die Ralph?" And I told him straight out.
"Heaven." Then he asked me how I knew. And I
told him,"because I had accepted Jesus in my life.
He smiled and said, I"ll see you in heaven".
If not for Linda passing away today, I never would of shared
that chance encounter with you guys. The last thing I want to
do is preach about religion. Lord knows (pun intended) I get enough
of you upset with my Political jabs. And honestly, whatever gets
you through your day as far as your beliefs is fine with me. But
I thought it was appropriate in light of Linda's passing.
Mike is going to see Linda again. And Linda
will be watching over Mike. And I know they are both good
people who have helped many others along the way. And I truly
believe with All My Heart And Soul, that Linda is in a
better place, and while it is not where any of us want her to
be, especially her family and friends, and none more so than Mike
himself. She is in this beautiful world. A world without pain
or suffering. A world without war and hate. A beautiful world
with perfect waves, and sandy beaches.
world that will be waiting for us all when our time is up.
Rest in Peace Linda. We will all miss you. We won't ever
forget you and your beautiful smile and laugh. And don't worry
about Michael, his friends and family will watch over him,
as I'm sure you will.
for some of my weekly Global observances:
Tiger Woods? Whoa...whoa! whoa!!!! Nuff said here. That
was some voicemail Mr Woods.
What is it with Celebs? It's like they think they can get away
with anything. My guess is Tiger will be paying for this
for some time. I'm sure you've seen the cartoons and photoshop
scenes. It does not take long. Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen.
So President Obama after almost 80 days since he was first
asked by General McCrystal for 40,000 more troops,
agreed to send 30,000 of our finest men and women into
harm's way. I just wished he wouldn't announce to our enemies
about his exit strategy. Any halfway thinking loser Terrorist
would just sit back and wait a year before attacking, and then
get down to business of being a Coward Loser Terrorist. Let them
guess when we'd be leaving. Michael Moore who sent a personal
pathetic plea to Obama last week, must be throwing up somewhere.
Now there's a disgusting sight.
That would make a good video, that bloated, self centered, multi
millionaire on all fours puking.
Put it on YouTube.
let's face the facts here. The 2009 Patriots are not the
2007 Patriots. They lost to the Saints last Monday
and lost to the Dolphins today. It's over. The Run to the
Superbowl? Ha! Thank God. I can't stand being uptight over a freaking
Football game. There are more important things to worry about.
The 2010 Chris Shipley Local Surf Calendars are now in the shops.
Rest In Peace Linda Paugh!
And a Speedy Recovery to our dear Surf Mom Super Saint Kim Grondin.
Remember PEARL Harbor tomorrow December 7th, 1941.
PLEASE HELP THE NH SURFRIDER FOUNDATION.
*Check out the updated 11-30-09 DROPPING
IN ON RALPH blog Section.
*Molly Video by Joe Carter has been moved to the Community
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic
Of The Week
every week for the last 6 years. **Think about BUYING a Photo
from any of the weeks
on RPTW as a GREAT Gift Idea. A nice framed photo of your favorite
my friends...Surfing Heals All Wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.