I have been stopping by Ryan's stomping ground (aka the bar O'Laughlin's at XNA) for about three years.
But it was probably earlier this year when I was traveling to and from Arkansas alone that we became close. I found refuge sitting at his bar stool, listening to his dirty jokes, funny stories, and women troubles. I learned to see through his tall tales (like about how a shark apparantly bit him in the leg), appreciate his recent eBay purchases (including a Rocky Horror Picture Show costume), and admire the sensible passion he has for fixing up old cars (except for the time I saw him sitting in a car, in the pouring rain, that did not have a roof).
He is far from your usual man. In fact, the first discussion we ever had was about a pie he had just made, and how much he enjoyed baking pies.
Ryan is someone who makes you feel immediately comfortable, happy, and at home. He pours a pretty good vodka soda, and more importantly, he is such a joy and so much fun. I just wish he would bring his weiner (aka dog) into the bar more often! He was specifically a good friend during the difficult days of my sister's battle with cancer, when there were no friends around to talk to about her condition. Without fail, he'd always ask about her, with the most caring and understanding expression. And he's happy to walk back and through security to make sure I get a delivery pizza when I'm starving!
Ryan, you touched my heart. Thanks for all the care you've shown me.
PS You make one sexy Elvis...