By John King Tarpinian: I am lucky enough to be able to visit Ray on his birthdays, always leaving him a gift or two. The cake had to be quickly removed because there were ants that appeared to be interested in the cake. And no, I did not eat the cake but gave it to the mortuary staff as a thank you for taking care of Ray.
I left a Clark bar (Ray’s favorite), brass horse (representing his first book, Dark Carnival), & the polished coprolite (dinosaur poop) in honor of The Sound of Thunder. Oh yes, I used a box of Dark Carnival matches to light the candles.
After visiting Ray I always go over to pay my respects to others who had influences in Ray’s life. Truman Capote, who was partly responsible for Ray getting his first story published in a mainstream publication, the October 1946 issue of Colliers Magazine, “The Homecoming.”
Also going over to Hugh Hefner, who as a young publisher, serialized Fahrenheit 451 in March/April/May 1954, in Playboy.
Of course, I also visit someone who I tease as being Ray’s chauffeur, Robert Bloch.
It is a pilgrimage I both enjoy making but wish I’d rather be going to Comic-Con or simply having lunch with Ray.