Saying Goodbye to King Brad
By Michael Ray
Brad Herron, AKA King Brad, is moving to Idaho. This is after spending much of his life in Laguna Beach; not just Laguna Beach but at a particular cove in Laguna Beach. He was king of that cove. Now he is moving to Idaho where his two daughters live with their very young children. Brad wants to be there for them as they grow.
Locals Janeen Laudenback and Brad Teschner organized his goodbye party at the cove itself. It was a feast.
At the height, some 125 people were there. None of us want Brad to leave. He has held us together, created a sense of cove identity as though we’re a big family. Heck, because of King Brad, we are.
We call him King because he ruled the cove. For example, if you are sitting with the group, no phone calls were allowed, and definitely no business calls. One time, a new guy named Don took an obvious business call while sitting with about six of us; he kept talking even though he received the looks. Suddenly, King Brad sprang up and in a fury (well, as much a fury as King Brad can muster) stomped back and forth, yelling, “no business calls at the beach, no business calls at the beach, no…” Don was so scared he departed to the far end of the cove and never returned.
King Brad knows everyone’s name, and their kids’ names, and their parents, grandkids, sisters and brothers, and where they lived, what they do for a living, and all the other details only a natural born leader possesses.
King Brad hangs art, light fixtures and so on for a living. He was always busy. One of his clients regularly flew him to New Hampshire for work there. Another is a local museum. I collect art (well, stuff I like that is called art by some) and awhile back, wanted to rearrange them. There were at least 60 pieces. Brad did all of it.
When he finished, I asked him how much I owed. “Nothing,” he said. I replied, “No come on, it took you two days, you don’t work for free.” He told me he does for friends and to forget about it.
One of the local single ladies, Laura, several years ago had a baby. Brad helped her return home from the hospital and lived at her home for the first two months to help her. All for free. You can’t buy that.
In Idaho, he intends to become the King of Hot Dogs and is busy inventing what he claims will be the best hot dogs you ever tasted. He wants to sell them from a stand in the local park in Idaho. He even has invented the perfect hot dog cart. It is just a matter of time before his hot dogs go national.
At the party and near sundown, we turned off the music and several people said a few words about Brad. Jessica Walker, the only person who possibly can take his place (her personality is so strong she could lead the next revolution), didn’t want to talk to the group because she would cry. But she said a few words, hugged him, and then cried.
When King Brad talked, he said his fondest hope was for other people, other families, and people not yet alive to come to the cove like he had, and enjoy their time there as much as he had. That was Brad.
It was never about him.
Michael is Co-Founder of Orange County School of The Arts and The Discovery Cube.