grown ups are like that....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

bobby's birthday

This is the story of an ordinary man with an ordinary life. A simple story but a good one.

Bobby was born on March 27, 1941 to a young farm woman who had moved to The Big City when she married. His father was the cheating type, and he was long gone by the time Bobby came along.

Bobby and his mother lived a hard but good life in St. Louis, she working in a war plant while he spent the days with a kindly neighbor in the same apartment building. Later, when he was in school and the war was over, she took a job as a secretary in a flower seed company.

Like all boys he grew and explored and learned, and by the time he was old enough to deliver a paper he was working, too. Pet shops, the Steak & Shake, the green grocer's. . .the list goes on and on. He was never idle.

Yet, he always had time to read. His mind could not rest, and many of his leisure hours were spent among books.

Bobby grew up and became Bob, and he left home to go to college and to explore the country and the world. His travels eventually took him to Denver where a long haired waitress with gorgeous eyes and a beguiling dimple won his heart.

Bob's heart was full when his first born, a girl, came into his life in 1973. He bought a 10 pound box of chocolates for his wife which was so huge she had to split it with all the other new mothers in the maternity ward.

Time moved on and a second girl was born, and his heart swelled with love and pride once again. Like daddies across the nation, and indeed the world, he danced with his precious daughters in the evenings as they watched the fading light of sunset. Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, the Mamas and Papas, and Glen Miller all played softly from the old reel to reel player while each lady in his life took turns dancing with him, faces buried in his shirt so that Old Spice scented the dance.

He was a engineer now, working on satellites and computers in an age when few even really knew what a computer was. Yet, his love of reading never fell by the way side. Books were piled beside the bed and under it, they were in the family room and in the garage. They littered the foot wells in his car and were stacked next to the wires and electronics on his office desk.

His girls grew and life marched forward. It was when they were teens, they think, that he began to write. A Short Story was published in a magazine once. Innumerable notebooks were filled with short hand, his novel in progress. His greatest piece though, in his oldest daughter's eyes, was a letter he wrote to her when she went away for a week on a high school retreat. Too precious to share with others, it sits neatly in a wooden box he made for her once upon a time a million years ago. She only takes it out on occasion, when her heart feels strong and she thinks she can handle it.

Often she cannot. The words, as sweet and full of love as they are, remind her that he is gone.

Gone because he left this world at the young age of 53. He collapsed from a fatal heart attack at a book store, clutching a novel by Edith Wharton.

At least, they tell themselves, he was in his favorite place.

Happy birthday Bobby.

March 27, 1941 - December 2, 1994.