Right on, Bob. Right on.

A guy my parents used to pal around with recently died. He dropped dead of a heart attack. To say it was a shock is an understatement.

I don’t think we give the proper due to the adults who are around when we’re kids. It’s not like Bob and I had a relationship … but he was kind of a spare dad. Like, I didn’t need him but he was around and it was good.

A few years ago, my mom and auntie were having dinner at a restaurant in their hometown. Neither of them had lived there in 50 years, but my aunt couldn’t stop staring at an elderly man across the room. Finally, she walked over and said, “I’m sorry, but I feel like I know you.”

A gentleman, he put out his hand and introduced himself. Turns out he was one of my grandparents’ best friends from 50 years ago. All the other “grownups” were gone, but he was left, and he remembered. He was one of my auntie’s people. They were both delighted to find a thread from a past that seemed far away.

I don’t have any crazy tales about Bob saving me from lions or giving me a kidney. He and his wife would play Trivial Pursuit with my parents and another couple. They would laugh and argue and be raucous. Raucous within limits – as a banker, Bob was rather measured. Like my dad.

Bob might have been measured, but he was happy to laugh at himself. This is a story he told a million years ago:

I was about 4 years old the first time I used a urinal. We were out for Sunday dinner and Dad took me to the men’s room. We did our business, and then I ran back out into the dining room. I yelled for the whole room to hear: “Guess what? Dad let me pee in the sink!”

I hadn’t thought of this in years. But not long after I learned of his passing, I thought of this tale and laughed like a drunken hyena. Thanks, Bob. Thanks for being one of my people.

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  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) February 28, 2019 at 6:02 am

    Delightful story from Bob and a wonderful tribute to him.

    • Reply Becky Brown March 11, 2019 at 1:46 am


  • Reply Ernie February 28, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    I remember being at the mall with my mom when I was a preteen. My mom introduced herself to someone at the next rounder of clothes. ‘You look familiar. Are you from the south side? Did you go to high school at Vis?’ Sure enough, they knew each other. Or knew each other’s siblings, etc. I totally get what you are talking about – my parents’ friends having a presence in my life, remembering them getting together, etc. Love the urinal story. RIP, Bob.

    • Reply Becky Brown March 11, 2019 at 1:46 am


  • Reply Kari Wagner Hoban March 4, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Aww, Bob sounds like good people. We are at the stage in our lives when this shit starts happening and I don’t like it one bit.

    • Reply Becky Brown March 11, 2019 at 1:46 am

      I don’t like it, either!

  • Reply Susan Sparks Kinnan March 9, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Thank you for writing this. Bob was a big part of my life growing up and still was as an adult after I got married and had children. He still checked in on me to see how we were doing. He was one of the kindest, funniest and most caring men I knew. He will be truly missed

    • Reply Becky Brown March 11, 2019 at 1:45 am

      My mom just told me stories about Bob getting folks to go to The Winds, or coordinating teepeeing Denny Palmer’s house for his birthday. We’re all better for knowing Bob, and I’m so glad you enjoyed this special relationship with him. ❤️

  • Reply melissa March 24, 2019 at 12:03 am

    He sounds like a good person. Those losses, the old family friends, the people who knew you from BEFORE, it’s so true what you say. We don’t stay connected to them, but we ARE connected.
    I’m sorry.

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