Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bob is Gone

My ex-neighbor Bob died Monday.

I say ex-neighbor because he lived near Sarasota, Florida, and before then he lived across the street. However, I think his legal residence is/was probably still across the street where his ex-wife lives. He came up two or three times a year to do maintenance of the house and do several quick jobs as a boat engine mechanic.

Bob was 57 years old when he died. He was a hyper, full of energy, and walked at a fast pace, like trying to be the first in line. He talked loud and four letter words blasted from his mouth like – well, Bob.

Bob is the reason we have a post office box instead of a street mailbox. He backed out of his own driveway at least four times, probably more, and knocked down our mailbox. All but one time he admitted he did and replaced the mailbox. The one time he said he didn’t, he was right, he didn’t, but his son, about 8 or 9 at the time, said he did it (the son) . He said something to the effect, “Remember Dad? I was playing in the truck and it started rolling backwards and it ran over the mailbox and you had to drive it back in our driveway?” Bob, said OK, OK, he will replace it. We got tired of going through the hassel each time and decided to make life simpler and get a PO box.

Through the years we had several disagreements. I won’t rehash them, it serves no purpose.

An elderly couple moved next door. The man was Jim. Jim was an old grouch. Jim and I got along great. Jim and Bob got along great. So, in a way, Jim served as a catalyst for Bob and I to mend our differences.

About two years ago Bob moved to Florida, which was for him going to where his trade would most benefit him, working on boats. For the past few years he had come up and fixed and repaired things around his ex-wife’s house. He probably spent about 4 to 5 weeks a year fixing holes in the walls (don’t ask) and other mishaps that the family has done. When he was up from Florida he always made a point to visit me. We share the same type of wit.

Jim died last February.

Just before Christmas while I was cutting grass I saw Bob walking towards me in his hyper fast pace and he shook my hand. We talked a while and he said he was feeling tired. “Not you?” I joked with him. He said, he was 57 years old and felt much older. I told him he was still a baby… and added “a baby with a mustache.”

Christmas day the house next door to Bob caught on fire and thanks to my son Adam and Adam’s friend Savvy the house was saved. Adam banged on the door to get them out and Savvy called 911. When all the police cars and fire trucks were on the street Bob came over to get the details. I jokingly told him it felt good didn’t it, for all police cars on the street and he didn’t have a thing to worry about. He laughed. Once, his house was surrounded by police, but that is another story.

He told me a man around the corner came to see him the other night, about something he didn’t say. They almost came to blows and Bob was daring the guy to hit him, which he didn’t. Bob was hoping the guy would hit him and he could call the police on him. The guy also runs a big gambling operation out of his house, Bob said.

It got me thinking that Bob never has been one to avoid face to face confrontations. I wonder if one of his face to face confrontations cost him his life.

Bob died on Jim’s birthday. He will be missed.

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