Facebook has made our world a bit smaller, and old friends easy to keep up with. I was reminded of it when I read Sonja’s post about my friend Bob being in a medically induced coma. Simply seeing his name caused 35 years to pass quickly. As I spoke with Sonja after his death, she asked if I would write some of my memories of our times together.
Bob was one of the many people I counted as a friend during my years at Kim. We both enjoyed guns, hunting and trapping, along with community involvement.
One of my favorite memories was a time when Bob called me, wanting help in “identifying” an animal he caught in a Victor #2 coil trap. Bob usually caught coyotes, but he was hoping for, as we all were, to catch a more valuable bobcat. I drove out from the church house to Bob and Brenda’s to see what I would find. Once there, the end gate on his pickup was up, but the biggest paw I had ever seen was flopped over the edge of the end gate. I remember his eyes shining and he was almost jumping up and down, as I peered over the side of the pickup at this large mountain lion.
Somehow, he had caught a cat by the toes in a trap that should have had the jaws ripped out of it. We spent the next two or three hours trying to figure out how that cat stayed in the trap. All we could figure out was that she jumped straight up, pulling the rebar stake half out of the ground, then lunged away, bending it in half. The cat tore up lots of ground under the tree, but was never able to get a good pull to free itself. He got to be the champion trapper that year.
When Janet and I went out to see the mounted cat, we had our oldest son, CW, with us. He was only a few months old. CW had this terrifying habit of holding his breath whenever he was hurt or scared. He would just stop breathing, go rigid, then pass out and start breathing again. One of the first times that he did it was at Bob and Brenda’s that night, looking at the cat.
Bob and I had lots of conversations over the years. Along with Gary Campion, we worked on bringing Emergency Medical Care to Kim, driving back and forth to Springfield, taking the EMT classes together. We worked on fire department projects, and all manner of small things that fade from memory over time.
What I suspicion that Bob will be remembered for is his emphasis on community involvement. As a deputy, on the fire department, with the emergency crew, he was always quick to lend a hand. Bob was approachable, dependable, and gracious.
Any time I am asked to write something about a person who has passed from this life, I reflect over all of Scripture to pick out something that personifies their life. With Bob, I immediately thought of a statement made about Jesus. Peter said of him, “He was a man who went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. If I can live my life in a manner that others will say of me, “He was a man who went about doing good”, then I will have lived well. When I knew Bob, I would say, “He did well by others.