Goodbye My Friend8:12 AM
This weekend found us traveling to San Francisco, to a Buddhist Church, to say goodbye to my good friend Bob.
I met Bob in 1997 at a Giants-Rockies baseball game at Candlestick Park. My cousin lived in San Fran and I bought tickets to the fireworks game for us. I had torn the tendons in my right ankle and had a Rockies purple cast on my foot. My plan had been to cover the cast with autographs from Rockies players (It's a good thing it didn't happen, that cast was disgusting!). But instead I met Bob. He was sitting there in a Rockies jersey and we started talking. We talked the whole ball game. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. And we emailed just about every day since.
I graduated with my Masters degree in December of 1997 and Bob flew to Denver to help me celebrate. I went to work at the airline in 1998 and Bob became my best travel buddy. We did some wonderful and crazy trips, but we had fun so that was all that mattered! One year, we went to Vermont for fall foliage. We stayed in this wonderful little B&B and just wandered the back roads of Vermont. This was back in the days of film cameras. Bob took 15 rolls of film. 15! When he had the film developed he had doubles made. I had a stack of photos an inch thick of trees! He told me he couldn't help it, it was his ethnic weakness!
Our best trips were our sports related trips. We most often went on baseball trips. We would try to find a place where we could watch a major league game and minor league game in close by cities. We also went to several Women's NCAA Final Four basketball games around the US. Bob always picked up "loot" at our games. He would buy something for himself, but he was a very generous soul and bought stuff for his friends. His suitcase would be bursting at the seams. That same suitcase would be bursting when he would come to Denver to visit. I would pick him up at the airport and he looked as if he was invading a small country!
Bob was Japanese. His parents were interred during the war and lost everything. Bob was a very humble man. He almost never talked about his accomplishments. He had been a Captain in the army. He was a highly respected Bio-Safety officer who worked at Stanford and Berkeley. And when he wasn't working at major universities, he was consulting with them, often not charging the full amount for his services. Why, because he said he didn't really need the money.
Bob was born and raised in San Francisco. He was very proud of his city and loved to show it off. Whenever I had a layover, he would pick me up at my hotel and we would go into the city for dinner and a mini drive around town. I saw him in May. I had a layover on a Thursday. He had mentioned he wasn't feeling well and had a doctor appointment that afternoon, but he would be by to pick me up after. I was waiting for him when he pulled into the parking lot. I was shocked and a little scared by his appearance. His doctor had made him a cardiology appointment for the following Monday and Bob was feeling hope. We had dinner and talked about his recent visit to Chicago with his girlfriend Patty. Bob dropped me back at the hotel and I told him to take care of him self and if he needed anything to call me and I would hop back on the plane. I got a message from Patty on Sunday to call her. I knew. She had talked to Bob Friday night, but he never returned her messages on Saturday. After a worried phone call to his niece, she and her mom found Bob. He went to bed on Friday and never woke up.
On Friday after we arrived in San Fran, we did our own version of the "Bob Tour" around the city. And in a tribute to our friend we wore our baseball jerseys to his memorial service. Bob would have been tickled pink.
Bob was a kind, generous, funny, warm & caring man. Bob had a connection with every person he encountered. I am a better person for having this man in my life. I will treasure the memories of the crazy fun trips we had. I will miss him every day.
|Bob at the Final Four in Denver- 2012|