My grandson is pretty torn up about Bob's death. You see, Bob was more than a neighbor, he was almost like a father to him. The little dude always respectfully called him "Mr. Bob", out of respect, and Bob & Rose both opened their hearts and home to him, permitting him to come over whenever he wished. Bob would take him under his wing, would listen to him, would play with him, would show him his shop and his tools. Bob was a real person. If I were a young one like my Grandson, I'd wish for a father figure like Mr. Bob in my life, too.
We had a dog Cocoa, whom we loved, and Bob would take care of her when we went on vacation, rather than board her at a kennel. Cocoa took to Bob like he was her master, and Bob would always reward her with steak bones, which he'd save up for her. There were many a day when we'd find a baggie of dog bones hanging from the front gate, a gift from Bob to Cocoa.
Bob and I drew close; we'd share our hearts, our problems, our troubles, our drink and our food. He was closer than a neighbor, more like a brother but minus the strings that come attached to family. Bob did work for us, and his skill and artistry were always in evidence. Bob would grow vegetables and herbs in his small garden, and would freely share the harvest with us. That's the way Bob was, a free spirit, big of heart, larger than life.
We are grieved and saddened at his loss, yet also feel blessed and privileged to have known him. He was one of a kind, a genuine person in the sense of lacking affectation and facade.
Here's to you, my friend.