In case I haven’t told it enough times, I’ll tell it again … We met in the very first class on the very first day of high school. He was a tough-talking street fighting kid. I was Miss Priss – the good girl. And yet …somehow … it worked.
Our first date was at Shakey’s Pizza on 9th and North Avenue. Must have been an omen because Bob managed two Shakey’s in Longmont and Ft Collins very early in our marriage. When we returned to live in GJ, we purchased the honky tonk piano from the old Shakey’s when they began building the new and not so improved one. That 1908 upright met it’s fate off the side of the Jesse Boyce VW truck during the move to our first real house.
Our first home was purchased before we ever knew the street name. It was a mere lot number. When we found out that we would live on Gardner Way – well, some things are just meant to be.
We happily lived in GJ for 12 years until Jesse Boyce sold and Bob accepted a position with Fred Willis Porsche Audi in Tucson Arizona. Other than a 2-year stint in Northern Virginia, Tucson remained our home. We talked forever about moving back to GJ and buying my childhood home and renovating it – but the thought of not having any grand babies close was just too much. And so we stayed.
My husband was a complicated man. He was also generous to a fault with his love for all kids and his forgiveness of anyone who had ever hurt him. He was brave and faced his illness just as he did any other challenge in life – head on and with humor. Heaven help the poor restaurant servers when they asked if they could get him anything else – “ya got an extra kidney?” Bob was the definition of “juxtaposition”. He would stand up without saying a word and punch a guy right in the face if the guy asked me to dance at the Shack. And he would hold a tiny grandbaby like a delicate china teacup. I loved him equally in a greasy t-shirt while he rebuilt an engine in our front yard and in a black tuxedo at his son’s wedding. He never thought he did anything outstanding in his life – but 4000 young soccer players in Pima County would tell you different.
He called his mother weekly without fail – even the day after he awoke from a coma. He listened to his mother in law tell the same story over and over and over again – a trait he said I inherited. He had his father in law on a pedestal and hung on every word my dad ever said. He loved coaching soccer and refereeing soccer and bicycling. He loved watching movies and listening to Motown music and beautiful Tucson sunsets. He loved talking to his sister, Linda, on the phone and holding the phone out for me to hear her giggles. He adored her and would do anything for her. I once walked in her house and caught him dancing like the Temptations singing backup to Linda.
He was banned for life from driving in New Mexico. And in Colorado, he was still complaining some 40 years later because I made him pull over after out running a state patrol officer in our VW Rabbit on Mother’s Day. While he waited for the officer to catch up, I got out of the car and headed into the restaurant where his mom, Anne worked and handed her a mothers day corsage. She looked around and asked, where’s Bobby? Oh, he’s across the street waiting for the patrolman to give him a speeding ticket. I had purposely left the two boys in the car because I knew they would do me proud – and they did. “Are you going to take daddy to jail? Mommy told him to stop but he wouldn’t. Are you going to shoot him with your gun?”
Yeah, Bob was never afraid to face his consequences. He didn’t think twice about kissing his boys and grandkids … he loved getting hugs and remarked often “Kerri Anne gives the best hugs!” He never hung up the phone without saying I love you to me or the kids or his mom or my dad.
He told me a few years ago, that he wanted to be cremated. When I asked where he wanted his ashes, he told me to throw his ass on a soccer field somewhere. When I told him that I was not just going to throw his ass on a soccer field somewhere, he said he really just wanted to be with Doug and Mims. And so he will be here. With Doug and Mims and Gram and Larry, and with Jay’s and Linda’s spirit.
We were not done being together yet. We still had plans and dreams. But he was tired and his body was worn down.
Honey, my one and only love of my life. I love you and I miss you.
You will always be the best part of me. Rest in peace.