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my mate, my friend, my brother, Quapaw

December 28 2009 at 5:43 PM

bo  (Login expat-oz)
High Heid Yin
from IP address


A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,
Cried out to God and murmured 'gainst His Wrath,
Because a sudden wind at twilight's hush
Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.
And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun,
Had pity, whispering to that luckless one,
"Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well --
What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?"
And the Rose answered, "In that evil hour
A voice said, `Father, wherefore falls the flower?
For lo, the very gossamers are still.'
And a voice answered, `Son, by Allah's will!'"

Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward,
Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord:
"Sister, before We smote the dark in twain,
Ere yet the stars saw one another plain,
Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task
That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask."
Whereat the withered flower, all content,
Died as they die whose days are innocent;
While he who questioned why the flower fell
Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.

- Rudyard Kipling

first and foremost, i want to personally thank each and every one of you who reached out to me; you know who you are and i will make time to respond to all of you.

please accept my apologies for not contacting some of you personally - when Tammy broke the news to me, i ran down my contacts list and there are those that were asleep, that i didn't have their number, that i called upon FrankF or Aurelio or Lars to pass the word along. i truly wish that i'd been able to speak with all of you personally.

second, thanks so much for remembering Tammy, Bob's sweet bride, his step-daughter Whitney, and the rest of the Quapaw family in your prayers. i've spoken with Tammy more than a few times, and she's very much in shock, but i've related everyone's condolences, and your support is invaluable.

she unequivocally and very much appreciates everyone's love and concern.

finally, what does one say when you lose the older brother you never had? my limited command of the english language is totally and wholly insufficient to express the loss that i feel, the loss we ALL feel.

it's like a hole blown right through the middle of me, just a big enpty space that will always belong to BBQ.

i know that whatever words of mine pale in comparison to how much he meant to his wife, his family, to me, to the Mods, and to our little and somewhat dysfunctional family of watch idiots.

but mates, he was, is and ever shall be my best friend. i remember the first time we corresponded, i remember calling him from Afghanistan, i remember getting a box with an OP sticker and three bottles of green Tabasco sauce, because i'd told him it was the only thing that made Afghan DFAC food taste better.

i remember how much he loved and respected his wife, how he worried about Whitney, how he opened his home to his in-laws, how much he wanted the people he loved to be happy and safe.

i remember the first time we met face to face, shaking his hand, and feeling as i had always felt, that "this man is your brother, Bo". the travels, the GTG's, the Death Star van in San Diego, the look he gave me when i lost my wallet in SD, the bungled connections, standing in back of Lemmy's kitchen at 0300 trying to help him drink up the rest of the Maker's Mark that Ade bought and thinking "how does he DO it?" as i poured the drink he'd insisted i help him drink down into the bushes...

i remember our day trip to LA, the traffic, the lunch, the good times and missed flights home.

i remember how excited he was to be going to P-Day, i remember arriving in England, i remember dinner at Lem's and the day with the entire crew at Warrick castle, i remember his quiet encouragement when i had to speak for us all that evening in Lemmy's house.

i remember him telling me how much he enjoyed that weekend before P-Day. he really did, and those of us fortunate enough to be there also remember it as one of the higlights of our time with our brother BBQ.

i remember his concern that he was too brusque, that perhaps he'd offended this person or that, i remember his acerbic wit and his caustic sarcastic sense of humor, i remember him getting after me when i'd bungled something, i remember him laughing and joking when one of our little family got rambunctious and he reeled 'em back in.

i remember him getting up with me at 0400, drinking coffee, and heading out to SFO to get on a plane and stealth our way into the NYC GTG. i remember him telling me not to drive so fast, i remember how much he was looking forward to seeing and meeting everyone, i remember his face lighting up when he saw so many of you for the first time or again, i remember him drinking a wee bit too much Guinness, and i remember him passed out in the cab at 0330 on the way back to JFK. i remember him telling me to go easy on the breakfast sandwiches...

i remember his kind words related in private about EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU. i can remember how excited he was to meet so many of you face to face and how self-effacing and humble he was about it, and how many of you her repeatedly told me he admired and respected.

i remember how every time we traveled, we'd joke about how crap my luck is when we did, and then we'd discuss how much he looked forward to meeting someone face to face for the first time, and while the list is way too long to name names, i can tell you that every time he shook a hand for the first time, he was giddy at the thought. i remember talking about all the people he'd had a chance to share a few words with and how much he valued those relationships.

bob inspired me, he lifted me up, he supported me, he scolded me, he joked with me, he made me laugh, he made me THINK, he made me pause and ask myself, "is this the right thing to do?", i remember when we first talked about the code, that unwritten law that gentlemen of character adhere to, and how much i identified with that.

bob epitomized the code. as he would say and has said about so many of you all, "he's a character kinda guy". he walked the walk, he talked the talk, he was a GIANT treading softly amongst us. we're all saddened at his terribly sudden passing, but if there is solace to be had, please know that he passed peacefully.

bob and i spoke many times about how we both wanted to go, how when it's time to have your ticket punched, it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, it's getting punched and you're movin' on. he wanted to go quickly; he did. on the morning of his passage, he got up, prolly smoked a cigarette, had a cup of coffee, i know he fed his dogs, said "mornin'" to his father-in-law, went back upstairs to get a few more zzz's, started dreamin' and never stopped.

i'm glad that he went that way. makes me smile in a sea of tears to know that he didn't suffer, he didn't struggle, he just closed his eyes and rambled on.

i can hear him now, laughing at me in my head, telling me that i'm a big softie - and BBQ, you're right. i am. you had me pegged, brother, pretty much from day one. i'm glad that you had a great Christmas with your family, that you were in good spirits, that you were happy and making a coconut creme pie...

i wish to God that the phone would ring and it be you. i know it won't, but i'm incredibly grateful that we had a chance to speak on the phone Christmas Day. i'm grateful that i answered, and i'm so sorry i cut you short, but happy that we'd planned to get together when i got back to town and down some leftovers at Delta Breeze Trailer Court.

i've got a picture of you in my mind that will stay with me for a long, long time - you in one of your Stetson hats, a hounds-tooth jacket, white button down shirt, blue jeans and your ubiquitous boots, smiling around that lit cigarette clenched between your teeth and three fingers of whiskey within easy reach - laughing, joking, popping off with the most odd-ball colloquialisms, and dealing cards with the rest of God's hooligan sons as you ride that dining car on the long black train to Heaven.

hammer was right, mates, bob's not with us but he won't ever leave us, and one day we'll all take our seats next to him at the big GTG in the sky.

i love you brother. God speed you on your journey.


edits: spelling. bob'd want me to fix 'em.

This message has been edited by expat-oz from IP address on Dec 28, 2009 6:35 PM

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