Today was one of the first days I felt really far from home. From California, it’s a chunk of flying to get home. From Australia, it’s literally halfway around the world. It takes 24 hours of continuous flying to get to home from here to see family. I got news today that my uncle had passed.
Bob was always a unique character in my life. As a kid I remember him significantly using hyperbole to make everyone around him smile. He was an excellent cook but had me convinced that the microwave was a secret to his culinary success. I can remember joking back and forth with him trying to understand his point of view. We always had a unique way to shake hands that was just between us. I always appreciated that as a kid.
As I got older Bob was always one of those guys who made time to just go hang out. It wasn’t structured. It wasn’t meant to be. We didn’t see each other all that often, but when we did it was always rich. Sometimes we’d go catch a beer. Other times we would go bicycle riding. I remember him having grand visions of biking out to the end of Anna Maria Island one summer. Neither of us realized how far that was and how windy and hot it would be that day. None of that really mattered though. We just shared the excitement of riding our bicycles north to experience the world on our own power.
I didn’t see it at the time, but Bob and I shared two foundational art forms in our lives. Bob was an artist in all that he did. He was a photographer by trade, and innkeeper by choice, and a devotee to finding the optimum in life. I can remember my trip to Florida about 10 years ago and seeing his studio, his work, his approach to the camera and vision for life. As I got deeper into appreciating photography as an art form our connection deepened. I loved sharing my approach to the art, hearing his criticism, and seeing where our approaches differed. It was great to hear the story behind some of his great prints. I always learned things from my uncle Bob.
Bob was also a rider. As a kid I wanted nothing more than to buy my own motorcycle and live life on two wheels. My parents had other plans for me. 🙂 I always loved to hear Bob’s stories about riding his bike up in New York City as I lived vicariously through him. Once I started riding, we had more to talk about. He was a commuter. I was a tourer. I can remember the summer where Bob is let me ride his 1981 Suzuki GS650. I thought the bike was huge at the time and had the time of my life. Although we had vastly different approaches to motorcycling we both shared the spirit of turning into the wind.
Bob was always the life of the party. Bob knew how to host and entertain crowds. Whether it was a small family gathering or a large party, you always left well fed and full of life.
Bob, know that we miss you down here but we know you’re having a blast with everyone up there.
Thanks & Hugs….