Tuesday will be the anniversary of the death of Robert F Beckerle. Bob was my friend. People use the term friend casually, but Bob, along with a very short list of others, understood the true brotherhood of friendship. The days of profound sadness at his passing have passed and now replaced with the true joy of having experienced such a true friendship. Bobs ability to understand what is important on this journey still offers me guidance. Some days I hear him laughing at me for something ill advised I have just done, sometimes he is very serious as we debate things important to us and always I can sense his gentle nature and uncompromising generosity and friendship. He was a rare man.
I visited his obituary today and was touched by something another friend wrote. Because of my move to Canada in 1975, there are many of Bobs friends I did not meet. I wish I had known the lady that wrote the following:
“I don’t remember how I met him, but I remembered him a year later and searched for him, eventually finding him thru his sis. We were ‘a couple’ but honestly, so much more than that as even when he began seeing an old high school crush, we still got together as dear friends.
So one night after a long day on the boat, we went to Sandy’s and Bob asked a new bartender for a large orange juice. The bartender gave him a big glass and Bob asked if that was the biggest they had. The bartender returned with a slightly bigger glass and Bob asked, ‘How about you just fill a shaker?’ and the bartender dutifully returned with exactly that. Bob drank that whole thing and thanked the guy for his efforts. The bartender in total seriousness said, “Man, if you asked me to give you the cash register and turn my back I would have no problem with that. Hell, I would have carried it to your car!’
Bob laughed his always sincere laugh and got up to use the restroom, saying to me as he left, “I don’t know why people always say stuff like that to me”
I didn’t know either. Yet many times while we were out and he’d walk away, strangers would come up to me and ask me if he was as gruff and formidable as he looked. Sometimes I’d just say ‘worse!’ to keep sketchy beer soaked trouble away, but in truth, Big Bob was the kindest, most gentle, loving, sweetest man I have ever known or will ever know. I’m crushed that I found out about his passing from this realm to the better, forever ‘home’ only via the internet. I would have liked a chance to talk ‘once more’, but that’s ok, I can still talk, he can still hear me and if I’m really quiet and listen with my soul, I can hear him too. “