Search Me!

Think about it...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

HOM: The Other Bob Peters

. . . Not my former PG-88 XO. Bob was a good friend of Vic & Dad, and one of the most likable guys I've ever known. He and brothers Jack, Jerry & Dick knew dad from childhood. Jack worked for the KFD, Dick had the Conoco station on the NE corner of 1st & 1st east, Bob worked for Pacific Produce, and Dick & Jerry started Peter's Cars, first on HWY 2 E and then on Lasalle Rd. Bob was a character. When someone called his home and asked "Bob Peters there?", Bob always replied "No, but we give shaves and haircuts!" He was much like Vic -- even when he was crippled and in pain he laughed. This, BTW, was the Bob Peters I delivered the paving compound to when I worked for the city. He was in a bad car wreck and on crutches for quite a while. He'd met a drunk driver on a corner and his legs were smashed up, while the drunk died at the scene. I ran into him at the old Pony Express, where BoJangles is now, a few months after the wreck. I was breakfasting at a table with some friends and he sat down close by with his friends and Carleen, his wife. He got comfortable and then leaned his crutches against the wall behind his chair and started visiting. When he was distracted, I snagged one of the crutches and reset it so that it was a couple of inches shorter than the other and then slipped it back with its mate. I was waiting out in my car when he left and watched him hobble out the door carrying the crutches, which he was able to cover short distances without using. He paused for a second to say adios to his friends, then mounted the crutches for the trip to his car. He wobbled sideways into the wall, turned, tried walking again, and overbalanced against the wall again. At that point, he stood the two crutches up and compared them, saw that one was shorter than the other, and then looked up and saw me laughing. The last thing I saw in my mirror as I drove out of the lot was Bob shaking the crutch and a fist at me and laughing. A few weeks later, I passed a little green VW on the road out to the farm. I didn't realize it was Bob till he poked the crutch out the window and took a swing at my car as I went by. We were both headed out to Mom's & Dad's, and when we got together out there I laughed at the shortened crutch and he laughed at making me swerve into the ditch. Gordon and I were planning an overnight trip up to the Pioneer Ridge country in the South Fork, and when we got up there found Bob & Carleen had a trailer set up at the edge of a clearcut. At their invitation we spent the night in the trailer instead of under the stars. It was a fun evening, and when we got up the next morning there were fresh elk tracks right by the door of the trailer. That whole area is closed off now. Bob & Dad did a lot of camping together up in the South Fork and out at Thompson lakes. They'd fish and go exploring on their Honda Trail bikes while Mom and Carleen visited and played cards. The last time I saw Bob, he was in the hospital, had been in and out of there for a while. I'd stopped to see Mom, who was in there for some kind of ulcer problem and then I went down and visited with him for a while. He remarked that he hadn't had a very good summer . . . He was sitting up in a chair, and chipper, and joking and laughing as usual, and he died that night. Mom called and broke the news to me the next morning, and I didn't believe her at first. I miss him. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)


Jean&Vic said...

I have to tell you, I have either been in talking to you and listening to you too much, or your stories need you as the narrator, as I swear while I was reading this one I heard you telling the story.
It was a good one too by the way, even if the ending was sad.