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Two Guys I Worked With - Gone Now

Charlie. I worked with Charlie for 14 years. He was a little older than me, did the same job. Sure had the "highs and lows" - he must have been manic-depressive or bipolar or something. He'd blow up, but remained a good friend. Charlie was big, had to be 350 lbs. or 160 kg. A very good drummer, he could work magic with just his fingers and thumbs on a table. He said nobody in his family ever lived past age 55. Colon cancer. At first, there was some steely resolve to fight, but it quickly leached most of it out it of him. He was correct about age 55. 

Bob was a mechanic, and didn't work "on the road." At that time, it was somewhat like being in the military for most of us - we had our rank, our chain-of-command, and our missions (not to mention our egos). Bob was at peace, competent, relaxed, quiet. He was a little hard to understand - he spoke softly, perhaps slightly muffled, as if with a small speech impediment, but always with good humor and a twinkle in his eye. I'd see him a few times a year, when we were back from a tour of work. Always wore a red bandanna around his head. 

He was as purely good-natured as anybody I've ever met. This was in the days before cell phones, and in the repair shop there was a pay phone that was enclosed with sound-dampening material, so you could hear over the din. One time I lost my wallet - that cold, nauseating feeling - I'd left it in the little sound-booth.  After searching the grounds for two fruitless hours, I came upon Bob, approaching me with the most honest smile. "Are you missing something?" he said, holding out the wallet. No games, no sarcastic comments, he was just glad to help. 

And then one time he wasn't there. "Bob died - he had leukemia." I hadn't known; I don't think he told anybody, maybe a boss right at the end. Oh Bob.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016

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Date: 4/7/2017 10:45:00 PM
Sooo good Doug:) Your words "he was just glad to help" conveys the 'salt of the earth, just really good people aura' of "Bob" and "Charlie". Back when a handshake was a man's bond, always ready to lend a hand. I fear we are losing the humanity within us, everyone is so guarded. I know a couple of 'oldtimers' I meet with once a month. I love their stories of life in diamond mines and forest camps. It's sad to lose them, your poem expresses the 'heart' of an important generation beautifully.
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Doug Vinson
Date: 4/8/2017 10:18:00 AM
Lynn, it's a truism that people are always concerned with the younger generations and where we are as a society. Even if we are in a grand swing one way or the other, I think that things are rarely as bad (or as good) as they look. Not that that will necessarily help in the short term. : P
Date: 12/4/2016 8:51:00 AM
reading your stuff sure beats watching the "news"
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Doug Vinson
Date: 12/5/2016 12:57:00 AM
Hey John, thank you, kind Sir.
Date: 12/4/2016 8:44:00 AM
Thanks, Christina. Long time ago, now....
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Date: 12/4/2016 2:36:00 AM
Sensitive portrayal, especially of Bob.
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