A Tribute to Bob
November 8, 2003
On November 2, 1987, I sat in my living room talking
guy I had met briefly, two weeks earlier. We discussed
computers, volunteer activities, friends and even personal
struggles. By the time he left, I knew I wanted to continue
seeing him. I couldn't believe that such a kind and fascinating
person lived only a mile from me!
On November 2, 2003, his soul winged its way to
where there is no more pain or suffering. During the
intervening years, Bob filled my life with talking, walking,
adventure, music, cats, and some of the most wonderful people I
have ever known.
We talked constantly while walking around downtown Newark and
eating at our favorite local restaurants. We shared interesting
tidbits from my mailing lists and his newsgroups. He read to me
from a huge file of meaningful quotes he had collected over the
years, a file he poured over and organized for hours. He began
working on his philosophy of life in the form of what he called
"Wieland's Laws". The one he quoted most often was Wieland's
second law: "The rules favor the rule makers, and if they don't
they'll be changed."
Unless we were under time constraints, exhausted
with pouring rain, we walked everywhere within a mile and a half
from our home. Bob appreciated my desire to be as independent as
possible. He taught me routes to our favorite places, and I
walked in front of him with my guide dog. We even walked to
Burger King in the wind and rain of Hurricane Isabel. During our
honeymoon hiking in Shenandoah National Park, he taught me to
ford streams by walking backwards while I walked forwards,
holding his hands while he instructed me as to where to place
each foot on the rocks until we safely reached the other side.
Although Bob was pleased he had married someone who was game for
his adventures, he got very upset whenever I tripped over a crack
in the sidewalk and fell.
Bob never smothered me by saying, "I don't think you should ..."
He usually did not offer help unless asked. But I knew he was
always there for me. One day I arrived home from work nearly in
tears, explaining that I had made it but was uncertain about
crossing the street in the dark and feeling very afraid. He
replied, "Whenever you feel that way, call me. I'll come."
Although Bob and I were content to hang out with
no matter what we were doing, we were especially happy when that
time was spent attending local concerts. He introduced me to
some wonderful Celtic, old time and bluegrass performers. But
his greatest passion was well-done a cappella. We supported
every one of the University of Delaware a cappella groups, and
Bob was delighted to experience this style of singing becoming
popular among college students. UD's first such group, the
Golden Blues, was formed in 1989, the year Bob and I were
Bob introduced me to so many wonderful people through
friends and volunteer activities -- some technical, some musical,
all very warm and kind. He also introduced me to cats, who I
discovered are much more loving and affectionate than the
independent creatures I had thought they were.
When Bob saw a need, he filled it whenever possible.
last two acts of kindness come to mind. He sat in the Post House
with me one Saturday morning, watching a friend try to make up a
route for her teenage daughter's activities. They were having
trouble because they were using the small cut-up maps from the
phone book. "Do you need a map?" Bob asked. He brought one in
from the car. They spread it out and had their problem solved
within a few minutes. He recently solved my concern about
crossing the street in the dark with a black dog, by purchasing a
bike light for me to stick on the harness. Unfortunately the
light kept falling off the harness because of the thick leather.
But one day while in the hospital, Bob said to me, "I had a dream
about this. All we need to do is take the harness to Abbott's
Shoe Repair and have them put a loop on it. That will hold the
On another day while lying in his bed, Bob said
"I miss my
life. Does that make any sense?" Bob, I miss your life too, at
least your past life. But I am praying you are as I speak being
surrounded and comforted by all those cats you cared for over the
years -- indoor cats such as Casey, Einsome, Annabella, Graphite,
Mercy, Ginger, Orange and Master Jack. I hope the outdoor cats
are there as well, even though they never let you touch them --
Mom Cat, Tuxedo Cat, Understudy, Tiny, Beauty and her kittens,
and most recently One Eye. I'm hoping you will at last learn the
answer as to why our indoor/outdoor cat Orange and my guide dog
Elsie were such great buddies.
Bob, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the sixteen years we
spent together, and I will love you always. I promise to
remember as much as I can of what I learned from you, to continue
walking, working, singing and enjoying life. I will leave you
and everyone for now with one of your favorite expressions, "Have
another day." [Beverly]