Saying good-bye to LaMirada Bob

Posted on January 11, 2014


Lots of people drop by Torch Lake Views from time to time, leaving a comment here and there.  Regular Readers step behind the counter, pour themselves a cup of coffee, and join the conversation.  But one Regular Reader was always in a category by himself.  LaMirada Bob reigned supreme as the Father of All Bloggers.  Well, of this blogger anyway.  His comments covered the dispatching of fierce muskies with pistols, buying skunk scent from Mel’s, recipes for crow pie . . .  He became a secret blogger himself.  He sent me links to everything he found interesting – and he found everything interesting.  Whenever NASA Science News pops up in my inbox I think of him, and know I’ll be hearing from him soon, one way or another.

One morning in mid-December LaMirada Bob had breakfast with Bonnie his Beloved, fed Amore the little poodle a morning feast that other dogs can only dream of, and read the LA Times.  Then he thought he’d have a nap.  In his sleep, in peace, in a home filled with the love of a good woman and a good dog, he died.

Good neighbors came at once.  Messages flew across the country to Utah and North Carolina and Washington and Texas – and Michigan.  The clan gathered.  We grieved, we comforted each other, we stumbled around in confusion and tended to important matters.

My gifted step-niece Elizabeth made a slideshow from family photos to share with friends after the funeral.  I helped her rummage through Dad’s extensive archive and told her old family stories.  (I love Elizabeth.  She lets me go on, and on, and on . . . and then she makes exactly the sort of remark that Rob the Firefighter is given to making.  It’s bracing.)

Much to my surprise we found some color slides from about 1950.  I don’t remember ever seeing them before, and they came as a gift – balm to my heart.

It looks like we were having a serious conversation - probably about being a responsible driver of that snazzy red vehicle.

It looks like we were having a serious conversation – probably about being a responsible driver of that snazzy red vehicle.

Mom and my little self a long, long time ago

Mom and my little self a long, long time ago

Eventually there were four daughters.  Not one of the color slides, but still one of my all-time favorite pictures.

Sell's Belles in all our glory

Sell’s Belles in all our glory

Who knew that grandchildren could be so wonderful?  Here he is meeting Rob the Firefighter for the very first time.

Dad meets Rob the Firefighter

He loved his long career at IBM, especially the years with the Space Program.  He kept this photo in his office along with all his computers.

Space Shuttle launch

Space Shuttle launch

He enjoyed retirement, too, traveling around the country with Mom in their RV, spoiling the grandchildren rotten.  When Mom died he was . . . lost.  We all were.  Then one fine day he met Bonnie, and a whole new chapter in his life began.  Their wedding seems like yesterday, but they celebrated their 20th anniversary last year.  I bless the day Bonnie his Beloved came into our lives.

DOD and Bonnie his Beloved in Love

As my plane circled LAX I looked down on the vastness of Los Angeles and saw the long concrete canyon with water at the bottom.  That’s the . . . what’s the word I want?  I thought.  The thing – oh nuts.  I’ll ask Dad.  And then I realized for the very first time that I couldn’t do that.  LaMirada Bob won’t be leaving any informative comments on Torch Lake Views anymore, either.  If he does, you’ll know I’ve managed to get a REALLY good internet connection.  But he left me a legacy.  He passed on his love of reading and his endless and inventive curiosity.  I know how to find interesting stuff.  I know that even if you’re only launching a balsawood airplane, you might as well aim for the stars.

Always aim for the stars