Saying goodbye to a friend – “The Gathering”

Bob and Char surrounded by family and friends on their wedding day.

Bob and Char surrounded by family and friends on their wedding day.

It was a cold, damp, windy day Friday morning as we rose and realized that today we would be saying our final goodbye to our friend, Bob.

Visiting Bob and Char at their beautiful mountain home. (Randy, Lana, Bob, Barry and Char)

Visiting Bob and Char at their beautiful mountain home. (Randy, Lana, Bob, Barry and Char)

Char had arranged for family and friends to gather at the North Carolina Arboretum at 5:30pm to enjoy an evening of sharing each other’s little pieces of Bob’s life history.

Bob, Randy and Barry four wheeling on Cole Mountain.

Bob, Randy and Barry four wheeling on Cole Mountain.

We decided to spend the few morning and afternoon hours before the gathering to take a walk down Biltmore Avenue and soak up a bit of Asheville’s history.

Barrels and barrels of yummy candy.

Barrels and barrels of yummy candy.

The very first place we stopped was the Mast General Store.  As soon as we walked in the door my mind was traveling back in time to an old general store on Rt. 50 in Chantilly, Virginia called Down’s Store.  Until it burned down, I bought all my holiday hams and turkey’s at Down’s.  My daughter Jennifer still has fond memories of going to pick up our Christmas ham and visiting with Santa.  My favorite section of Mast’s was the barrels and barrels of old-fashioned penny candy.  Of course, they cost more than a penny now, but who cares.  I picked up a basket and reached in and grabbed handfuls Mary Jane’s, Bit-o-Honey’s and Randy’s favorite, Sweet Sesame candy.

Statue "Childhood" in Pack's Square Park

Statue “Childhood” in Pack’s Square Park

Once we were back out on the street we walked first down one side for several blocks and then walked down the opposite side of the street stopping periodically to look in windows of many of the local eaterie, art galleries and stopping at Pack’s Square Park.

Once again Randy was blown away by the amount of taps at the tavern.

Once again Randy was blown away by the amount of taps at the tavern.

We spent some time looking over the various sights at the park and then moved on to Pack’s Tavern for a small lunch and hopefully another interesting beer or ale.   We wanted to try a new beer and were not disappointed when we saw the restaurant’s beer/ale list.  I chose Pisgah Pale Ale and Randy chose Pisgah Valdez Stout from Black Mountain, North Carolina that did not disappoint.  After lunch we spent a few more moments finishing our walk to the end of the street stopping at the Jordan Ahlers Gallery enjoying the three floors of wonderfully diverse art.

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Enjoying lunch over looking the harbor at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

We returned to our hotel and freshened up and drove to the arboretum.  The arboretum was a beautiful setting for this gathering of family and friends.  The room was beautiful with a fire in fireplace creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, a guitarist playing soft music in the background, and a wonderful array of food and beverages.

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Outside a Subway restaurant in Antigonish, Novia Scotia Bob’s picked and presented, in a romantic moment, a beautiful flower to Char.

What caught my eye immediately was a video presentation on the wall above the fireplace.  As I watched the pictures projected on the wall, one of my very favorite  pictures of Bob and Char kept popping into my head.  I took this picture on the last motorcycle trip Randy, me, Bob, Char, Barry and Lana took to the CanadianProvinces.   It is the picture (above) that I will keep in my heart.

Stopping for a delicious lunch in Amish country at The Kling House restaurant

Stopping for a delicious lunch in Amish country at The Kling House restaurant

Once everyone had arrived and were seated, several family members said a few words and then everyone was invited to pass a microphone around in round-robin fashion to say a few words.   Bob’s brother told the gathering that Bob had sent him a myriad of business cards over the years but his favorite, which he still carried in his wallet, had Bob’s name and one other word, “Adventurer”.  Yes, indeed, Bob was an adventurer, a husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and to us, a friend who will be missed very much.

Mary

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12 Responses to Saying goodbye to a friend – “The Gathering”

  1. Randy says:

    I could not have said it better myself……………………

  2. Deb aune says:

    I did not know Bob very well but he always seemed to be someone who lived life to the fullest and yes, definitely an adventurer.

  3. Paula McMahon says:

    Thanks so very much for sharing all the pictures and memories. He was always so friendly–a really nice guy.

  4. Sequin says:

    Thanks, Mary, for the photos and memories of Bob. I remember him from nearly 20 years ago when I enjoyed quite a few fun and interesting conversations with him. As I recall, he wanted to go live on a sailboat…but don’t know if he ever did. From the photos, looks like he “sailed” on his motorcycle…and enjoyed a great retirement in Asheville with his wife. May he rest in peace.

    • Hi, Sequin–Oh, yes he did. Not only did he live on a sailboat but he captained many a boat down the intercoastal highway and on the open seas down to the Caribbean. Whatever he set his mind to do, he did. Wonderful! Mary

  5. Patty Hagan says:

    Mary, thanks for the wonderful photos and comments about Bob and Char. It was so much fun sailing with them in Turkey and Greece many years ago. On the Greece trip, Bob couldn’t believe how heavy Char’s suitcase was; it was filled with stones we’d collected on the beaches of the islands we visited. She wanted to use them to build the fireplace for their new home!

  6. Bob and Sandy says:

    Mary, we did not actually know your friend Bob, but sure feel like we do now after reading about the wonderful times that you guys had together. What a grand tribute!!

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