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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.