Bob was born two days after me. He lived across the street. He was and is like my 8th brother. Whenever he came over he didn’t have to knock. He was allowed to walk right in. As my dad said “Nine out of Ten times if I got up to answer the door it would be Bob. I told him he didn’t have to knock anymore.” So Bob didn’t.
There are way too many memories to write about because we did everything together. But some of the most memorable are the ones where Bob ended up hurt. He was somewhat accident-prone or, maybe I was, but he usually suffered for it.
I remember when he fractured his shin sliding into first base while playing kickball (first base was a street sign). I remember when we crashed on the bike and he chipped his front teeth. There was the time that we crashed on our bikes and he (I think) ruptured his spleen or some internal organ. Bob was in the car with my brother, my sister, and me when it got wrapped around a telephone pole. Bob was crutches for a few weeks with two sprained legs.
One time, I bet him he couldn’t climb to the highest branch on a tree that was almost 40 feet high. He won the bet, but the branch couldn’t hold him and he fell. He hit every branch on the way down, which resulted in an emergency room visit and a concussion.
Then, there was the legendary game of “Goal Line”. We were down 1 point. Bob takes a serious hit from Mike V and the Lawn Whisperer, our opponents, but he scores. I take my turn but can’t get it in the end zone. It all came down to Bob. He was lying on the car in the driveway. He didn’t look too good. I told him we needed the point. One point would be a win. “But Bill, my arm and shoulder really hurt.”
“Here give me your arm”, I said. “It just needs to be worked out.”
I started swinging his arm in full circles. He screamed.
The Lawn whisperer and Mike V broke Bob’s collarbone and I, as I did the windmill motion, dislocated his shoulder.
I usually had to explain all the details to his mother.
We would read comic books together. Play games like Stratego and Gambler. We even made up games like the “Trash Can Lid Game” (which was a version of tag but instead of tagging someone you had to hit them with a trash can lid), and the “Catch the Arrows Game” (pretty stupid and self explanatory).
After all the injuries and mishaps he still remained my best friend.
I was Bob’s best man when he got married and he was mine.
When he had his first kid I was not sure what the little guy should call me. “MR.” Was too official and “Uncle Bill” was, just I don’t know, not right. So we decided his son would call me “Chief”. It was a name that showed respect to me as his father’s friend but was also friendly enough to be family. A decent nickname that I happen to like because only 1 person (now 2) was going to call me that. When Lauren and I had Max we needed to come up with a name for Bob. Bob was going to be (and is) his godfather. Bob came up with his nickname. “Mr. Miyagi”
Bob turns 35 today. I can pretty much say I have know him all my life (minus 2days).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR MIYAGI