April 30, 2013 — I realize ‘Bob’ is a common name, but my life seems to be peppered with an uncanny number of them.
There’s probably always been a Bob somewhere in my life; the first one I remember was ‘Bobby,’ the kind, handsome man who married my older sister. And I was married to a Bob for a good long while.
But, lately, at least for the past year or so, the Bobs have been proliferating. They seem to turn up everywhere.
April 30, 2013 — When I graduated from the ninth grade at Washington Junior High School in Fresno way back in June 1965, they put together a yearbook of sorts in which they asked every student what they wanted to be when they grew up. I cheerfully responded I wanted to be a novelist, and I was the only person in the whole school who expressed any literary ambition, but my writer dreams got put on hold.
You see, five months earlier I’d gotten my first guitar as a Christmas present — an $89.95 sunburst, two-pickup, solid body, mail order beauty made by Harmony from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog, a very playable knockoff of the much more expensive Fender Jazzmaster. (The vintage pickups from that guitar are highly collectable these days.) After watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, the music bug bit me hard, just like it had millions and millions of other teenage, wannabe, moptop guitarslingers all around the world. The first incarnation of my first band, the Ravens, had five ninth-grade guitar players. That’s right, just five guitarists. No bass. No drums. We were terrible.
April 30, 2013 — Time marches relentlessly forward, and we are quickly losing what’s left of America’s Greatest Generation. We all should pause and take the time to recognize each of our friends and neighbors born in the years after World War I who suffered through the Great Depression only to find themselves involved in a World War after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
That attack marked our country’s entry into World War II, and in less than four years the United States and its allies totally defeated the fascist regimes in Europe and the island imperialists in the Pacific.
April 23, 2013 — A year before my mother turned 50 she decided she was going to run a marathon. She had never been a runner, but she said if Oprah could run a marathon, so could she. So she bought several books and a new pair of running shoes and began running every day. I listened to her laugh about how slow she was, how she could barely finish her distances without stopping to walk, how runners in their 80s passed her on the trail, but she kept at it and, like anyone who keeps practicing anything, she got better.
I’ll never forget the summer night in her living room when she found out she had been invited to run the New York City Marathon with the American Cancer Society. We screamed and danced in circles around the couch. A few months later, I had the incredible and unforgettable experience of cheering on my mother as she crossed the finish line in New York City. It was the first of many magical racing experiences for both of us.
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