Thursday, February 7, 2013

The month of the heart

Today, my heart is breaking as I just learned that our good friend Bob Paley passed away tonight. I can't tell you what losing a friend of over forty years means. There are no words except that this is the month of the heart and my heart is broken. Yet in some ways, my heart is full for knowing this man.

We first met Bob in the early seventies. He had just moved up to northern California from southern California and arrived in style. He was a big fish in a small pond. He had the most beautiful woman with him at the time too. Martha became the mother of his two wonderful children, Sunny and Silver who have turned out to be the most incredible young people anyone would ever want to meet. And I'm sure it is no accident that they are the way they are. It was because of the influence, in part, of Bob on their lives.

Bob was an incredible gardener. He had a way with flowers that I have never seen before. I could not see him for a week, return a week later, and the garden would have exploded. Vegetables and flowers alike. He had a way of taking care of plants that I have never seen in my entire life. They responded to him. They loved him. And the feeling was mutual.

Bob also loved animals. I don't think I ever saw him without a dog. And sometimes not just one but multiple dogs. If he had to give them away after they were weaned he took great care to select just the right person to raise that animal. He knew if it was a good fit. He had some sort of sixth-sense about animals. I guess it translated from animals to plants as well.

He owned many restaurants and man...was he a good cook. The restaurants were decorated from the rafters with dried flowers of every variety. If you would look up, you would think you were in his backyard by the plethora of color that adorned the rafters. He was known for his gift of gab too. I suppose that's why his restaurants were so popular with the town. He started out with an ice cream parlor and branched out from there. Desserts of many kinds were served in that parlor! I remember Connie Nelson making some killer cheese cakes there. Good follows good, doesn't it!!

Bob was also a fellow Taurus. We used to talk about being so connected to the earth, he and I. I spent many afternoons visiting with Bob. After he and his daughter Sunny built a new home in Georgetown, I used to go over once a week and help Bob and Sunny out by cleaning house for them. Sunny used to joke and say that she got me to come out of retirement to help her out. I was a blessing in disguise really. I always got more from Bob than I bargained for. One time I complimented him on a beautiful triangular-shaped jar and when I left that afternoon, it was sitting by my purse for me to take home. He was so generous. And his praises went unsung by him.

There was someone in our community who lost their home to a fire and the next week Bob had delivered a trailer for them to live in and if I'm not mistaken, also gave them some money to get by on. He was just like that. Another friend lost her husband and was down on her luck and didn't have transportation. He gave her his car. Most people didn't know how generous Bob was to so many in town. He never boasted about it. That wasn't like him. He was just a kind, wonderful person that saw a need and filled it.

I will miss Bob dearly. Since we moved to the adjoining county we missed seeing him as often as we used to but he was never far from our thoughts. Bill had just seen him a week and a half ago. They talked about their broken femurs and probably commiserated about their aches and pains...the sad signs of getting older. But Bob was young at heart and taken from this earth a bit too soon in my estimation. I'll always remember him for what he me, to the community, to his children, to the life. He was never afraid to take a gamble on something that he felt was the right thing to do. And most of the time it paid off. I think he landed on his feet more times than not. We all take some bumps in life. Bob learned to roll with his.

Wherever he has transitioned to, I know in my heart that there will be a beautiful garden there waiting for him to tend it. There will also be animals to love and tend to. How could there not be? Someone so special will have a special place to call home. He is loved and missed but he is still here in my our hearts. Not only this month of the heart, but forever.


  1. My condolences to you in losing such a wonderful friend. He sounds like a beautiful human being.

  2. oh my...i am sorry for your loss..bob sounds like quite the guy...sounds like he could teach a few things as well...hugs

  3. So shocked, and so sad. It's all I could think about last night. April and I really did grow up in a special community. I just remember it feeling safe, comfortable and completely full of love from all the people you and daddy were friends with. As we grew up, it faded, but I have such fond, warm memories of Bob growing up, and all the other people you and daddy were friends with.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss Teri, Bob sounds like the kind of generous kind hearted person we need more of in this world.

  5. Teri dear,

    This is a heartfelt posting. I loved it and how you showed us Bob without really having to go into too much detail.

    The world needs more Bobs.