BOB

Bob

image courtesy of photobucket.com

repost from 2011

Big personalities seem even bigger in small towns. Maybe the “big fish in a small pond” analogy has some merit, then again maybe the personalities would be gigantic anywhere. I grew up in a small town and everyone pretty much knew everyone else, but we had ourselves some bigger than life fish.

Of all the local yokel famous folk, there was none bigger than Bob. Bob started catching everyone’s attention even as a kid, I guess he was watcha’ might call a “man-child.” Bob just seemed to be full-grown overnight while in early Jr. high and he never had what us regular folk called an awkward phase as a kid.

No Sir, he was just big, fast, quick, and what some of the parents considered handsome, not to mention he had some brains to boot.

In Jr. high while most kids were stuck in class trying to get a passing grade, Bob was paling around with the vice-principle in his fancy car – traveling over to the high school to arm wrestle the guys on the football team. Only thing Bob had to do to keep good grades was just keep winnin’. He never did lose…

Bob use to make extra money by bettin’ kids how far he could ride a wheelie on his bicycle. I saw him ride around the block twice, I swear… I ran beside him to make sure he wasn’t doin’ any cheatin’. This was long before the BMX bikes became what it is these days.

I can’t recall how many bicycles frames Bob snapped jumpin’ over cars, creeks, kids, or anything that struck his fancy. A few years later when people started drivin’ the foreign jobs, Bob would bet people he could pick up the back of em’. Did one while the car was tryin’ to back up…

No one was too surprised when Bob took playing football seriously, after all, he had what it took. More than the sport itself, we all knew Bob didn’t mind puttin’ the hurt or a beat down on someone he thought deserved it.

Don’t get me wrong, Bob wasn’t a trouble maker, you might say he was more like a good old-fashioned vigilante. If someone was picking on weaker kids or disrespecting friends, Bob never stopped to consider anything other than his own brand of justice.

Those of us who knew Bob well knew that certain smile on his face meant certain pain and damage to someone else…

Bob took that physical dominance with him to the football field. You might say football fit Bob just like a glove. Wasn’t too long and he was even more famous in our little town than before. Folks can overlook a lot in a small town when they’re football team is winning’ football games.

Soon even big city folk took notice too, Bob started gettin’ scads of letters from colleges all over the country. Seems they all wanted that big ole’ frame with his speed, quickness, agility, and skill.

Some things just aren’t meant to be I guess, least that’s what Bob says nowadays. See. A teacher, prone to mistakes like all of us, made a couple of em’ that changed the course of his life and Bob’s life forever. The teacher pushed the wrong girl, then with the teachers throat in the big left hand of Bob, he made one last mistake. He hit Bob in the face…

They hauled the teacher off in an ambulance and Bob was kicked out of school, had to finish the school year in another state. The big city colleges weren’t too interested after that, I guess they figured Bob was one wild bronc they couldn’t bust… They were right…

To hear Bob tell the story at first you might think he’s still wild, he’s not, that’s just passion. He’s got no regrets. Bob says God himself broke him, quieted his soul.

Bob will go on to tell you that everything happens for a reason and he wouldn’t trade his wife, kids, or grandkids for anything, definitely not any amount of fortune nor fame. He says God’s blessed him more than he could have ever imagined.

I talked to Bob just last week, I’ve talked to him quite a bit over the years. The folks who never really knew Bob would never guess how much he’s taught so many. Then again, only a handful of folks outside our home ever really got to know my big brothers, especially Bobby. If I don’t miss my guess, they probably likened Bobby to handling a stick of lit dynamite…

Bobby doesn’t talk like he used to these days, he talks as though God really did calm the raging beast inside him. In fact, right before we hung up the phone he said, “I love you, brother”…

I said, “I love you too Bobby”…

I guess I’m pretty blessed to have older brothers that give me good reason to look up to them.

Interesting how different the reasons are now than they were then…