Thursday, April 9, 2009
Lights on the River
“Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen.”
There was no question in this statement. It was always said with just such a tone and twinkle as to imply we were about to do something that might land us in trouble, and always followed the statement with an infectious grin as if the fun now would be worth the trouble later.
More importantly, Bob always said, “Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen,” in a way that made it clear he had absolute faith in the ability of determined individuals to accomplish whatever it was they set out to do.
It was this confidence that inspired some of us for years, and others of us only more recently. So, for the “others”, this attitude of Bob’s was one of the first impressions of Saginaw. That being the case, who wouldn’t want to live in a community where one could change the things that one did not agree with or improve the things one was willing to work for?
Bob passed on Sunday the 5th after an incredibly long fight with an illness that swallowed his physical being whole but could not touch his scallywaggish optimism.
His funeral filled St. John’s Episcopal on Michigan Avenue to standing only. Sitting in the front out of sight behind the organ with Mel Curry waiting to do our bits, it was amazing to think that one life could have touched so many others.
Tonight a group of Bob’s friends and family – bizarre and inspiring in its diversity – met at a boat launch near Old Town to release paper lotus flowers – each holding a lit tea light – onto the river in remembrance of Bob’s life.
As the dark closed in, the group huddled in the chill night with their children, their mothers, wives, lovers and friends to take a moment and quietly reflect on what a life could be and what it could do when driven by a mad twinkle and seemingly endless energy.
Tiny lights swirled in circles as their number grew…round and round in the launch until, finally, they were taken by the river slowly toward Old Town and it’s lit spires.
It is only appropriate, I suppose, that so many tears and so many lives should meet together to make light and more light as the clouds rolled back and the moon joined the company. I think Bob would have approved. I think he would’ve grinned and said, “Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen.”
(Photo, Michael Hollenbeck, Saginaw News, 3"x5" painting on wood panel with pencil, silver and copper leaf, SPM)