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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Steve Remembers Bob

Memories from Steve.
When I think of Bob Grant, I always go back to Cleveland Circle.  I think about shaking off the effects of Friday night and getting my groggy butt out there to play baseball on Saturday morning.

I have to be honest with you.  In those days, there weren't many people who could convince me to get up and out on a Saturday morning.  But every single week that Bob would gather folks together, I would try my damnedest to be there.

I was there because of my dear, dear friend Donna, who was Bob's girlfriend at the time, before they became an officially married couple.  Damn, I never have known a better couple.  Seriously, they were meant to be together.

I got to know the other regulars, like Dave, who apparently was friends with Bob back when dinosaurs walked the earth.  And there was Bob Broughton, a Copy Cop veteran like me.  I knew of him before, but got to know and love him out on the ball field.

And of course there was Bob's little kid.  I think Miles was around 12 back when I met him.  I have been so freaking proud to follow his achievements as an environmental writer/activist.  In those days, Miles always knew just how much shit his father needed to be given, because no Dad, no matter how cool, can get away shit-free.  Later, Miles, you just made him unspeakably proud.

We all had so much fun on those Saturday mornings at Cleveland Circle.  Other Copy Cop employees would show up: Kevin Coombs, Adam Goodwin and Tom Findlay come to mind.  I'm sure there were many more that my faulty memory can't conjure up right now.

We would show up and run around and hit the ball, catch the ball and throw the ball.  We never had any competition, but we always, absolutely always, had fun.

Bob was the "Old Man".  He was in his forties at the time.  I wish I was that kind of "old" now!   He ran the show, calling out things in his distinctive voice: not really a Bahston accent, too much Fall River, I guess.  Deep and authoritative, but filled with smiles and laughter.  No one I've ever met had that same kind of voice.

I only got to see Bob a handful of times over the past dozen years or so.  One time, a few years ago, we stood down by the water here and he told me about his memories of me on the baseball field and how graceful I was.  I'm a clod and no one else has ever talked about me having anything resembling grace.  But Bob always saw us as something more than we realized we could be. I'll never forget how good his words made me feel.

The other thing I'll always remember about that conversation with Bob is how he signed everything he said so that his beloved wife could be part of the conversation.

I've never met another man like Bob Grant and likely never will.  I am trying really, really hard not to refer to him in the past tense because all of us who were fortunate enough to spend time with him carry Bob with us.  Sadly, horribly, we will have no new memories of him.  But as long as we are here, as long as we keep him and his example in our hearts and souls, Bob Grant is still here with us.

Anyone want to throw a ball around?
Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. ~ W.P. Kinsella

Love is the most important thing in the world but baseball is pretty good, too. ~ Yogi Berra

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