Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Bob was one of those kids with an infectious grin that I never recall being angry or upset about much of anything. He was a good friend and sometime neighborhood prankster, as were many of us. Bob had perhaps the best car of anyone in our class, a black ’57 Chevy. Those cars were classics when they rolled off the assembly lines and have remained so ever since.
I recall him as a wiry kid, a varsity basketball player, and co-captain of the team. He and Dillard, and Williams, and Roby, and the others were usually outgunned in 4A, but they gave ‘er heck anyway and seemed to have a great time playing the game.
Sometime after getting that great Chevy, Bob started dating his future first bride and fairly quickly, the stories of his hi-jinks stopped. But before then, he provided a couple of funny stories that I’ve remembered all these years.
Apparently, during his antagonize the neighborhoods phase, he drew the ire of a local man whose garbage can Bob or some of his running mates for some reason had repeatedly targeted for turning over. Having grown weary of the mess, the man sat up one night to snare the miscreants. He was armed with a .22 rifle loaded with birdshot. Bob came in one warm Monday morning wearing a long-sleeved shirt and an uncharacteristic peeved expression. The long sleeves were necessary to cover the birdshot wounds to his elbow.
And on another occasion I recall him loosing a brief bout with the local constable. As kids, we never thought about how really small our area was nor how really few of us were out on the streets any given year. So a kid driving a black ’57 Chevy would have probably been the only one of his kind in the entire area, and if the constable was the same cop most nights, well he wasn’t a dummy. I don’t think Bob’s car got a spot in the garage, so it’s likely that the cop knew exactly where that black ’57 Chevy driver lived based on it being parked out on the street in front of his house most nights.
If I recall correctly, Bob had cut-out plugs in his exhaust system which permitted making a lot of noise…enough to be really annoying in the neighborhoods and enough to be heard for several blocks in any direction. A smart kid, which Bob was, can be a pretty elusive little bugger to catch in the act, but one night our constable came up with a clever solution to administer justice.
Bob came in one morning, mad as a hornet. He had gotten a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street…his car was pointing the wrong way. And since the parked car had violated that parking law, the constable reasoned that he had to have driven on the wrong side of the street also, and left a ticket for that infraction, as well!
I still laugh when I think of that little story. Sometimes you just have to just suck it up, pay the tab, and thank goodness you weren’t caught doing all the things you did as a kid! Bob was still in good form at our May 2010 celebration—one of the really good guys.