What about Bob?  (A Rap Eulogy)

We’ve come-together-here to celebrate-Bob,
To hobnob-as a-family-mob with friends,
To lob-around-some words and feel-the-inner cleanse.
To lob-around-our love for Bob as he heads-around-the bend.
To sob and daub our eyes with tissues
To deal with-our-emotions and other issues.
To swab our eyeballs, to daub our peepers-with-gobs-of Kleenex
To feed those-deeper-thoughts-on-what life means next.

We-can-call this assembly a thingamabob.
A thingama, thingama, thingama Bob.
A thingama, thingama, think about Bob.
But it’s also a thingama-us.
A thingama, thingama, think about us.
What about Bob and us?

Remember your years with Bob, who richly-revealed-the-love you saw,
As we celebrate-him-now in Richfield, Utah.
Is it possible that Bob was not a-human-being-on-a-spiritual quest
But a spiritual-being on a human quest, yeah, trying-to-do his human best?

I know a thing-or-two, I do, about Robert John
Who’s ridin’ out into-the-sunset, puttin’ his Stetson on.
The reason why I know this guy is that we had-the-self-same mother,
The family-tree of genealogy informs-me-that I’m his brother.

To have-an-older brother helping you suffer,
What does-that-mean in practical terms?
It means that-you-share expeditions like searching-for-frogs-and worms.
It means that-you-share your hopes and dreams and mumpity-mumps and germs.
It means when-my-Dad said I had-to-finish-my-peas, no matter-how-I begged,
My brother Bob taught-me-how to stuff those peas right down-the kitchen-table leg.
It meant when the fam climbed into the van to take-a-three-week vacation,
We would fight over comic-books and give-each-other dirty looks while visiting a third of the nation.
From Oregon at Newport over to Mount-Rushmore-with-its-four-stone gringos,
We were so engrossed that every hour-at-the-most, we’d take one peek out-the windows.
Each late afternoon before-the-rise of the moon, we’d stop at-a-camping-location,
Digging tent-stake holes and lifting-tent-poles became the-evening’s-vexation.
At night we shared the mattress we found-abounding-all-around: the ground.
Each morning-after-camp-stove eggs, we’d stretch out-our-legs and take down-the tent once more,
Pack in the Chevy-heavy-canvas-away and begin-the-new-day as the one before.
In retrospect I’ll-say-those-days with siblings-and-Bob
-me-lasting memories and softened the treachery-of-child-labor-laws.

When-Bob-and I-were young, no sweat, we would aid-and-abet,
But into-the-bargain I was chargin’ into-being-his-handy target.
I have to say I remember-one-day when we had a dirt-clod fight (Aside: it’s a thing)
And I watched him fling the dirt-clod (zing!) up almost out-of-my sight…
Thus while-in-my mental-directory I calculated-its trajectory,
With my eye-to-the sky… I caught-a-second-dirt-clod right in-the-throat.
That clod-of-dirt hurt, but it taught me not-to-let my attention float.
So that’s what older-brothers-can offer: a lesson and a note and an anecdote.

When-we-were small, our bedroom wall was papered over-with-images
Of Indians-who-fought, who we thought were savage-but-noble primitives,
And cowboys on steeds gallopin’-through-the-weeds to save humanity.
So, I shouldn’t-have-been surprised or jeopardized-my-own-sweet sanity
When one night in bed, towards-my-own-young-head a Bowie knife came whizzin’
And-I-wasn’t that tall so it stuck in-the-wall, by-the-end of-the-knife-that-meant-business.

This must-have-reinforced the lesson, of course, that concentration-must-not wander,
So, I’m grateful-as-heck it didn’t-hit-my-neck,
As my brother yonder gave-me-things-to ponder.
I-survived-childhood and so did he, but I think it was easier-for-him-than-for me.
And I am afraid, if-the-truth be known, I acted much-the-same-way-to my sister Joan.
Sorry, Sis.

Don’t have a cow, I’m movin’-on-now, to talk-about real-true brotherhood.
It’s something-that-few-can manage, but to our advantage, Bob, my brother could.
You’ll have-to-excuse the examples-that-I-use, since they’re taken-from my experience,
He was such-a-good bro, and I even-told-him-so… nearly once.

Since we lived-so-far-apart, I kept a flow-chart of where Bob-was-headed each season:
Sacramento; Big-Piney-Wyo; Provo; Frankfurt; Marburg, Saarbrücken; Giessen;
I kept a flow-chart of where Bob-and-Kitsie and-the-kiddies had-been-seen:
Oakland; Great Falls-Montana; Yakima, Yakima, Yakima-Eugene,
Montgomery Ward, Monkey Ward, Monkey Ward-Ward-Ward.
I kept a flow-chart of where-Bob-departed-to work each day:
Waukesha, Wisconsin; Dubuque, Saint Looey, Lake-Forest-in-Orange County, CA.
Target. Target. Target-Target-TAR-Gut.
It didn’t take a flow-chart to chart where the-family-was-bitten-by-Southern-bugs:
Arlington, a suburb of Dallas, to work-for-Revco Drugs.
Then Bob-and-you/all settled-in-Seattle and he started pushin’-the-Kenworth Trucks:
Now givin’ the-laborious-push-to-loaded trucks / Never-was-the-path to megabucks,
And after a bit, after-movin’-to-Kent / On over from trucks to-the-books-he went.
WaldenBooks, WaldenBooks, WaldenBooks, Borders, Borders, Border control
My flow chart’s comin’ to the end, my friends, with Issaquah-quah for real estate,
Then came recession 2-thou-8, and off to-retirement-in-the-Beehive State.

Now I’m gonna-take-some-rhymin’ prime of time to-talk-about-brotherly travel,
And how it helped the relationship-we-felt do the-opposite of unravel.
Thanks to-American Airlines and to-the-mining-of-perks-that-began,
No one could fly / by / stand-by-to-Switzerland-or-Ketchikan like Kitsie can,
Which meant in-1990, it was very fine-she cooked up with-Bob-and-me-a-plan
Which allowed us-to-roam through Rüeggisberg, ancestral home-of-the-Hachen clan,
To get on down with the-Alpine-Swiss-town that our grandpa-had-had-to leave-and-discard.
We talked-to-distant-relatives and spoke-of-our-heritage, visiting the local graveyard
Full of those upset when-our-grandpa-went-West and never-sent-back a postcard.
While I imagined-the-missing-card, Bob the Fixer was seein’-the-big-picture!
This made-us-feel-close / and-with-Kitsie-we-chose to do-our-best by train to-Budapest,
Where Bob and I, since-the-recent-fall / of-the-Communist-wall, felt super-blest
On-our-quest to buy from a-former-cadet of the-sovereign-Soviet that we met,
To buy Commie-fur-hats and trinkets-like-that – but nope, not-a-single isotope.

Now fast-forward to 20-13, where I’d been-invited-to-join the scene-of-a-conference
Conference?” / you say, / “that was not Bob’s scene!” and I know with highest confidence
Bob-was-a-man / of excitement-and-action, Action Jackson,
While I live inside-my-mind / whenever-I-can-find-it.
But yes, I digress, I guess: the conference was-not-far from-the-Casbah-in-Tangiers,
So, I asked Bob if-he-wanted-to travel-with-a-snob, and he did, it appears.
We flew from Dallas-to-Madrid, we did – to Spain - for Bob I’d-go-wherever-he’d-go.
Next day, wearing neether-neither speedo nor tuxedo, we-visited-Toledo.
Then off-to-Morocco-to-Casablanca, to find-the-way-to-Rick’s Café
For dining-on-a tiny-blob-of-kebab with Bob and all-the-usual-suspects.
Next by train-to-Rabat and then to Fez, I confess, we lived in-a palace annex,
Fez: the busiest-marketplace-that-you’ve-ever-seen: it’s-about-the size of Tattooine.
But-for-me the-most-gripping / quip-of-the-trip came from-the-lips of Bobbity Beau; 
Beau-bitty Bob, Bobbity Beau:
After my talk-in-Tangiers, he walked up to-me-and said: “I’m proud of you, Bro.”
I echo the compliment just a tad late: I’m proud of you, proud of you, proud of you, Bro.

Other journeys we shared both early and late I’ll try to keep straight so I can relate them:
San Francisco, Chinatown firecrackers, Cliff House, Fun House, Fleischhacker Zoo
Clickety-Clack by train to-Grandma-Hacken’s-house by California Zephyr,
Trips to the missions, the Redwoods, all-along-the-Mendocino-coast,
Monterey, Bodega-Bay, these we’ll forget the-day-after-never.
Enseñada – Deep-Sea-fishin’-with-Dad, just glad I didn’t-have-to-bait-my-own-hook,
But Bob took-the-slimy-bait and handled-the-catch just great while I couldn’t look.
Cruises on Puget ferry, cruises on-the-Main, cruises-on-the-Rhine past-the-Lorelei.

But the most-recent-trip-with Bob is the one that catches-my-eye:
I always wanted-to-go to Cuba, not-to-scuba-dive, but to see the cult-cha-up-close.
52 months ago, -- but-who’s-countin’, yo?-- we put out-the-moolah and said adios
And flew-into-Havana. It ain’t like Montana, I-can-tell-you that, but it was mega-super-cool,
Since we visited with Cubans in their hospitals-studios-and-bungalows-and-schools.
We-saw-military-rigs at the Bay of Pigs, where I-suppose-the-porkers-are amphibian.
Bob wanted action bad, so in Trinidad-he-jumped-into-the-CaribbEan and CaRIBbean. 
The week went fast, as my glob-of-a-heart-grew-vast at having Bob as-my-brother.
Memories crowded me, astounded-to-see how they came one after-the-other.

When Bob returned home and reported to Kitsie, he made a sort-of-kind-of-little gaffe,
Saying, "I'm so happy I saw my Dick." Then they realized what-he'd-said-and-they-had-a-good laugh.

Now I still wonder:
How did-he-find the time in his prime to be such-a-loving husband and father
To sons and daughter while needing-to-prosper and earn-that-daily dollar?
How did he balance-it-with-valiance, while climbing and trekking and hiking,
While gallantly killing-every-mouse-in-the-house, then repairing the car to his liking,
Motorcycling like a road-warrior-Viking and conquering-Route 1 with his biking?
How did-he-do-it, I ask ya, goin’-to-Alaska backwoods, avoiding the bears
in wild streams with-fisherman-dreams of drownin’-the-salmon-in air?
How did-he-balance his life with-his-kids and wife, with love and allegiance,
While managing-departments-and-stores, then-entire-regions,
All while conformin’ as a Mormon, no easy task. How did he do all of this, I ask.
How did he handle the burdens he hefted
While traveling-with-wit and mirth to see the earth-before-he-left-it?

When all is said and done, when all is proper, we know that Bob was a real show-stopper
Not ensconced in-the-hearts of Target-or-Walden-Book-shoppers,
But maybe in the-hearts-of-strangers whose laughter-he-evoked-by-telling-a-joke
And-in-our-hearts where he could affably spend time-with-his-family-and-friends.
And there in-our-hearts he shall stay, until perchance we meet-him-again-someday.

Is it possible that Bob was not a-human-being-on-a-spiritual-quest
But a spiritual being on a human quest, yeah, trying-trying-trying-to-do his human best?
Inspiring us to do our own  human best?

 We-can-call our assembly a thingamabob.
A thingama, thingama, thingama Bob.
A thingama, thingama, think about Bob.
But it’s also a thingama-us.
A thingama, thingama, think about us.
What about Bob and us?

- Richard "Dick" Hacken