Sunday, May 25, 2008

Angels(?) Among Us

Since tomorrow is Memorial Day, I, like many of you, are thinking of those who have given their lives for this country. Although Mr.4444's dad did not do so (he was in the Navy long ago but did not serve during wartime), I am thinking of him tonight and remembering his wit. Bob had a great sense of humor, and he loved practical jokes. For example, he once lost a bet for $50.00 to a friend. This friend was a Chicago Bears fan, and if you know anything about Packer fans, you know that Bear fans are their rivals. Bob paid his friend back by lacquering 50 silver dollars onto a beautiful wooden plaque he had emblazoned with the Packers logo.

Bob was always the life of the party. One New Year's Eve, the whole family was together at the 4444 house. Everyone was sitting around, playing cards and "yucking it up," when Bob disappeared to the basement. A little while later, he came up, dressed as the New Years Eve baby (all 6-foot, 240-pounds of him) wearing only a diaper he had made from a sheet. Grandma Florence (a smoker) laughed so hard that she began choking (and quit smoking then and there as a result!)

Another "humorous" incident occurred at Camp Nuttin', the deer camp. A bunch of the younger guys had finally taken a break after a long afternoon of hard work on some chore or another. Since it was a hot summer day, they were relieved when Bob generously offered them water bottles. Their relief turned to something else when they discovered the "water" they were chugging was actually vodka! Bob and buddies at deer camp, circa 1974.

Even though Bob had passed, he showed his presence at the luncheon following his funeral. We had poured into a local restaurant in Calumet, Michigan (where Bob had grown up). If you know anything about Calumet, you know it is in Copper Country of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. People who live in those parts are simple folks; not ones to put on airs, and definitely people who know their neighbors well and are always willing to lend a hand. Bob's deer camp buddy, Jake, was such a person. Jake's wife Terese, and another friend, Jan, were at a table with me at the meal. Jake and Bob at Camp Nuttin

Lunch was served, and we prepared to eat. I passed the pepper to Terese, who used it and passed it to Jan. She generously shook pepper on her meal and handed it to Jake. He no sooner shook it than the cover flew off, dumping pepper all over his plate!

"Bob 4444," Jake snapped. "You son-of-a-bitch!!"

Jake explained that he and Bob had had a long history of practical joking at Camp Nuttin, and Bob had played this prank before, many times.

I firmly believe that Bob was there that afternoon, making sure his presence was known. The moral of this story is: The next time you attend the funeral luncheon of a practical joker, take care to make sure the pepper shaker top is on tight!

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