I'm feeling a little blue right now. Wednesday morning I lost one of my best friends, Robert Lee Stewart. I often called him, Bob or Boobie and sometimes he would call me, Butterball.
Bob and I had a few commonalities. The most obvious we were physically challenged. He had cerebral palsy and I have muscular dystrophy.
I first met Bob in 2007 zipping in a scooter around the stores in South Phoenix promoting and giving away church literature. Bob was a Jehovah’s Witness and proud of it and hardly (if ever) departed from their teachings and beliefs.
I am not a Jehovah’s Witness. However, that did not prevent us from being friends. We had an unwritten agreement to disagree without being disagreeable. This was not hard for Bob was not pushy. This does not mean he didn’t try to persuade me on certain points of doctrine because he did. We did have some beliefs in common.
Oddly enough it wasn’t religion that brought us together but computers. I can’t accurately recall if he or I was having technical difficulties, but we ended up frequenting each others’ homes trying to fix problems and in general sharing computer and internet knowledge.
Together we would search the web for entertainment and learning visiting google and youtube. And yes, this searching included items pertaining to the Bible. Despite some of our differences we both had a desire to know and understand the scriptures.
Bob, I suspect was a country boy in a two piece suit. He like simple things, however this didn’t mean his taste in things was narrow. He really loved old time folk and country music as well church chants, sound effects and non-traditional musical instruments (instruments that I thought was too weird).
Speaking of weird, and what surprised me, was he actually liked some of the music I wrote with Muse Score. He would ask me if I wrote anything new and have me load up his flash drive with it. This to me was very encouraging.
Bob wasn’t only encouraging, but also friendly and helpful. Bob had an unconscious habit of calling every girl or woman he met young or old sweetheart. He didn’t do this as a come-on, but just as a way of being friendly and making them comfortable.
One of those women that he made comfortable was my wife, Lisa. Lisa was always glad to see him and cheerfully would give him a cup of Pepsi or sweet tea.
One of the things that Lisa (and I) like about Bob was he was eager to help. In fact, he would go out of his way to help. Nearly a hundred per cent of time he was reliable.
There were two times in particular that Bob went out of his way to help. In this instance he was extremely reliable as well as helpful and that was when my wife, Lisa was sick and had to stay in the hospitable for almost a week. He would ‘buddy sit’ me until my caregiver came and return when she left. This feat of his was even more amazing in that when he stayed overnight with me he had to sleep in his scooter. Not an easy task, but he did it because he knew I needed him and knew I didn’t want to go to a nursing facility.
Serving others was one of the things that Boobie was about. Even before the day of his passing he was serving Lisa and I by ‘buddy sitting’ me.
This is one service I’ll never be able to repay.
One last item: a year or two before I became acquainted with Bob it came to my attention that I needed help with things around the house. Things: that, my wife, Lisa wasn’t able to do or knew how to do. I started praying for a friend. God in His mercy and understanding gave me Robert Lee Stewart.
No matter what you do you can’t out give God. He gets the glory. Thank you, Lord for Bob.
Rick McKeon is a good friend and one of my mentors. I’ve known Richard for over thirty years now and it has been a pleasure.
There are many adjectives to describe Richard: kind, encouraging, gentle, intelligent, soft spoken, humble, creative, helpful, giving, talented, and spiritual. I mainly think of him as my friend and mentor.
When I was into art he gave me brushes and high quality watercolor paper, and kind words. When I became involve with guitar and harmonica he gave me books, diagrams, CDs, and harmonicas, an ear, and encouragement. More recently as I have become engaged in writing he has given me suggestions, has directed me to web sites with information, done a little bit of editing, has prodded me to keep writing and to have a goal, and he is going to assist me in publishing my novel as an e-book.
Richard, besides being a great human being is also a man of many talents and interests. He can sing, play guitar and banjo, and teach them too. His other interests are hiking, treasure hunting, and ghost towns and old mines. If you are interested in some of these activities go over to his web site at : http://www.rickmckeon.com and look around.