Courage of Fear Quotes of the Day discussion

"We should live everyday as if..."

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited Feb 05, 2009 01:03PM) (new)

Barbara Boyer (barbara_boyer) | 34 comments Mod
"We should live everyday as if it were everyone else's last." Courage of Fear

We became great friends fast, Robert and me. We met through mutual friends sometime after 9/11 (so, if you have read previous posts you understand my state of mind at the time.) He was a tall, lanky guy with hair down to his shoulder blades. His face aged and rutted; you could truly see the life he lived right there defined on his weathered face.

"Idaho Bob" he was called by many; a poet. I heard-tell he got that name because he was known for disappearing for months on end to Idaho to work on his next book. He would depart from Encinitas, California in his old VW sleeper van and disappear to the wilderness to connect with Mother Earth and write till he was done. Then he would return home. He had the most calming, welcoming smile than any man I have ever met. When you read Courage of Fear you will find him there in the acknowledgments. I grew to love my friend, Robert, very much.

We shared many common interests that bonded our relationship. First and foremost was our love for writing. We would sit for hours on end talking about our latest works or past works...kind of like how i do with you folks. Even though we would weave stories, there was always personal meaning to every detailed stitch of them. It wasn't the words that bonded our friendship, no. It was the passion we shared for the expression of our souls that grew to be the cement. Many people can write, yet true artists have an understanding of and for the human condition that delves deep beneath the surface. Bob and I both knew, and shared, that this concept and/or understanding was what made a true artist more than a mere writer; it made them the Bard (if you don't know the true definition of a Bard, I strongly suggest you google it.)

Most of the time we would meet at the Lumber Yard in Encinitas (it is not actually a lumber yard, it is an outdoor plaza; coffee shop, stores, food on Coast Highway. It got its name because it used to be an actual lumber yard.) Sometimes we would jump into the VW and head out to Palamar Mountain (under the Grandfather Cedar) or Borrego Desert just to see what nature had to offer us that day, or maybe to pick sage. Robert was very heavy into Native American culture, so we NEVER took anything from Mother Earth without first a thoughtful prayer of gratitude... almost a ritual really.

Like myself Robert loved music. Not for the beat or the lyrics, for its entirety. Like our own art, we would talk about song; maybe deciphering the lyrics or expressing how certain instruments would cause certain reactions. We could go for hours really without speaking just appreciating, maybe contemplating, or plum just getting lost in different artist's work coming through the speakers at the time.

On different occasions friends would see us together. On many occasions different folks pulled me aside and warned me. Might be best to stay away from him. Things about him that could cause me troubles. We are just friends, I would say. They would smile at him and go about their days (california, i swear.)

It had been days and I had not heard from Robert. Non-returned voice mails, no phone calls, never see him at the usual places. Went on for over a few weeks, if I remember correctly. I sought out a mutual friend and asked, have you seen him? Ah, he was in bad shape the friend reported. Had been drinking hard for days (the Robert I knew didn't drink) and our friend was concerned. So we loaded ourselves in his car and headed over to check on our friend Robert together.

Bad shape, my ass. Robert was in horrible shape; bad a true understatement. It was midmorning and you could have lit Robert on fire a foot away just from the fumes alone. I made us all coffee. Robert shook so bad I had to hold his cup. My heart broke. My friend Robert. He told me he had to stop. He just couldn't. His face bruised from face to the concrete falls. He wanted to quit. He refused to go to a facility. Okay then, we shall do it together.

Our friend help load Robert into my car. What are you going to do he questioned.

Well, sober him up. I responded. Don't worry. It will be fine. I have done this before.

(WARNING do not ever try to do this on your own. Alcohol withdrawal is the only withdrawal a person can die from. Unless you have seen it done and done it yourself you will very likely kill someone.)

I swung by the liquor store and picked up a couple bottles of Vodka, threw them in my trunk, and then started to drive east. I needed to get us somewhere where there were no people. Just looking at someone in his shape someone was bound to desire to help... whether that be calling the police, helping him escape from me (cause of course once the process starts alcoholics will do or say just about anything to get their hands on the bottle and get away from whom ever is keeping it from them.) I thought and thought. Lets face it, I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Everywhere there are people in San Diego, you blink and you've passed a dozen houses. Then it hit me.

Less than an hour into the trip the uncontrollable shaking and perfuse sweating began. It was time. I pulled over to the side of the rode, popped the trunk and grabbed a bottle. I held it tight when he grabbed on. Just a few sips I told him. That was all he would get. I struggled to pry it back from his lips. Back in the trunk it went. He was leveled a bit again.

All was going pretty good when we hit the dirt road to the Indian Reservation. . . Fitting I thought for such an occasion. It was a very hilly area with lots of twists and turns. I needed to find just the right location so in the event old Bob got the gump (highly unlikely) to bolt he would be totally lost. I found it. Nestled down in a valley like area. From that POV all one could see was hills and green... absolutely nothing else. It was perfect.

I helped my friend out of the car. He rolled to the rear tire wall and slid down to the ground. Again, the uncontrollably shaking and profuse sweating... I grabbed the bottle. This time he yanked it from my hands. I need more than a sip he reported.

Like hell, I snapped grabbing it back.

At this Robert became hostile. I don't want to do this anymore. Take me back. Give me the vodka.

Look, I can give you this bottle and I will. However, if i do, you are on your own. I'm leaving your sorry-ass here.

Again, the few sips had leveled out his physiological symptoms. He looked around. Where are we, he asked.

Some where special. I responded.

How in the hell am I going to get out of here?

That's the point, fool. So, the bottle?... or me and the ride?

For the first time in all the hours, there it was, not fully, but I saw a glimpse of it... that smile. You suck was his response.

I know. I put the bottle back in the trunk, turned on the stereo, and then slid next to Bob on the ground. We stayed there for a very long time, me, Robert and the bottle. Just us, nature and the music. It was a grand day.

Robert stayed sober until his death shortly thereafter. He was diagnosed with bone cancer and left us very quickly after his diagnosis. He was very peaceful about it. When many folks heard he was dying, they reached out to him... even the one's that sent me their warnings. And me, Tai Pan or Wyoming as Robert called me in many of his poems?.. I wasn't in California when he passed but we were together just the same.

Robert was merely one of many who crossed my path reminding me that this journey will one day end... abruptly for some... I do not want to be one of those people saying I wish I had or I wish I did because I cannot any longer.

We should treat everyone as if it were their last day. No regrets.

There you have it. That is the story behind today's quote.

As always, have a grand day all.

message 2: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) "We should live everyday as if it were everyone else's last."

This is so wise, Barbara, and the story of Robert illustrates it perfectly. A touching story, beautifully told.

message 3: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Boyer (barbara_boyer) | 34 comments Mod
Thank you Jeanne. smiles your way. I am glad you enjoyed it.

message 4: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (starshinejen) We should live everyday....I am writing from Melbourne Victoria where at least 131 people died over the weekend in a firestorm which overtook the prepared and the unprepared. Sometimes an individual story like Robert's reminds us how fleeting our stay here is. Sometimes a community tragedy reminds us to take care of each other for nothing else matters. Thanks Barbara for providing me with this quotation which reminds me how important it is to live and love NOW.

message 5: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) I agree, Jenny. This tragedy touches people everywhere and reminds us to live and love now. Tomorrow may be too late.
Love and sympathy to the people of Melbourne,

message 6: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (starshinejen) Jeanne wrote: "I agree, Jenny. This tragedy touches people everywhere and reminds us to live and love now. Tomorrow may be too late.
Love and sympathy to the people of Melbourne,

Thank you Jeanne

message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Boyer (barbara_boyer) | 34 comments Mod
Hello Jenny:
Yesterday I was watching the news while preparing breakfast. I was abruptly stopped in my tracks at the heartbreaking news of your fires. I am sure my prayers are a minute fraction of those sent your way from around the globe.
I am glad Bob was able to touch you in the same way he did me... Like all the folks lost to the fire, they will continue to live on, like Bob, through all of us.
Much love and support from my land to yours.

message 8: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (starshinejen) Barbara wrote: "Hello Jenny:
Yesterday I was watching the news while preparing breakfast. I was abruptly stopped in my tracks at the heartbreaking news of your fires. I am sure my prayers are a minute fraction of ..."

Thank you Barbara

message 9: by Mistye (new)

Mistye | 1 comments Beautiful inspiring story! I actually do live like that actually. I live in light of an afterlife of heaven and hell, and I don't want anyone I know to go to hell, so I remember that when with them.

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