Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Memorium: Bye, Papa

[ed: This post is in loving memory of Robert (Bob) Keller, who passed away yesterday, 10/13/10]

I suspect that most readers will wince when I mention "The Brady Bunch;" the theme song is an almost tribal memory for most of us. In "real life," of course, blended families don't always (or frequently) actually "blend." Because of his indomitable spirit and bottomless heart, my step-dad, Bob Keller, managed that incredible feat.

My father passed away when I was 22; a few years later, Mom found her other true love when she met Bob. I remarked often that it must have been terribly convenient for her: both of her beloved husbands were Roberts. From the moment we met, Bob and I connected and when they wed a few months later, his family and ours had already begun to bond. I still fondly recall our family Chanukah parties, with the kids and the adults all happily chattering and feasting on latkes. Bob had a way of bringing all those who were close to him close to each other.

When our eldest was born, there was no "well, he's a step-grandfather;" he held her proudly and lovingly, as if to announce to the world "hey, look at this!" My daughters knew only love from him, and for him, as did my better half.

I adored him.

For many years, we would meet for lunch every week, often sharing wings at, well, the wing's place. Even more often, we shared our mutual love of rare hamburgers at a local pub (and by rare, I mean "walk it through the kitchen - quickly!" - rare). This was usually preceded by our monthly trip to Max's, where Ralph, our balding barber, would neatly trim us up.

It was with Bob that I shared the last few hours of my mother's life, and it was Bob who had the strength to let the hospice nurses know that "Mrs Keller has passed."

I realized today that Bob had actually been in my life longer than my own father. He was a great dad, a terrific grandfather, and an adoring husband. His first wife, Lynn, had passed several years before he and my mother met, but it was obvious to all who knew him that the size and depth of his heart was enough to deeply love both of his wives.

Thank you, Bob Keller, for your kind, strong hands (oh, did I mention that he was an accomplished wood and stained glass artist?), your bottomless and generous heart, and for the love you shared with my mother, my family, and me.
blog comments powered by Disqus