Still mourning Dale and Alice, we moved across the country to our new home. Very soon we met Bob, affectionately referred to as “Sticks” because of his very long, very skinny legs. Bob was French Canadian, a staunch Catholic and the 13th of 13 children. His family had moved to Rhode Island when farming failed in Quebec, and eventually some moved to Hartford. Bob was a jack of all trades, working at one point in the typewriter factory and at another as a projectionist for the University of Connecticut. He provided very well for his wife and two children.

By the time we met him, Bob was retired, but certainly in no way inactive. In our town, if you no longer want something useful, you leave it at the curb for others to take. We live on a busy street, so things disappear quickly. Still, one morning when Charlie set out a broken lawnmower, it went in a flash, rapid even for us. Sure enough, it was next door in Bob’s yard, along with his five other lawnmowers. Bob couldn’t stand to see anything abandoned, certain he could get it running again. He couldn’t believe that Charlie had given up on it.

But his greatest gift to us was to take over where Dale had left off. He was determined that before he left this earth, Charlie would be able to build, repair or rebuild anything. And he pretty nearly succeeded. More tomorrow.


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