Just how much do I want to remember? Just how much do I want the reader to know? I once asked my brother Shaun if he knew of a program that would time lock a file for 25 years after my death. I think I’m getting close to needing that program.
Hod and I were sitting in his mother’s (Mary Bass) living room and she asked one of those questions for which there is no good answer. “Why do you follow Rob Blank around by the nose?” The question never occurred to Hod, Dave, Pete, and me. The answer never considered. Hod and I looked at each other and grouped it with all the other obvious questions that were natural truths. Why did we like girls? Why was water wet? Why wouldn’t you prove your rife was unloaded by cocking it and pulling the trigger, barely missing Pete, the bullet going through the bed, the floor and the washing machine in the basement? Why would you NOT follow a guy like that?
We were never bored with Rob. He taught us to drink and play poker. And to never bully or be bullied. And to be a true friend.
“Let’s go spelunking in Indiana. We can repel down 100 foot pits. We’ll figure out how to do it when we get there.”
“How will we get out?”
“We’ll figure that out later too.”
Well, we never asked those questions and Rob didn’t bother to share with us any information if he did have an idea. I think it was called “winging it.” When we got bored with that, Rob knew a man 75 miles north that made millions making body bags for the Vietnam War. He had a huge indoor pool and we could camp there and go swimming.
Useful advice from Rob (although not given as advice, just a passing comment): When you go groundhog hunting and use your car roof as a rife rest don’t be too close to the groundhog. You’ll shoot a hole through the roof of your car. Wabash County will pay you 50 cents for the ears and White County will pay you 50 cents for the tail.
Rob knew a guy who would print us fake Alaskan driver’s licenses and fly them into the MC airport for us.
Rob’s favorite joke was to take new aquaintences to his father’s office at Swish-Off and then, when ready to leave, open the back door for the guest. The back door opened from the second story with no stairs or platform. That was a good one.
He invented the winter campout at Beal’s (Bell’s ) Woods. It was to be held on the coldest day of winter. It was a one year tradition we thought would last forever.
River trips, Skin diving in Nassau, Vietnam, McSorley’s in NYC, abandoned ICBM silos, Vint Hill Farms, U of I, good bye.
We didn’t follow Rob by the nose, he lead us and we became better men for it; more creative, brave, and independent; to understand teamwork and to watch each other’s back. Able to make decisions on our own, and then we did.
He only laughed at us once. It was his last party. We laughed, told old stories, and basked in his friendship until his wife threw us out. He was laughing when we left because he knew our tears were not tears of laugher, but the tears of the loss of a true friend.