Monday, March 16, 2009


I met Bob in Fort Greene Park two summers ago. We walked our dogs every morning around the same time and often chatted about life, politics, our dogs. This morning I found out that he recently died.

Bob was a tall, very thin, soft-spoken, gentle African American man. I would say he was in his late 60's. He had a dog named Jasper, a big old Irish Setter, who had terrible allergies in the summer. Bob and Jasper were often sitting under one of the old oak trees and I would stop by with Lucy and Lola for a long chat every morning. I never knew his last name. I knew that he had a wife who'd been sick and he visited her in the hospital every day, brought her food and whatever she needed. When she recovered, he often drove her to and from work. He told me that he'd been a therapist. I found out today, when I asked a few of the men in the park if they'd seen Bob lately, that not only had he died, but that he'd also been a very respected saxophone player. They told me that he would often come to the park in the afternoon and play his saxophone. I'm sorry I never heard him play.

They said he was watching some kind of game on television with a friend and the friend said, "Bob, did you see that play? Wasn't that amazing?" Bob didn't respond. He probably had a massive heart attack or stroke.

His friend took Jasper.

Once, when I was crossing the street with the dogs and was on the phone to Zoe, a car suddenly started backing up. I didn't notice it. Bob jumped out of his car and pulled me out of the way. I really can't believe that he's gone.

Walking in the park with the dogs this summer isn't going to be the same.

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