Briefly, I Am Bob.

Like millions of Americans, I am on the road this Memorial Day weekend 2009.

Some things never change about this holiday.  Historically, it began after the Civil War as a day of remembrance to honor both Confederate and Union soldiers who died in our “War Between the States” and it has morphed since 1865 into the official start of summer.

Certain things you can count on: no matter the state of the economy, you’ll always pay more for the gas needed to fill your tank.  On highways headed to Cape Cod,  you shall always pass vehicles towing boats.  Invariably, there will be a parade down main streets and monuments dedicated to fallen soldiers.

In my town, the stone memorial for those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan had a blue tarp over it in anticipation of  Monday’s dedication ceremonies.  It is surrounded by three other stone monuments dedicated long ago to the veterans of World War I, World War II, and the war in Vietnam.

This year, the only thing I had in my car was my camera bag and a balloon for my cousin Mary’s friend, Bob.   His birthday was three days ago.

The balloon was a two foot multi-colored inflated latex butterfly that was quite possibly the worst looking balloon I’d ever seen.  I bought it as a gesture of birthday remembrance and fun futility as this adult aging thing demands profound shallowness at certain points in time.

When I got to the house on the Cape where they were going to pick me up and we’d travel together to another cousin’s birthday party further down the Cape, I took the balloon out of the car to show it to my three year old grand niece, Mary, who had just woken up.   She blinked several times at the butterfly balloon.

“Pappy!! ” she shrieked.   Miss Mary does not have a  low volume voice.

“Yes, sweet girl, ” I said.  “It is for my friend, Bob, and when he comes I’d like you to give it to him.”

Without missing a beat and in the quietest, whisper voice I’d ever heard come out of her, she said with utter conviction:

“Pappy, I am Bob.”

As the day flew by blurring the flags along the side of the road, I celebrated birthdays,  photographed and carried all things and people Coakley, both past and present, through the traditional rituals  of remembrance.

No matter what road Americans took this weekend, no matter what price we paid for gas, or boats we towed or balloons we carried, for a brief moment all of us remembered those who deserve remembering and, despite what our birth certificate says– briefly, too briefly, our name is Bob.



10 comments on “Briefly, I Am Bob.”

  1. Another fanrastic image. I love the stripes (from a flag I presume).

    I also like “profound shallowness” because it’s one of my favourite oxymorons.

    • Yes, Razz…a flag and profound shallowness, next to I am Bob, of course, was my favorite phrase of this post, too!! I am very good at being profoundly shallow, too!

  2. Lot’s of impact with the strong graphic elements here… and your more subtle comments on how we can all be “Bob”, if only for a moment, and accept the many gifts offered.

    • Don, thanks…what I love about the I am Bob line is that it is so simple. I am worthy of gifts, of being remembered, of being celebrated. Warriors, all.

  3. Painting with words and images, as you do, it’s as though winter is now officially over and the summer begins. Not soon enough for you.

    I really like how you create moving images out of still ones. Where I want to caution you to be careful aiming. shooting and driving all at the same time.

    Do you recall the famous line ” I am Spartacus”?

    If only we could all stand up and be one voice. Maybe it starts with a childs’ barely perceptible whisper…….

    • Bonnie, I got chills remembering that “I am Spartacus” line. Yes, it so totally fits here. I love your thought that it may start with a child’s barely perceptible whisper.

    • Thanks, Chris. There’s no rust on it so I’m surprised you like it!! REaders will just have to visit your blog to find out what I mean!

  4. Hey Pat. I’m back again. I had to look at this image one more time. Your “Behind the Wheel” and “Anxiety” series have been brilliant. Please post more…

    Thanks for the plug.

    • Thanks, Chris…I’m working on others…sometimes they come very quickly together…others are like those table puzzles with 1000 pieces! You deserve all plugs.

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