Today we said goodbye to “The Velvet Fog”.
That was Bob’s nickname.
Given by his church choir.
Earned by having a smooth velvety bass voice.
Bob was by profession
The only pediatrician in this part of the state
For many years.
Known for his ability to diagnose
Difficult and little known
Ailments in children.
He was beloved.
My friend Linda recalls a childhood bout of scarlet fever.
And knowing when she heard that gentle deep voice
At her door – making a house call.
That everything would be all right.
I sang in the choir with Bob and his delightful wife Betty
For just over 40 years.
Now anyone who has ever sung in a church choir
Knows that we are the quirkiest collection of people.
Ours is no different.
It goes something like this.
The sopranos – of which I am one – catch on quickly.
Not because of our superior musicianship
But because we get to sing the melody
Most of the time.
The altos have the rich part.
The dissonant notes
That resolve into unexpected places.
The tenors – well there are never enough tenors.
All church choirs need them
To add to the fullness of the music we sing.
Then there are the basses.
Bob would be there
With that mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
Usually sitting on the back row
And having a great time.
Now I won’t say they don’t pay attention
But one year when our choir director, Charlotte
Gave out “awards” at the Christmas party.
Bob got the “where are we, Charlotte?” award
Because he never really knew where we were.
In his later years Clark did his best to keep him on task,
But what can I say – he tried.
So today we sang all his favorite hymns.
Eddie Lou, our choir director,
Invited everyone who had ever sung with Bob
To come and join our choir for the funeral.
His favorite anthem – the one he asked to sing
Almost every week
Was “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
In SEVEN parts!
A piece of music sung by so many of us
Since high school.
We filled the choir loft
More men than women
Unusual for a church choir.
And we sang
Our hearts out
For Bob and Betty.
They have been married for 72 years.
I’m so thankful they shared so many of them