DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thursday IN MEMORIAM: GOODBYE BAREFOOT

To have known and met Barefoot Bob, was--for me--an honor!

Ten years ago (May 1999) I met Barefoot Bob (Bob Hardison) online, and immediately felt a connection, an affinity with this man, at the time 25 years sober, age 66, the same as me. We thought so much alike, we emailed over that period, and got along well. he lived in Post Falls, Idaho, after having lived--REALLY lived--in many other places.

Five years later I had been regularly following his web site. He published every step of the building of his catamaran. It really caught my attention, that this alcoholic was constructing a boat in which he would sail alone across the Atlantic, to Iceland, then to Ireland, and places south, the Canary Islands, eventually back home, somewhere in Maine or Massachusetts. I admire SO that kind of "do-it-iveness".

As I later read daily online (a "ship's log") of his trip, he was being pushed by storms down into Florida waters and lost his mast. Barefoot wound up motoring his craft across the state, through the Okeechobee Waterway to Ft Myers, then to an island along the west coast of FL. There he laid up for R&R and repairs.

And it was there I drove to meet with this fabled man (he looked MUCH older than same-age-steveroni, ya know? -grin!). I had taken my violin along just in case (well, yes, in a case!). Ya know what? He and I sat on the stern of his "Cat" in a secluded harbor, on a sunny, summerly afternoon, and made music together, Barefoot on guitar, and me on violin.

A small audience gathered, seemed to enjoy it, but not as much as we did. We exchanged gifts and "broke bread" together.
We spent a fine Sunday afternoon together, and as we parted, I figured we'd both live forever. But that's not how it happened.

Barefoot was taken "home" to have a face-to-face meeting with his chief Sponsor, his (and my) Higher Power. One of the blogger guys, Ed or Hank, Dave, Syd, Eli, Findon, Mark, Joe--someone, alerted me only days ago, that Barefoot died this past January 31, 2009.


Barefoot was so full of AA and its Principles, and we talked long about our experiences, strengths, and hopes. My discussion with such a man imbued me with a new fervor for our program at a time when--about 30 years sober--I had discovered a certain complacency in myself: cunningly, bafflingly, powerfully dangerous at any time. Thank You God, and thank you, Barefoot Bob!


I miss you man, sober now 35 years, age 76, and a fellow member of AA in good standing. You trudged the road all the way to happy destiny. God bless you, Barefoot. Amen.


Love and Peace,
Steve E


NOTE: Barefoot (HERE) has over 500 pages on the Internet, I have linked certain pages which are primarily AA/Recovery oriented.


17 comments:

Mike Golch said...

Steve,sounds like a gentileman I would have enjoyed meeting.condolences on the loss of your friend.

Gin said...

What an awesome experience and and awesome memory. From the sounds of it he didn't take his sobriety for granted one bit and lived his sober life to the fullest. Sounds kind of like you. No wonder you two had a connection...

vicariousrising said...

Sorry you lost a friend, but, oh how wonderful to have met such a man!

clean and crazy said...

such a beautiful tribute, i am saddened for your loss but i know you will push through with the best of them. you are in my thoughts today.

Just Be Real said...

Stevie, a sweet tribute to an awesome person with whom you care a whole lot for. Thank you for sharing with us all!

Pam said...

Oh I did not know he had died. I feel all chocked up now. I've used so much of his stuff through the years. Printed off lots of his step work for sponsees. How very awesome that you got to spend the day with him.
I too, think everyone is going to live forever....when I want them to.

Mary Christine said...

God Bless Bob, and Steve.

Ed G. said...

Nice tribute to a guy who was an inspiration to me as well...

Thanx...

Prayer Girl said...

I remember the day you went up to Pine Island to meet Barefoot Bob.

I remember the stories you have told of coming to meet "The Hermit" in the Everglades. Seems you are drawn to a certain type of man.

But - big difference between Barefoot Bob with talk of AA and spiritual matters and "The Hermit" of long, long ago with the afternoon of drinking.

Wonder who will be next?

PG

Shadow said...

what a wonderful tribute, thank you for showing me a glimpse of him...

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Thank God for Barefoot Bob and the legacy he leaves behind as his Spirit is now a REAL part of the Road of Happy Destiny we trudge....

May God bless and keep each one of us... until we meet again!

Kristin H. said...

I know we all must go at some time, but I just wish we could keep the good ones around a little longer. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Steve E. said...

Ya know, friends...I had not shed one lousy TEAR--until today, as I read your comments and remarks.

You are ALL very touching in your words, and you have no idea how much you all have meant for my peace, my happiness, and my sobriety

Syd said...

Thanks Steve for this tribute to a friend and fellow traveler. What a great thing that you got to meet--not coincidence in my opinion but God inspired. I'm sure that you were each the better for knowing each other.

Findon said...

It was good to read that you had actually met Bob. I did know that he had passed away, seem to remember reading something on his website posted by his son I think. I still visit and liked all the things he used to write. It added to my sobriety and I think that that is passing the message. The same goes for you Steve. We will probably never meet but it's nice to read about your life and others. Take good care of your self now.

Banana Girl said...

God bless you and BB. A touching tribute....hugs. J.

Just Be Real said...

Thank you Stevie for sharing. Glad your tears came dear one. Blessings!