My dear friend Bob Hall passed away February last. He had suffered complications from diabetes (first losing a big toe, then the lower half of a leg), then ultimately acid reflux lead to GERD, and then esophageal cancer. The last few months of his life, he was eating through a feeding tube. Lost half his weight, and was fighting pneumonia which finally took him.
I had known Bob, first as my investigation boss at Tom Ezell & Associates; later as my boss at Legendary Guns of the West (where I worked part-time), since 1981. More than being a boss, he was a dear friend. We saw each other through the stuff of life. I’ve a stepbrother – Bob and I are much closer.
He was always honest and true to me. His trademark was nothing is so serious that a joke cannot be made about it. Irreverent humor – Firesign Theatre and Monty Python quotes were often exchanged between us.
He was a crack shot and loved to go ‘to the desert’ to go shooting. Even in his final days, using a walker. And he passed his love of guns and The Second Amendment to his wife and daughters.
He didn’t want a somber funeral.
I heard from one of his daughters that this Saturday (yesterday) was to be his memorial celebration. A caravan of his friends and family went to the desert to one of his favorite shooting spots, did some eating, shooting, then spread his ashes.
Bob’s favorite things, family, shooting and grilling – combined!
I was honored to have been invited, and was honored to bring and shoot my 1911 – a National Match slide on a Vega frame, with lowered Bomar sights, a Micro bushing, and Swenson ambidextrous safety, hand-fitted by gunsmith Burke Hill. Which Bob sold to me in 1983.
I dubbed her The Bob Hall Signature Model. My roommate calls her Bobbie.
It’s been probably 20K rounds, and except for occasional cleaning, lube and replacing the recoil spring @ 3000 rounds, not much has changed. She remains a tack driver.
Essentially a race gun (c) 1977.
And she is my companion when the Phoenix weather permits.
Bob sold her to me for a pittance. He never profited from guns he sold to friends. And I had to make payments to him, I was so poor! (having been a new father at the time.)
It’s only fitting I take her to what Bob called Burro Town to shoot her one more time.
So, about eighteen of us gathered yesterday. Did some shooting – ate BBQ chicken with all the fixings. (including cherry cheesecake – Bob’s favorite!)
Then, we stood in a circle and shared memories of Bob. There was tears and laughter. Then Anita (Bob’s wife) asked those who wish to to take some of Bob’s ashes and place them about Burro Town*.
Then, we shot a simultaneous volley in his name. All of us using guns once owned by him!
This is the photo the family chose to place on the food table. Bob hated having his picture taken.
(*It was named Burro Town by Bob, due to the wild burros that wander the region. Usually, we see a few. Yesterday, they were absent.)
But we who loved him were there.
Peter (Bayou Renaissance Man) provided us with a well-thought-out tome regarding the recent (and ongoing) unpleasantness, and what happens if you happen to encounter such activity while driving.
The short version – DON’T BE THERE, KEEP MOVING!
Reading about these recent events took me back to my youth. No, I wasn’t protesting anything. I was simply trying to drive home.
(an aside – This was before I was an armed individual)
I had spent a pleasant evening with David Mitchell (another Dave-HA!) and was returning across the Tempe bridge when I came upon perhaps 200 people marching (well, walking together) across the bridge.
Against the flow of traffic, and my vehicle!
Not only did I not know WHY they were taking this action. I DIDN’T CARE! I simply wanted to return home to get ready for work (I was working graveyard shift at the time.)
But, here they were. All these folks. Impeding my progress – as well as the other vehicles headed in my direction. As this was a small college town, I even recognized some of the protestors (leftists, the usual suspects!)
Were they violent? (My car doors were locked, of course, as is my custom) My windows were up, also.
I waded into the crowd in my car, and kept moving. Slowly.
They banged with open palms on my windows and doors. And I kept moving. Later, I remembered my radio antenna. It remained unmolested.
Upon my return home, I determined the reason for the ‘march’ was a protest against Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia (at the height of the Vietnam War). While I may or may not have agreed with the protestors, I still had a job to go to.
I changed into my security guard uniform and went to work.
I think I was lucky. And was glad I kept moving.
Rose Mofford, the last ‘beloved’ politician in Arizona (per Arizona Republic columnist Ed Montini), passed yesterday at age 94.
A Democrat, she spent her life in public service. Born in Globe, a mining town to the East of Phoenix, she was an All-American softball player in high school, and turned down an offer to play professional basketball with The All-American Red Heads. She married (and subsequently divorced) a Phoenix Police Captain. They remained friends.
She became a secretary to the State Treasurer, then secretary to the Secretary of State. Ultimately, she was elected to that office, then became Governor upon impeachment of embattled Governor Evan Mecham.
She chose not to run for office at the end of her term, and retired to private life. (above via Wikipedia)
She was famous for being professional, personable, and answering her own telephone. And that ubiquitous beehive hairdo!
I had a run-in with her one day. Or rather she with me. 🙂
I was at the Arizona Department of Transportation (this was during my career as a private investigator) and opted to cross Jefferson St. (a very busy thoroughfare @ 19th Ave. and Jefferson), by jaywalking!
Just before I reached the other side of the street, a car turned East onto Jefferson and began accelerating.
I clapped my hands onto the hood to get the driver’s attention (and to pretend I could actually stop the car) and looked up in fear.
The driver was Rose Mofford! She was Arizona’s Secretary of State at the time. She smiled broadly at me, and mouthed ‘I’m sorry’. I mouthed back,‘that’s okay’, and she drove on.
I understand she supported reasonable gun control (whatever that is). Being a Democrat, I’m not surprised.
She remains a symbol for a kinder, gentler time in Arizona politics.
She will be missed.
I awaken middle of the night and I’m cold. Not just cool – cold. This may have something to do with the fact that I’m laying on top of the top sheet, and not wearing much. (I know – TMI)
Why am I doing this?
Well, I reside in The Valley of the Sun (the Phoenix Arizona area). And we’re experiencing a cold streak. It’s reportedly going to be 103° F, today.
It was 118° a week-and-a-half ago! (Unofficially at a friend’s – 123°, on his back patio!)
And being in the Western side of the townhouse, I get the PM Sun exposure. Usually 5 – 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house!
SO…I sleep with a fan blowing directly on me, so the A/C may do her best work!
But, the body cools during sleep, and sometimes the combination of forced colder air and a cooler body equals…?
NO, this is not a replay of the Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode wherein the Earth’s orbit changed, and it is moving ever-closer to the Sun. When, in fact, the TV character’s fever broke and he began getting colder, and in fact the Earth was moving AWAY from the Sun!
I was just getting cold last night. So I moved the fan.
Which has nothing to do with the post’s title, except that’s another TZ episode. The tag line from which popped into my head upon awakening cold. 🙂
My roommate said I watched too much TV as a child. I’m beginning to think she was right.
Sometimes these posts write themselves!
Well, here we are.
Another @&%$)_+%$^ holiday anniversary date!
My roommate wanted to ‘celebrate’, as she believes I was a good, loving father, and my daughter is unfortunately not capable of celebrating me.
My roommate is a good person.
Molly would have been 33 this Father’s Day. My imagination leads to thoughts of an alternative future, wherein she married, had children, and a career. And I had grandchildren.
It was not to be.
She loved animals (during her time here we had two dogs, three cats, a hamster and two goldfish). She wanted to become a veterinarian.
I also imagine a house filled with numerous animals and kids, running willy-nilly, screaming and playing.
Sometimes, a good imagination is not a good thing.
To all the good Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day.
Remember to hug them and kiss them and tell them you love them. Daily.
Because, you never know.
Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #17 of 22)
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) is one of my childhood heroes. Not so much because of specifics (being a great athlete/boxer – which he was), but because he stood for something. And if his goals were boasts, he surpassed them.
By taking risks.
In spite of being a member of a controversial religious sect, he gave millions to charities for all races.
One of his biggest supporters was broadcaster Howard Cosell, who was unashamedly Jewish.
Hardly following the party line of radical Islam there, Mr. Ali. Good for you!
He passed yesterday from complications due to Parkinson’s disease. Not a serene way to go. Just short miles from a hospital wing bearing he and his wife’s name. For treatment of Parkinson’s.
“I AM THE GREATEST!” he used to boast.
Today is the 27th Anniversary of the ending to the protests in Tianamen Square, Peking, P.R.C. We all remember that famous photo of the guy and the tank.
Here it is, in a wider view:
Makes me think of the force of unfettered government versus the individual.
I wonder if he had heard of Muhammad Ali?
Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #2 of 22)
I’ve always liked fine blued firearms. Even though my corrosive sweat destroys them when I’m within six feet of one. 🙂
Had a friend years ago who picked up a Colt LW Commander for $125 (This was the 70’s). The slide was in bad need of refinishing. He spent hours with steel wool and degreaser, followed by a cheap cold blue. (Birchwood Casey?) Never got it to look right, and later traded it for an early S&W model 60. (Which I later acquired🙂 then had stolen😦 )
I spent years touching up my various blued firearm and parts with cold bluing and bluing pens (and scratches on alloy frames with oxide pens!) Never seemed able to get bluing solution of a quality formula (this was pre-Internet). I did hear there was one Canadian formula, though. It was like the Holy Grail of bluing!
Years later, a gunnie friend was helping a neighbor with her recently-deceased husband’s firearms. He’d a 50’s vintage Colt Python that had developed some rust issues in storage. We cleaned her up and applied a good cold blue. It was like color-changing steel magic! Colt metallurgy was excellent! (Of course, it probably ruined the value the unadulterated gun would have received.)
My own NM 1911 (The Bob Hall Signature Model) had a blued slide that had been dinged-up and developed some rust and pitting. The frame was a stainless Vega – no issues there. I tried cold bluing a number of times, but was never happy with the result. Eventually, I coughed up significant funds ($200, in 1983?) and had Robbie Barkman work his magic, coating the whole gun in Poly-T and putting NP3 on the internals and mechanicals.
She looks worn on the edges today, but still runs 20K+ rounds later. All I do is change out the recoil spring every 3K rounds, or so, and keep her lubed with lithium grease.
And nary a rust issue to be seen! :-)
Today is the 21st anniversary of the passing of our daughter Molly.
We had been in an automobile accident the previous day, and I spent weeks in intensive care, the hospital and rehabilitation.
Molly spent one day. She was twelve.
I’m doing pretty well, considering. On disability – due to lymphoma. I’ve a roof over my head and a beater car and a supportive family and friends, some of whom I’ve met through these pages in the last five years.
Which brings me to the point I often make.
GO AND HUG THOSE YOU LOVE AND TELL THEM SO! Because you may not get another chance!
She was a terrific kid, and was going to be a terrific adult. But never got the chance.
She was becoming a shooter (who knew? :-)) and was definitely a Daddy’s girl.
She will always be Daddy’s Girl.
I Love You and Miss You!
It is with a heavy heart that I must report to you the passing of Robert H. ‘Bob’ Hall.
Like some folks, Bob was one of my ‘newer’ friends. We met when he interviewed me for a private investigation position at Tom Ezell & Associates, in 1981.
I had applied because I had been working for other P.I. firms, and wanted to get the requisite three years under my belt to obtain my own license. I saw an ad in the paper and called. Jack Wheeler answered, and I thought I had the job!
Jack had been the salesman for Burns Security when I worked there as the assistant security supervisor (lieutenant), so we knew each other. But Jack said it would be inappropriate for him to hire me without the chief investigator interviewing me, so I was introduced to Bob. We became colleagues almost immediately, and fast friends.
You see, about five minutes into the interview, it was determined that Bob had attended high school with one Mary R. The same Mary R. I had married a year previously! They grew up in the same neighborhood. Bob also had a serious firearms fetish, as did I. He just had more firepower than me. Like legal full-auto stuff! (including an M60 and MAC-10, both of which he no longer owns.)
And thus began our friendship. He sold me my favorite 1911 ‘Bobbie’, aka The Bob Hall Signature Model, in 1983. She still works and I still own (and sometimes carry) her. We have been shooting together, on-and-off, ever since.
He married, fathered two terrific girls, and moved on to run his own P.I. agency. In the 90’s, he also became the general manager of Legendary Guns of The West, a store where I hung out, purchased many firearms, and even worked part time.
Bob was one of my closest friends. He taught me, as he taught his girls, not to take life too seriously. Oft times, my phone would ring, and there would be Bob on the line, not ID-ing himself, but quoting the Firesign Theatre or Monty Python out-of-context! “Shine-sheen. A little Egyptian! Chanting a stream of ancient Egyptian holograms – hieroglyphs, that’s it!” or “We dreamed of living in a hallway – we lived in a cardboard box!” Then he would get to the heart of the call – “let’s go shooting, or I’ve got a gun here I know you’d like…”
Bob’s health had been failing in the past couple of years (as recounted in these pages). First diabetes took the lower half of his left leg, then esophageal gastric erosion devolved into cancer, which after chemo and radiation treatments were performed, won.
I remember him for his unwavering support of two family members and one friend through their battles with addiction, his gifting his father with an M2 – just like the one he carried in The War, and his pride in his daughters. Both college graduates, one now on the cusp of getting her doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern! Her focus is on veterans with PTSD! Both are responsible firearms owners.
I know it’s a truism that the older we get, the more ‘this’ appears to happen. Life isn’t fair! Dammit, Bob, I still have the two books from Brigid I promised you! (He refused visitors, not wanting them to see him in his emaciated state.)
Goodbye, and Godspeed, my brother.
I Love You!
As with art (and so many other things) I may not know it, but I know what I like.
like love Linda Ronstadt!
In the early 1970’s, Dave (the
genius mechanic) introduced me to Linda Ronstadt’s music. Being a lonely guy in my 20’s, her torchy rock (a term coined by Time magazine) was just the ticket! I bought and listened to many of her albums, and even was lucky enough to take a fine blond lady named Ali to her concert here, at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, in 1979.
In the late 70’s Playboy magazine called her “the best White pipes in the business.” I agree.
Like so many other entertainment types, unfortunately, she chose the platform built by her music to expound on things political. She even dated Jerry Brown for a while.
But, her music continued to soar, and she kept experimenting. From popular standards (with Nelson Riddle arranging!) to Gilbert and Sullivan and even La Boheme!
I don’t get the opportunity to acquire CDs as I used to, and have never gotten used to digital music. So it saddened me to learn that she is suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and now Parkinson’s disease.
She retired from singing and can no longer perform, in 2009.
She has written a musical autobiography, entitled Simple Dreams, which good friend Biff just gifted me. It details her musical education, growth and evolution, from her Mexican-emigre’ family in Tucson, to her Malibu beach house and beyond. And encounters with musical partners from the guys who later formed The Eagles, to Dolly Parton and even Frank Sinatra!
If she interests you, I highly recommend the book. It would be considered name-dropping, if she weren’t so talented.
(FTC – I get nothing except musical entertainment from Ms. Ronstadt!)