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Tribute (Why do we wait ‘til they’re dead?)



Old Uncle Bobby’s Musings It happens on television when a celebrity dies. Producers scramble for photos and live video that they can string together, add some dramatic music and, to the best of their ability, make you feel something strongly about the person who has passed on. It happens at funerals. Someone makes a Powerpoint presentation using pictures of the deceased blended with sad music and the people cry because they feel the intense appreciation for the person who is no longer with us. But why are we waiting until they die to do a tribute? Why can’t we do it now while they are still alive? Wouldn’t the sincere expression of appreciation help just about anyone to face life’s challenges with a little more confidence? Biographies are inherently fascinating because we all experience so many similarities in our lives. Stories of other people’s accomplishments and challenges and failures and victories tend to bolster our own inner strength. So I’ve decided to devote this issue to living eulogies. I pay tribute to a few people I know. And in doing so, I hope to edify and inspire you to show appreciation to others while they are still alive to benefit from it. If you’d like to share your feelings feel free to e-mail me at All text , artwork and photos in this on-line magazine are ©2009 by Bobby Baker

sacred places

Your Own Back Yard

Sometimes a feeling of Sacred place and true natural beauty can be found right where you are. You may find beauty when you’re least expecting it. We as human beings may not understand it completely, but we love beauty. If you can’t travel to exotic lands right away, just take a look outside. You may be delighted with what you find.

Live Eulogies My dear friends, we are gathered here today to pay tribute to Catherine Baker.

Sometimes when I wa morning, my day could but the minute Catherin conversation, I immedia going to be a great day. out of sight is a feeling o and wellbeing that perv conversation, but the ve room.

Perhaps her accompan angels or ancestral spiri spread the good cheer, b it can always be felt wh around.

Catherine feels very de and emotions are strong nothing weak about her Search the entire universe and you won’t find anything that matches her enthusiasm Catherine feels strongly or comes close to her energetic zeal for life. empathy knows no bou Her very existence is predicated upon being touch with those feeling she wouldn’t do for you inspired and exhilarated. generous and giving.

ake up in the go in any direction, ne engages in ately know it’s Because hidden of good humor vades not just the ery energy of the

nying guardian its are helping to but whatever it is, hen Catherine is

But the real jewels that Catherine embodies are her faith and her willingness. When we were trapped in the dark on a mountaintop years ago, her intuition told her that we were to stay on the mountain until daylight. In the pouring rain, she did whatever was necessary to make the best of the situation. Her spirit of cooperation and willingness to help out in any way made an otherwise ruthless night almost bearable. Finally, just like the wolves she studies, there is her spirit of adventure and freedom. If you were looking for a companion to travel the world with and enjoy the beauty of nature and the awesome culture of the human race, you’d not find a better choice than Catherine.

eeply. Her feelings g and there is r character. y for others. Her unds . When she is in Catherine uses her humor to heal the souls gs, there is nothing of others. Her positive energy is sought u. She is helpful, after. She is my hero. And I love her.

Live Eulogies Cont’d Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re called the phone number on the here to honor my friend flyer. Allen answered and asked Allen Shumaker. me if I’d like to come to his house on Monday night and learn all about the Red Road Group. It was a group of like-minded individuals who studied some of the spiritual aspects of Native Americans. A complete stranger calls him up out of the blue and he invites the stranger to his home. This is a brand of friendship not often found in this world. For three years I went to Red “My friend” is the perfect way Road group meetings at Allen’s to refer to Allen because he is nothing if not friendly. He was my house. Allen became a mentor and very first friend when I moved to a trusted confidant. One Monday night at the Red South Carolina. Road Group we were drawing I saw a flyer at work about cards from the deck of Sacred a camp out. According to the date, I had missed the camp out, Path Cards and I drew a card called the Council Fire. It was but I wondered if there might explained that in some tribes be another in the future and

it was common practice to call together a council fire whenever one of the tribe had a problem they needed help with. After we read the card and discussed the different aspects of what a practice like this must have been like, I told Allen, “I wish the Council Fire was something they still did, because I am very troubled about a decision I need to make.” Allen looked at me with genuine concern and said,, “It does exist. That is exactly what this meeting is all about.” He called all the members of the group together and told them that we must listen to what Bobby has to say. We adjourned out onto the front porch and sat in a circle seven people strong. I told about my need to decide whether or not to divorce my now “X” wife. That night I received the

most profound experience I had ever witnessed as each person took a turn with the “Talking Stick” and shared their insight with me. We stopped meeting after three years, but Allen has remained a true friend ever since. He has always been friendly, helpful and generous. Allen has a quality I don’t find in a lot of other men. He has a dignity about him, yet his sense of humor never allows him to get stuffy. And some how, some way Allen is an icon of masculinity. He embodies the soul and spirit of a father, a brother, an uncle. Of all the male role models you can recall, Allen possesses a little part of every one of them. He is truly a great friend. And I love him.

Live Eulogies Cont’d I wasn’t sure what t friend Jack and asked h that I could use to put o hold the rain out. He sa be over soon. I put buck catch the water, but wi buckets would eventua even worse damage. In forty minutes flat out of bed, driven to his Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, twotarps, found one and w leggeds, four-leggeds, swimmers, crawlers, quarter past two in the flyers, standing ones and stone people. We’re me nail the tarp to the r gathered here today to pay tribute to Jack good friend. Gerstner. Jack is a creator of h Jack is a good friend with a good sense of unlike most folks who n humor and a true desire to help people. that we all create our o At one-fifty a.m. a storm came pounding it. Because he knows it against my house with torrential rain and touch with it, he can an fierce howling winds. I woke up to a drip of things. water hitting my face. I jumped out of bed Jack started Gallery and, turning on lights, I found several cracks to make an art and perf in my ceiling where rain was just pouring house exhibits and acts through. to a more diverse audie

on accessibility rather than profits. I watched him bring his dream to fruition to do so I called my him if he had any tarps through grassroots efforts that brought our community closer together in the process. on my roof to help aid he would look and And Jack became a role model for me. In my humble opinion, and also by direct kets up in the attic to evidence of the photograph supplied here, ithout the tarps, the ally overflow and cause Jack is a sprite with a mischievous spirit who possesses the kind of magic that it takes to bring camaraderie and enlightenment to the t, Jack had jumped s gallery, searched for masses. He is tremendously talented and I was up on my roof at a often wonder which is the greater gift, his e stinging rain helping ability to gather people from all walks of life to come together for one unifying event, or roof. That’s a pretty his artistic ability to express ideas that wake up the docile herds his own reality and never become aware of unaware humans own reality, Jack knows to a new, enlightened and empowered and because he’s in society. Either way, nd does do amazing I’m glad to know him and grateful to be y 701 in an attempt included among his formance venue to friends. I love him. s that would appeal ence and capitalize

Live Eulogies Cont’d

My friends, we are gathered here today to honor my friend and coworker, Matthew Gregory. He is, without a doubt, the funniest person I know. Sometimes I wonder if the howls of laughter coming from my cubicle disturb any of the other workers in my immediate vicinity. He writes a blog called Atomic Icebox at and in revealing this, you will no longer need to take my word for it. But humor isn’t Matthew’s only quality. He is highly imaginative and has an incredible sense of integrity. If there was one attribute I wish I could inherit from Matthew it would be his politeness. He is very well mannered and it shows in the tone of his voice. Whenever he is asked to do something at work, his response is always, “Sure, I’ll be glad to do it.” And I’ll hear that over

the top of my cubicle and think, “Jeez why don’t I sound like that?” People ask me to do something and I usually respond, “Yeah, okay.” with no real enthusiasm at all. He always sounds upbeat, positive and more than willing to help out. Matthew is young at heart. He plays video games and watches cartoons, especially PIXAR cartoons and that is the mark of a man with good taste. I appreciate Matthew’s lightning fast wit and his imaginative approach to humor. He is so funny to me that I will often laugh out loud at the simplest e-mail he sends my way. One day he asked me (via e-mail) why I was going to see the doctor after I had announced my upcoming absence due to a doctor’s appointment. I wrote back and told him what the visit was for. He wrote back and said, “I would have equally accepted ‘Get up out my biznaz fool.’” Matthew is also a wellspring of great ideas. He saw that I was doodling some fishes on paper one day in a meeting and, after complimenting my work, suggested that I get serious about these fish cartoons and create real works of art with them. I followed his suggestions and have become rich overnight. Well, not really overnight. And not really rich. But I’m working on it and I’ll owe it all to Matthew when I hit the big time. I truly hope Matthew finds the perfect outlet for his humor. He’d be the world’s best comedian or comedy writer if he gave either one of those half a chance. I’d hate to lose his presence everyday at work, but I’d cheer him on in any direction his heart takes him. Matthew makes me laugh and I love him.

Live Eulogies Cont’d

Friends and Family, we are here today to honor my friend and teacher Rick Miller. Rick has been a good friend of mine for a long time and he has qualities that I admire and hope to learn from. Rick is a spiritual man and as such he brings a special sense of healing to those who will listen to what he has to say. He is also devout in his studies. He does whatever it takes to learn the ways of his path on this earth and he does it with complete trust and dedication. Those are some of the things I would like to learn. Some of his friends call him Laughing Heart and it easy to see why

they call him that. Rick has a sense of humor and he admires humor in others. When Rick laughs it is a sight to behold and a sound to be heard. Rick does not mess around when it comes to laughing. His laugh is hearty and full and he continues until he is all laughed out. But Rick has a serious side as well. He reminds me of the persona of a cowboy. He has a great caring for the land and the “herd” he calls his friends and family. To the best of his ability he will always try to help them stay out of the ditch, and keep them healthy, happy and warm. Rick is a man who stands up for what he believes in and in all the years I’ve known him I’ve never once seen him cave in to peer group pressure. That is also something I’d like to continue learning. Finally, Rick is a responsible human being. He doesn’t shirk his responsibilities. If he tells you he will be there to help you out, then by hook or by crook he will be there. Rick is a trustworthy soul and I trust him with my very own soul. I will always appreciate his ability to be an adult and at the same time, have just as much fun as a little kid. I honor Laughing Heart and his ways. I believe he will make a difference in many people’s lives as he follows his destiny to become a wise teacher and trusted friend. And I love him.

Live Eulogies Cont’d and said it was going to be a pleasure working with me. I can’t tell you how much nervousness that dispelled immediately.

Boys and girls, dads and moms, brothers and sisters, we’ve come here today to pay tribute to Julie Scott, my friend and coworker. From the first day I walked into my workplace nervous as a squirrel at a cat convention, Julie has been a complete delight. She said hello to me

I admire her teamwork and her desire and ability to get things done. And Julie is a rare person in my opinion because she is a goal oriented no-nonsense woman, yet will consistently surprise me with her unexpected wit and outside-the-box humor. Julie is the perfect friend when it comes to a sense of humor because no matter what kind of silly premise you come up with to try and be funny, she is going to hop on board with you and ride that train ‘til it makes it to the station or

de-rails along the way. I think this is just part of her spirit of cooperation. She also makes a perfect boss, because her sense of compassion is huge. She works with each person and makes herself aware of the time needed to finish a job and the resources necessary to get it done with the least amount of resistance. She’s really good at staying organized.

at work. I believe she has adopted each one of us into her extended family and that’s why she cares so much about us. She is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in either. If someone makes the mistake of trespassing against her or even one of us, she’ll protect herself (and us) like a mother bear protects her cubs. That amount of integrity combined with that much of a wild sense of humor makes Julie one of my favorite people.

Julie is honest, full of integrity and an authentic person who has never tried to put on airs. Her positive spirit comes natural to her and I’m glad I get the chance to she cares a lot about family. work with her and be her She loves her own family and friend and I just love her. I believe that’s what makes her so easy to get along with

What’s the funnest Thing A good question to continue asking ourselves is, “What are the funnest things I can do?” and “Who would be the funnest people to do them with?” Doesn’t that sound like an important question, knowing as we do that our time upon this planet is somewhat limited? Even if you chose not to do them, you’d still be better off knowing what they are , just in case you change your mind. I have honored and paid tribute to half a dozen people here today. And there are a lot more people I’d love to do this with. However, I’d much rather go have fun with them. Having fun with other people

is a blast off! I’ve made movies with good friends just for the fun of it. I’ve been rafting, canoeing, kayaking and tubing with relative strangers and laughed ‘til I thought my heart would explode from the joy of it. I’ve sat quietly with loved ones in the hospital room and on a cliff overlooking a valley bathed in the warm glows of a stupendous sunset. I’ve listened to jokes and funny stories until my face hurt from grinning so much. I’ve gone swimming at swimming holes that were the closest thing to paradise I’d ever seen.

g I can Do Right Now? I’ve flown kites and model airplanes and I’ve come crashing down out of the sky in a real airplane and lived to tell about it. I helped the Forest Service put out forest fires. I helped dry prunes and pick cherries and almonds and walnuts and filberts and peaches and strawberries and wild apples and wild roses and there were other people there enjoying the process right alongside me. Sometimes it’s as simple as watching a movie or a comedy on television and looking over at the person next to you when the movie makes you laugh and seeing they’re laughing too that hits deep and reminds me that we

are having fun. Keep asking yourself, “What are the funnest things I can do?” and “Who would be the funnest people to do them with?” And then, by God, go and do them. We can’t take people for granted. That is to say there is no Genie in a bottle that will grant us three people. People are not guaranteed to come into our lives. So if you have some, if there are some people you know... go have fun with them. Appreciate them. Honor them. Pay tribute to them while they are still here in your life. I promise you’ll always be glad you did. Don’t take life too seriously, because it’s only a temporary condition.

Bobby says: Do the Fun Stuff! Š2009 Bobby Baker

The Fun Stuff-3  
The Fun Stuff-3  

Living Eulogies. Why do we wait for people to die before we say how we really feel about them?