Ooh, I’ve been wandering ’round, But I still come back to you, in rain or shine, You’ve stood by me girl (boy) I’m happy at home, You’re my best friend – Queen
(Our Wedding Song March 2009)
My husband has often noted that I seldom, if at all mention him in my blog posts. There are many reasons he has not debute on the site, some being he isn’t the most conventional man and doesn’t fit neatly into many subject matters. I would describe him as the jig saw puzzle piece that was placed in the wrong box. And well, Bobby isn’t your basic blog kind of guy. But since his birthday in August, I have been toying with the idea of changing up my writing style and tell a little story about the man who shares his last name with me.
This story begins back in 1979. A year that the Sony Walkman debuted, Girls Denim Overalls were in fashion and Toyota Corola hit the roads. This was also the time my father began working for a man named Chester Finely who purchased a rolling hilled ranch in Templeton, California. The initial purchase was to house the family own quarter horse race horses once they finished their running careers. With acres of permanent green pasture and a barn full of stalls, it was the dream of any four-legged creature.
Around the same time my parents divorced and my mother, brother and I relocated to the Santa Barbara area with my mom extending her career in the United State Postal Service. Being good children of the 80’s Johnny and I spent every other weekend making the journey for the hand off at the Denny’s parking lot in Santa Maria, so that we could visit our father. And not just our father, but our grandparents, extended family and our childhood friends. You see Templeton was our home, where are roots began, and family heritage ran deep.
Along the same time a young squire named Bob Eshelby (Bobby or Little Bobby to most) was experiencing a similar journey yet located in city of Long Beach. On the occasional weekend or holiday Bobby, too would accompany his grandparents (Pa and Ma Finley) to their Central Coast Ranch. During these visits chance encounters would develop and Bobby and Jacky would spend pre-teen time together.
My first memory was shortly before Christmas. The weather was cold and rainy and my father had asked Ma Finley if Johnny and myself could stay inside at her house while he did the daily chores. Bobby happened to be sitting in his grandmother’s living room. Ma Finley decided it was the perfect group of elves to wrap her gifts. I will never forget sitting there wrapping away, only to discover a new pile of boxes coming out of one of her secret storage closets for some new good person on the nice list. You see Ma Finley had a knack of keeping gifts on hand in a secret closet, so not matter what occasion she was prepared to surprise a guest with a gift. Bobby developed this habit in a slightly different version, but we will get to the story a little later.
To say a twelve year old Jacky took a fancy to the dark haired boy would have been an understatement. But it wasn’t until March 1982 that the two potential love birds finally had their first date. Well date maybe a strong sense of the word, but you get my point. During a Spring Holiday, both visiting the area for family, it was offered that Jacky could attend the movie Porky’s with Bobby, his cousin’s Brett and Chet. Chester was the leader, could drive and secure us all into the movie. For me it was a big deal, not only did I get to see a racy movie with three boys (one I had a major crush on) but we were going to drive over the grade to San Luis Obispo. I was feeling so much like a rebel without a cause. Needless to say I don’t recall much about the movie, but I can still remember the feeling when Bobby sat there and held my hand. The rest of the week was a blur, I do believe Bobby’s mother took us all bowling (where he swears we kissed for the first time). It isn’t I don’t doubt this moment, the hand holding and butterflies in my stomach was all that mattered to me.
During the teenage years our paths seldom crossed. I have to admit I loved going into his grandparents’ house so I could catch of glimpse of Bobby framed on the wall. In my mind there was np cuter 16 year old boy in the world. But as luck would have it, his cousin Brett would tease me, which somehow produced me saying something along the lines, “Oh I don’t like Bobby he is a penciled neck geek.” Which of course was the farthest from the truth, he was the boy I secretly sneaked in the house to view photos. Yet, Pa Finely latched on to the saying like tick to cattle in dense brush, and never let it go.
Over the next 25 years or so, we grew our separate ways and experienced much different lives. Never really seeing each other, but catching up on the other through family and friends.
Until the faithful night on December 14, 2007. My cousin Stacy and I were to meet in downtown Paso Robles at a local hangout. We were celebrating a recent job promotion for her and the Christmas Holidays. I arrived first to a packed bar. But as the people stated to clear, there sat one person at an empty table. I said,” Bobby Eshelby can we have your table?” And his reply was, “Jacky Coon you haven’t changed a bit.” (not really rocket ships and fireworks) Long story short after some deliberation with a few people left at his party, we were asked to join them at their location. Bobby and I began to catch up. Life, family, kids, and relationship status. I informed him I was on a “man time out.” Well the night went on and before you knew it I was driving Stacy and Bobby both home well after midnight. We dropped Stacy off first as she was the furthest out and then I pulled up to the ranch. Yep, Bobby was back living on the ranch where it all began. He insisted I come and check out his place, as it was a facility my father had built years earlier. As he walked me back to my car he said “You realize you need to kiss me goodnight so I can see if it feels the same when we were kids?. I gave in and low and behold it felt pretty spectacular.
Over the next few days we communicated and he visited my house to see the Christmas Tree. As he looked around the room and made a few comments on how well we would fit together, he looked at me and said, “I know you are on a man time out, but if I cut my hair and clean up, will you go out on a proper date with me?” and after a long pause I said yes. The final tidbit I will share before going on to the real point of this blog is that Bobby called the restaurant and told them this a first date he had been waiting twenty-five years to happen. Might just be one of the sweetest things he has every said.
So what is the point, message, learning lesson, or pause for thought of this blog, really nothing more than to share some true Bobby traits and things he has taught me. For nothing else our grandkids can reflect on Pa Esh and his good stuff.
Here is goes –
10 – Bobby is comfortable in his own skin. He is never out to impress, show ego, or be someone he is not. And that suits him just fine. Don’t get me wrong, he has many skins (like a chameleon) there is laid back double shirt, beanie, haven’t trimmed the facial hair in a few days, looks. There is Vegas Bobby with a coat and pinky ring on one hand and a martini in the other, there is dancing Bobby ready to perform for any size crowd, there is golf Bobby, and maybe my favorite laid back hanging at home in over size gym shorts and T-shirt I got him at some fair. But what you see is what you get.
9 – Bobby can be quite funny. (now I say this with an * as sometimes we both agree what he finds funny maybe others don’t). But no one can make me laugh more or event better smile bigger.
8- His ability to cook. (I like to say we are a good team in the kitchen, yet we have different styles). He will meticulously chop, cut, measure and clean up every ingredient before he even starts. And he religiously follows the recipe. Now here is when he would say, I come along with my “witches brew” and add a little of this and a little of that but somehow it all comes out find in the end. Oh and he has strict rules on dish cleaning which I don’t always follow, but we seem to manage well enough to have spotless eating ware.
7 – Believe it or not he loves to learn. Maybe not by choice, but when saddled with a task (after the stomach grinding has passed) he will take on a project head on. Many times having to repeat the steps or return to the store for different parts, but he will teach himself and not stop until the job is complete. And the feeling of satisfaction he gets for tackling the chore is something you can’t buy in a box.
6 – He is loyal to his friends. And the older the friend, the more stock you have in the bank. I get it, he may not always show this side or text daily. But, his friends are his family on a level that many never achieve.
5- One of my favorite traits of Bobby’s is his competitive nature. He seems easy going, talk a little smack, but get him on the golf course and his number one goal is to kick your fanny. I think that is why he blended so with the kids. But the competition runs deeper. He hurries to all clearance aisles to find the best deals. And when I inquire what might we do with a 3 quart roasting pan, he replies gift closet. (Ma Finley through and through).
4 –His sense of adventure and love of travel. Especially when there is an upgrade involved. If I have to say one thing that Bobby and I are perfectly matched is send us on a trip and we will have the time of our life. We don’t even have to discuss what to eat, where to go, what to do, it is just natural.
3 – The love of his family. There is no truer statement that even when Bobby is at the end of his rope and beyond done with his kin, at the end of the day it is his family and he loves them to the bottom of his soul.
2 – He is the world’s greatest step-father. The day we got married, as part of our vows, he promised to love Nolan, Kayla and Lilly. He always tells me I hate making promises because what if I can’t keep them and let you down. Well this is one he made, kept and I believe it is just part of his being. The family we have built, the five of us, may not always be perfect, but I couldn’t imagine a replacement.
1 – Well as our wedding song said, you are my best friend. We have our ups and our downs over the past 12 years. But there is something about Bobby and his heart that has a piece of mine. I truly appreciate it even when he is the unhappiest at me, he is still my person. Even though we both have fallen short, dropped balls, and let each other down, there is always the story that brings us back. I believe in him to the moon and back. Like our wedding video, in the famous words of Taylor Swift, It’s a Love Story Baby just Say Yes.
I didn’t find the perfect birthday present this year, but I am thinking (even though) a month late, I couldn’t find you a more sincere, honest and timeless gift. I love you.