Bob’s been telling me he’s eighty years old since I met him ten years ago.
He harnessed me, just as if he’d been a trail boss, telling me to drive on, don’t quit, got a ways to go. There was no time for lally-gagging. Bob was a high-speed progressive, in the streets, on the sidewalks, at the meetings, in his car rounding up & recruiting, preaching to new choirs & old.
He named himself “curmudgeon” with pride, before he could be accused, his hoarse voice over-talking any who’d waste time saying stuff he didn’t need to hear. He could’ve claimed his lousy hearing for those interruptions, but the truth is he had no time to waste.
I got it out of him that he’d written a book of poetry, and I found a copy, out of print but not out of time. He was a truth-teller, a rabble-rouser, a trouble-maker and a revolutionary. It’s all there in black & white for any who doubt that Bob didn’t arrive here from New Jersey on this quiet dirt road to lead a measured life of ease.
There was beauty in this man. How else to incredibly & wisely corral his sweet Kate to join him in life & adventure. He gave her every wall in their home for her weavings, her paintings, her fibers. He lived in every inch of his Kingdom home & land, cranking up his lousy knees to get himself to Newport’s Main Street by “the fish”. His baseball cap never dared blow away.
I remember once he’d come for strong, long talk at our table, kept saying it was time for him to go because it was getting on to evening. The next day he called to say he’d fallen asleep at the wheel. No harm done. Wheels in the ditch but they’re out now. No harm done.
No harm done that day nor any other. Bob Castle wasn’t a 50% guy, he was 100%, for the Truth of things.
I can’t say I ever heard him preach as a Minister, but I know he traveled to wherever his body would allow, to spread his words to & for real People. Remember he’d been eighty for a long, long time.
Today’s a lonely day. It’s too quiet.
We may not be able to match his volume, but we’ve known his footsteps & it’s up to each of us to keep them clearly in view, as we keep on going. Don’t quit now, he’d say.
I can say that now without him interrupting me.