There was an old world charm about him. Decent, respectful and kind. He spoke and thought in measured tones. You don’t see this type of man around much anymore. Old school, pragmatic and honourable to the core.
And his best quality? Bob Calder loved his family.
And hockey, Bob loved hockey.
He wore a plaid shirt many Tuesdays and Fridays. I know this because those were the days we trained together and waged a war against the Parkinson’s that tried to control Bob’s life. When I’d comment on the tartan, Bob would give a little nod. It touched my heart to think he wore something Scottish for me.
I followed the Canucks so we could chat about the team during our workouts. Bob knew I wasn’t really a fan. I couldn’t wait to discuss the latest Olympic Russian doping scam with him! We had plans to compete at the 2018 Winter Games (that crazy story is covered in this previous blog Olympic Gold Medal). No doubt Bob would have had something profound to say about the Olympic committee. I bought an Olympic Bobsled t-shirt from the Whistler Slide Centre as a Christmas gift for Bob. He would have called me an idiot but I think he would have loved it.
Bob passed away on Thursday. When his wife, Florence, called with the news, I cried.
This was not supposed to happen. Bob was winning.
I will miss him. Our time was precious and I wanted more.
A couple months ago I thought of taking a selfie of us. Then quickly realized no picture could ever capture the joyful glint in Bob’s eyes. I’ve never seen someone laugh so much with their eyes. I promised myself to always remember that magical little sparkle.
I wish you’d had the chance to meet Bob. I bet you would have liked him as much as I did.
A true gentleman.
Later that evening, after getting the devastating news and trying to come to terms that I would never see Bob again, I made a trek through the snow to Canuck Place. I thought he would approve. It was a long, cold walk and gave me time to think. I found solace in the magical sparkle.
At the end of each training session, Florence and Bob would walk me to the door. She would say “bye bye” and Bob would give me a wave.
Just like my Dad.