RIP BOB RAY
Like the characters he created, Bob Ray was enigmatic.
Not automatic. Not erratic. Not autocratic.
Enigmatic. (He may have been erotic, but I wouldn't know about that.)
Bob was a tough guy who didn't act like a tough guy. He didn't need to. He wasn't out to prove anything to anyone, so he could be as sweet and charming as he wanted to be. And that's how I saw him: a sweet, charming, handsome guy whom you would not want to mess with.
One time Bob was walking on the Escalinata with a gringo buddy when they were accosted by some local punks. Bob and his friend immediately pulled out knives (accompanied by a few explosive gringo expletives), ready to take it to the next level. The hoodlums, realizing they had made an error in judgement, retreated.
As expats living in South America, we know one another as the men and women we have become, often unaware of the farces and tragedies that shaped us into what we are today. Bob played his scars close to his chest. But like his readers, we may know more of him through his work.
As we reflect on those no longer here to defend themselves, perhaps the measure of a man's worth is how much we are able to become more of who we truly are by having known him.
Bob Ray was such a man.
Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
15 November 2015