27 years of Joy!!!

Shared by Craig Byrnes on October 3, 2020
I met Bob and he became my family of choice in the fall of 1994.
My high school (Princess Anne) was a powerhouse marching band in the 70’s.
After watching a band tape, I started to go with him to competitions on the weekend because of my connection to the sport of the art!
Schools from Pennsylvania, to Maryland, and finally Virginia, I watched him improve his craft year after year. Every school he touched turned to gold!
He did this for 37 years, and I was blessed to have watched 27 of them.
I’m remembering the nights I couldn’t sleep because he was up all night sewing flags on his machine!
Dut tu du duttt di da dut.... 
I could not spin a flag or a rifle, but he taught me how to watch... timing, movement, what the ensemble was doing, and the general effect through design, color and music.
Many a night I walked away breathless, seeing his creations come to life! His house was filled with medals, photos, and videos of performances from 1980 to 2019!
Bolts of lame filled the living room and his bedroom!
I asked Bob, since he sewed his own flags, if he would help me create a gay bear flag for a research project I was doing when I first met him,
Now, that flag is known all over the world as the gay bear flag.  I call Bob “Bearetsy Ross”, and you know Bob’s sarcasm.  He’d reach over to smack me!   
During our history, I came to know the Pug world, and Bob and I hosted a number of pugs who were family:
Bob bought me Eddie Bob for Christmas because I had two pugs in my life previously.. Milly and Mona.
Then I got Peanut Butter as a rescue pug. 
Bob brought Patsy Lou, and I bought him Peaches. Then came Angus, and finally Gracie Lou. Pugs came to the rehearsals! Peaches loved lame!!!
I couldn’t watch the shows live, later on, so life with Bob became dinner, in front of the TV, score sheets and judges tapes in hand, while I watched the band or the Colorguard perform.
We discussed! I marveled!
Bob kept growing, and the magic got bigger!!! I was his biggest fan!
I’ve been blessed 4 times by Bob!
Life and love with the pugs, a history of gay bear culture, a lifelong friendship with amazing food that he prepared, and the wizardry he created on the field and the floor mat!
In the band and Colorguard world, this stands out to me:
if y’all did an amazing job, and a judge didn’t recognize and reward the excellence, he gave that judge a whoopin’!  Needless to say, they fell in line at their next judging performance! Now if a performer didn’t come up to what he believed was possible, he took that student out and gave them a verbal whoopin’!  He didn’t mince words, and many a tear was shed!
But, when it was time, all that hard discipline paid off, and the medals went around the neck, making the discipline worth it!
Mr. B, I’m so proud of you! You made my life so joyful! And to you guys at Madison, when you were regional champions and 2nd in your class at the BOA Grand Nationals, I was so proud of you too!  Together, you made the National stage, and Bob and your organization went out with a bang!
Rest in peace my dear friend, and my family of choice!
Life without you will be more black and white! You made it colorful

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