Twenty-six years of visits back & forth and phone calls nearly every week that opened with riotously funny banter that greatly tried my vocabulary skills. A trip to England together in which we nearly strangled each other. Meeting many of my models. Even enduring the sales pitch when one sold cutlery and demonstrated the sharpness by slicing a thick rope. "Did you really buy a set?" I asked. "Oh yes," P.D. answered in a matter-of- fact tone, "I cut the kitchen table in half."
So many post cards from his travels. None of which were kept. Why? He had been in my life for so long I assumed he would always be. Even when my parents were on the decline I sought him out as my island of sanity. "You take what you can get," he chuckled. I waved a warning finger, "When your time comes, you better not be any trouble!" Arms crossed in a pout, he quickly shot back in a nasal, child-like tone, "I've decided not to go!"
The time came.
People from Rockford and around the country visited. As one old associate who appeared at the door said, 'I heard the professor was ailing." Rama returned and we commenced bickering with each other as we did in the past, much to his delight. "Mr. Dedrick, Rama is picking on me!" I protested. "Good," he smiled up from his chair, eyesight failing. She left a card for me to read since she could not speak the words: that when she traveled the world with her son, took him to great places and great museums, it was P.D. who moved her lips. His voice told of the wonderful things created by mankind.
My last day with Bo-Bo was spent dozing on and off, listening to the music of Gerald Finzi & Ralph Vaughan Williams. Finally I knelt down and took his hand in mine. Looking up I said, "Old man, I take you with me everywhere I go." He responded with choked emotion, "I have so many sons and daughters!"
To this day I continue to share his wisdom, his humor, his stories, and knowledge. Indeed he did have many sons and daughters... and we dream about him all the time.
"Hey Bo-Bo, it's me."
"Ro'ber! Have you good things to share today?"