He wasn't the most handsome man I've ever met; in fact, over the years of knowing him, I've heard others say he was downright ugly. Slightly built, he was rather short, had the worst case of adult acne I've ever seen; his watery blue eyes drooped at the outer corners like those sad eyes of a Basset Hound and his teeth needed the services of an orthodontist desperately.
At one time in his life he had been married, producing a daughter who was very important to him; he talked of her often to me during the years we worked together. The only other person I knew about from his private life was his mother whom he adored; it was easy to tell she felt the same, though I only met and talked with her when she came into the store to shop or go to lunch with him.
He was a quiet, unassuming man who spoke softly; I never once heard him raise his voice in anger; nor did he ever complain even though years of hard physical work had played some havoc with his back. He wasn't the speediest cashier I ever worked with, but he was steady, accurate and dependable. His customers loved him. Why? Because he was so genuinely friendly and real.
Anyone willing to look beyond the facade of his looks found a man of extreme intelligence and a sense of humor that could have made him millions. Unfortunately, some people were unwilling to do that, which was their loss. By some stroke of luck, I've been fortunate enough to be a person who doesn't care what a person wears around for a body, or what bad habits, weaknesses or flaws they may have; I try to see past all those unimportant things into the heart and soul.
My friend, Bob Looney, was a beautiful person in my eyes. Though I had few opportunities to see him in the last ten years, it was always a pleasure when I did, always involving a great hug and hilarious laughter. Bob passed away a couple of days ago, his body riddled with cancer.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have known such a great soul. So... here's to you Bob Looney. May your new life be filled with laughter, be pain free and have all the beer you could ever possibly want. I will miss you!