Bob’s Bench

Our neighborhood, Sunnywood Estates, is a 34-home subdivision built in 1985. We arrived in 1998 and have been here 21 years. I’d say that makes us senior residents, except for the fact that a few families have been here since the beginning. One homesteader family, the Hawks, lived at the end of our cul-de-sac. Bob Hawks was Sunnywood’s unofficial mayor. He was a permanent member of the homeowners’ association, and residents checked with him first whenever they wanted to add fences or gates, landscape yards, or paint their homes. He organized our annual homeowner meetings and our 4th of July neighborhood parade and potluck dinner. His wife died about ten years ago but Bob stayed active in neighborhood affairs right up until last year, when he passed on as well.

At our January homeowners’ meeting we agreed to kick in on cleaning up and landscaping the circle in front of Bob’s old house, turning it into a neighborhood pocket park. We also agreed to the installation of a memorial bench in his name. We gathered there last night for the dedication of Bob’s bench, the finishing touch to the project.

I related to Bob because he was a fellow aviator, a career flight engineer and navigator with Trans World Airlines, flying Lockheed Constellations back in the heyday of piston-engined airliners. I was happy to see that part of Bob’s life memorialized on the bench with the little biplane, just like the one that sits atop the mailbox in front of his house, currently occupied by Bob’s daughter, her husband, and Bob’s dog Rex, who also attended the dedication (that’s Bob’s house behind the pocket park in the second photo).

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Our own dogs accompanied us to the ceremony last night. Maxie remembers Rex from the old days when Bob would walk him up and down our street, but Mister B was meeting him for the first time. I’m proud to say Mister B was calm and collected throughout the ceremony, and afterwards he and Rex took turns commissioning the rock to the left of Bob’s bench. Bob would have liked that.

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