Rest in Peace, Bob


Today was the Requiem Mass for Bob Halvorson, who was a long-time parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood. I wasn’t able to be there since I was traveling at that time but wanted to offer a small story about my tiny, but sweet relationship with Bob.

Bob and I were church acquaintances. We knew almost nothing about each other besides seeing one another on Sundays for Mass. We never had a substantive conversation about our shared faith or even about the quality of the food at coffee hour. What we did have was a shared moment every time we saw each other at church.

Each Sunday we spied one another, Bob and I opened our arms wide and hugged. I’m not sure how or why this started but until he got sick a few months back, it had been going on for years. Perhaps we passed the peace to one another back in the 90s, I can’t remember. Whatever the case, not one Sunday went by that we didn’t have that big hug.

The other part of our ritual had to do with the particular colognes Bob wore on those many Sundays we saw each other. Every time we hugged, I would enjoy yet another rich (and expensive) scent of Bob’s apparently large cologne collection. Each time, I’d say, “Oh, my goodness, I really like this one,” and Bob would nod and then tell me the name of the cologne. I don’t recall the specific names but I do remember that they all came from major designers, such as Armani, Christian Dior, and Ralph Lauren. He also periodically wore Aramis by Estee Lauder.

This sweet (and sweet-smelling) exchange created an unexpected connection between Bob and me. This was our shared moment together and occasionally he would say, “I picked this one, especially for you.” At that point, I’d come close for another sniff. “Ah, yes, I love this one,” I’d say.

Sometimes friendships begin and last for many years based on something tiny. Certainly, Bob’s and mine did.

May light perpetual shine upon you, my friend. You brightened each Sunday that I saw you at St. Thomas the Apostle. May God bless you and keep you safe, now and forever.

Bob Halvorson

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Judy Alter says:

    What a lovely tribute and a nice memory.

    1. Thank you, Judy. I appreciate these unique “little” relationships I have with a handful of people in my life. I’ll miss those hugs and good smells from Bob!

  2. Kelly Wise says:

    Oh, what a sweet story! Those olfactory memories last forever, too, so, my bet is that you will always be reminded of Bob when your nose hairs get tickled by those big designer scents. Funny how folks get to live on, in ways much longer than their actual years. Who could know? And who can refute the power of a good hug?

  3. So true, Kelly. I’ll think of Bob many times over the years when I smell those expensive colognes for men. Thank you for reminding me of that!

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