Pausing for Bob

How sad it is to lose Bob De Luca, and how fortunate I was to have known him, to have sat at his table, to have danced with him — both the morris in the streets, and the tango at Twelfth Night! — and to simply have been astounded to be in the presence of such a wonderful, talented, and big hearted person.

Yesterday at 10 am a crowd of people gathered in Ithaca to say a final farewell to Bob. They included family, work colleagues, and friends including musicians (the Burns Sisters sang), theater people, and morris dancers.

Of the latter there were twenty or thirty in kit, members of teams from Binghamton, Toronto, New York, and Boston. I know at least three men wore morris kit for the first time in years. We led the way to the burial site with the Winster Processional, and six Binghamton men danced Bampton “Highland Mary” to conclude.

This was remarkable enough, but according to email reports:

  • A dancer in Philadelphia, at the time of Bob’s funeral, went outside to light a candle, sing a hymn, and play “Jockey to the Fair” Ducklington.
  • A dancer in Los Angeles at the same time was in the park near his house playing the Bampton jigs which Bob and he danced frequently.
  • Another dancer in California planned to be at nearby cliffs, gazing across the Pacific, wearing a black beret and two separate colors of socks, with broom in hand and some garlic cloves to munch on.
  • Another was in Kendrick Park in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts at 10 am playing Bampton jigs on the fiddle.
  • Another, in Highland Park, New Jersey, went outside at 10 with his pennywhistle and played the Fool’s Jig in honor of Bob.
  • A dancer in New York played the tunes on the piano.
  • One in Seattle told of waking at 7 am PST and picturing himself being in the line of morris dancers in Ithaca.
  • Another dancer, away from home on travels, danced the “Fool’s Jig” in front of a fifth century church carved out of a rock in a beautiful little valley in central Turkey.
  • Yet another looked out over the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and played morris tunes.
  • A dancer in Chicago played morris tunes on the piano for his mother in a nursing home.
  • Another in Wellesley, Massachusetts stood outside in the fog by a lake and composed a poem.
  • Another in Queens, New York walked among trees humming the Winster Processional.
  • A dancer in Rhode Island sat on the rocks pondering the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Another dancer in New York danced “Princess Royal” Sherborne at 10 am in a small park.
  • A dancer in Amherst, Massachusetts danced a Bampton jig.

These were just the ones I’d heard about as of this morning. I know there were others, literally around the world, who did something similar, pausing to remember our remarkable friend, Bob De Luca.

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