Sunday, July 10, 2022

Robert Francis Doyle

The full on map of Ireland, Robert Francis Doyle, age 75

I’ve pursued the short but sweet storytelling series called Encounters of the First Kind with less than diligence. In fact, I haven’t published an account of one of those chance meetings in three months at least. That time it was about Gilbert Vigil who gave me chapter and verse about his Viet Nam draft avoidance and resulting prison term. Then there was his Jehovah’s Witness faith, He didn’t proselytize exactly but left the door open for my future conversation to the religion he called “very strict.” In fifteen minutes, I learned the essentials of Gilbert’s life.

Robert Francis Doyle gave me less to work with and I’m left to deduce his life’s arc. He was wearing a full Campagnolo bike kit from thirty years ago. His 1993 Bianchi bike lay at his side, it was the color that Bianchi invented. Celeste, a subdued green. The same as the one my son bought when he was in high school in the 80’s.

Robert’s Massachusetts origin was evident in his first few words. I recognized the lilting Bay State cadence and missing R's instantly. I asked where were you raised? He told me Maynard, a rough and tumble Milltown further out Route 117 from our home of 23 years, Lincoln. Maynard was part of my bike route in the competitive triathlon days of the mid-80s.

Bob allowed that Maynard was a blue-collar burg where too many of his friends didn’t see 60. He implied that demon drink played a role in in his scrappy saga, too. He allowed that he was saved by The Program.

I learned the Bob had lived in Manhattan Beach in the early 70’s. I lived in Manhattan Beach in 1961 I could recall the many watering holes that I closed too many nights. I recalled Cisco’s and Pancho’s; a music club where Kenny Rogers and his group the First Edition held forth. Wiki says that was 1967 but I’m sticking with 1961. It makes a better story. There was a piano bar a couple of doors away from the apartment I shared with an ex-Chicago cop, so he said, and a blazingly gay Latino linguist. Names? I haven’t a clue. Around the corner on Rosecrans was the divey Hard Cover where the entertainment was feeding goldfish to the resident piranha Sick em.

Fittingly the entrance to our two-floor abode lined up perfectly with the door to the bar across the street.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

As with most of your sagas in your "Encounters of the First Kind" series, I am left thirsting for more and can only assume those will be coming eventually, Esteban! I can hear Robert Francis' accented speech and think of Fred trying to understand air traffic controllers in Boston. The missing "r" got many a pilot confused, to say the least. Mr. Doyle's face is definitely part of the map of Ireland. Thanks, Steve. May your series continue as part of your blog!