Thursday mornings with Bob Harsha
For the last eight years or so, Bob Harsha and I engaged in a weekly contest.
Bob picked up his paper at the News office every Thursday morning. I would try to spot his little white pickup truck pulling up so I could bolt out the door and provide curbside delivery.
In the beginning, I did this because I saw an older gentleman who I thought might have some trouble getting in and out of his vehicle.
I thought wrong.
In short order, it became apparent that even in his early 90s, Bob Harsha was spry. And sneaky. And a great way to start off the morning.
Nine times out of 10, Bob was the victor in our Thursday morning ritual. There were times I didn’t even make it out of my chair before I saw him flash that smile and say “Ha! Thank you!”
On the rare occasions I did manage to get to his truck door, I was greeted with that same smile, a laugh and, of course, “Thank you very much!”
I’m not ashamed to say that there were mornings that I stood at the front door, paper in hand, ready to launch. It always seemed that on those mornings, he somehow knew to drive a different vehicle and park just outside of my view.
Our Thursday morning ritual did not involve a lot of words. It didn’t need to. Once, a family member had submitted a hunting photo of Bob and some information with which to surprise him. On that morning, I met him at the door of this truck and said, “Hey, you have a surprise here this morning.”
“I do?” he said, looking at a hunting photo of himself.
That was a fun morning.
Just a handful of months ago, Bob buried one of his sons who was lost to cancer. Offering my condolences, the 95-year-old barber simply said “It’s tough. It’s real tough. But it happens.”
And now, it is this community that is learning that living without Bob is tough. A staple of Pike Street for decades, he passed away just a few weeks ago, just short of his 96th birthday.
A hunter, fisherman and golfer into his early 90s, Bob set an incredible example of living life to the fullest. He grew up on a sheep ranch along Countryman Creek as an only child. He served his country in the United States Navy.
He was a character. A man of strong work ethic and a sense of fun. And I will forever be thankful I was given the opportunity to know him.