I learned this week with great sadness that my friend Bob Wham died shortly before the new year. I also feel very blessed to be able to call him a good friend, as I think he was one of the very special people in my life.
I first met Bob when I was newly in the Capitol. An issue arose about which I felt very strongly, and I went to talk with my Senator as an individual, not a lobbyist. There I was, quivering with earnestness, making my passionate pitch. Bob listened very intently, let me finish, and then offered, in the mildest of tones, his reasons for viewing things a little differently. At the end of the conversation, I left knowing I had not convinced him, but that I had had an intelligent conversation, and I had some additional things to think about.
When his wife Dottie was elected to the House I was privileged to work with her on several very meaty issues. Through the years, I felt adopted into the Wham family.
Just before going to graduate school, I took a week long sailing course. When I came back, I stopped in Frisco to check in, and there began another aspect of our friendship. Bob was a sailor. A very very good sailor. He and I sailed the Dillon Reservoir for several years. I bought a share of his boat, and some of my very fondest memories of him were those adventures on a cold mountain reservoir. He wore a misshapen sailors cap, and we took water to drink in an old thermos water jug that had been christened the “WHAM BOMB” as in former years I gather that it had contained liquid refreshment that was, well, not water. We talked of all manner of things during those sails. Family, great stories of early Wham years, current political issues (we still did not agree on some of them), and the wonder that is the mountains of Colorado.
My brother, who is a physics graduate, tells me that scientists have found that the universe is not, in fact a great vacuum. It is filled with energy. However one thinks of the afterlife, calling it heaven or whatever, I am certain that the sweet energy that was Bob Wham has found a very good place to be. The justice of the universe would have it no other way.
On a related note, please do not be afraid to send Peace Corps Volunteers news of home - whether good or bad. It makes us feel more connected to friends, family and community. Those connections are what make this service a privilege, rather than a burden.