Friday, February 18, 2011


A TRIBAL TRIBUTE TO PETE BONINE. 150 members of our tribe are gathered at Quartzsite, Az for the Annual RV show and flea market.
We use the occasion to celebrate a much loved member who's been struck with Lou Gerig's disease and must hang up his keys. Those who feel especially close to him and appreciate the contribution he's made to their lives-- gather to tell him so. Vicki Bonar and Joey Shelton arrange to have him brought up from Yuma. I've been asked to lead the event.
We begin by presenting him with a box full of cards on which we have written personal messages of thanks and recollection. In the coming weeks he will surely enjoy reading them.
Then one by one people stand to reminisce events with Pete---many tell how he came to their aid---fixed their fridge or water pump or hot water heater or install solar panels. Or they talk about shared adventures down the Colorado River---an event he organized more than once. He hosted our fabulous annual Dance Rally once. He helped Brad build a whole camper.
He still has his wits about him and seems to relish being with his friends---some have been travel buddies almost 20 years. And of course I wrote a poem for the occasion---a poem that invites audience participation.
When I point to Pete--the group says "Pete Bonine."
Here's the Poem:

We've all done deeds for others' needs.
We've all helped cook and clean.
But it's doubtful if any has helped as many
as mister Pete Bonine

Who is the champ of hose and clamp?
Who is the best ever seen
at helping to mend a brake or rear end
could it be Pete Bonine?

And who gets the calls when the temperature falls
'bout troubles with our machine?
Who can fix heaters and read tricky meters?
Was it our Pete Bonine?

He has traveled and played, wandered and strayed;
camped in meadows so green;
shared our fun for a decade and one;
I speak of Pete Bonine

We've seen him whirl ladies from forties to eighties;
bask in our fireside scene;
show movies this big on the side of his rig;
Yes, it was Pete Bonine

Who viewed the whales? Who hiked the trails
with Hippies in Eugene?
Who Kayaked down the rivers brown?
Yes! It was Pete Bonine!

We friends by the dozens; closer than cousins
gather in this Quartzsite scene
to say we're proud and shout out loud:
At a signal, we all rose to say WE LOVE YOU PETE BONINE-----and broke into prolonged, thunderous applause. Can you see the joy on his face? Afterwards, he whispered his response to me and I shared it with the group: I love you too he said---and I enjoyed every minute with all of you---I'm thankful to God for the ability to fix things---it was my pleasure to be helpful.
Special memory pictures were presented and special lady friends gathered around for photographs.
He bid us farewell with the courage of a hero.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: "all you ever wanted to do was contribute"(Erhard) And here is living proof. My tribe---the WINs---loved, enjoyed and appreciated this man and we all relished the opportunity to tell him so--face to face. Shouldn't we do more celebration services than memorial services?


Anonymous said...

I've gone around with you a few times Randy, but you do have your moments. Well done, sir.

Tesaje said...

What a lovely tribute. Well done.

john patrick said...

Thanks, Randy. You did something great for the rest of us.

Am wondering... how does one join the tribe.

heyduke50 said...

nicely done and I am sure cherished by him...

Andy said...

I love you, Randy.

matt said...

good job, randy, nice poem

Randy said...

Thanks all for your kind words. I think it was Dylan Thomas who said: "I not only want to be loved--I want to be told that I am loved---the realm of silence is vast enough beyond the grave." And I love you too Andy---My readers might like to know that you are among my longest friendships--that we started a commune together long years ago in New Orleans and generated a great innovative community--on Marengo st. Sometime I must tell the world of our social inventions.
To John Patrick--The tribe is called Wandering Individuals Network and for details on how to join----

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute.

Wil said...

I am in complete agreement with your sentiments. Leave the intonations over this husk of a body to the shamans and priests -- remember me in person while I can still appreciate it.

I enjoyed your doggeral - it is a gift. From whom, I haven't a clue. Mayhaps they should be shot. Or perhaps you should. It is the only fitting end for horse thieves, scoundrels and poetry-spouting philosophers...

May you always be two steps ahead of angry fathers and sheriffs. Safe travels...