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    Warning Will Robinson!

    Feel free to post comments, rants, or even personal attacks. It simply shows your wish for taunting if you do the latter.

    You can say anything you want here. But if you get stupid I reserve the right to point it out, call you lots of inventive names and laugh like hell.

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    ...has inspired me to post a long overdue tribute to a great man that I was lucky enough to call friend. I met Bill when I was 12 years old at Del Mar racetrack. It was the summer of '81 and he was a "pony boy". Those are the guys on horses that lead the runners to the post in the afternoons. I was a royal pain in the ass to the pony people that summer. A nosy kid with a million questions and a smart assed attitude, and even though they picked on me they also admired my pluck and I still call several of them friend.

    Bill was a Viet Nam vet, and a highly decorated one at that. He was also one of the best horsemen I have ever known, and was fond of saying "If it has hair I can ride it, just as long as it's a horse or a woman."

    Bill passed away towards the end of '03, of a massive heart attack in his sleep. When our friend Les found him that morning he had to take Bills dog Bandit away so the paramedics could pronounce him. Bandit wasn't letting those guys in at all.

    I admire loyalty like that, and so did Bill. That may be one of the reasons we stayed friends from the day I met him until the day he died. Bill was outspoken in our little world of the "backside" of the racetrack. He despised the illegals that flooded the horse racing world and let them knwo it every chance he could.

    He especially hated the guatamalens. They had a habit of throwing used toilet paper on the floor, due to the fact that where they came from the sewer system couldn't handle the paper, so their habit was to toss it down.

    When Bill passed I was asked to do the eulogy. I had hired a piper and the cemetary had an Honor Guard present.
    I wrote a eulogy, planning to read it at the funeral. I didn't. I couldn't. Only my trusty flask gave me the composure to say a few words and ask his other friends to step up and relate stories of Bill. We laughed alot that day. Bill would have liked that.

    Here is what I didn't read that day:

    He called me Wart. From about the very first time I met him, he called me Wart. Not in a mean way, but because that is what Merlin called young Arthur while Arthur was under the old mages' tutelage. I have always considered it a compliment. That he should see in me a great potential like that astounded me, and made us friends.

    There is no possible way to compress 22 years of friendship into words. It simply cannot be done when you have a friend like him. And as I stand here, squinting through the tears, I smile at the antics we pulled. At the jokes, the mornings having coffee, the late afternoon barbeques at Del Mar, at the way he could tell someone in spanish about their mother and the goat.

    He is a hero of this country, who suffered from his service, having recurring flashbacks throughout the rest of his life after he was in the Army...he loved his horses, his dogs, his fishing, and truly cherished those few lucky people he called friend.

    He was a cowboy to the bone and a Patriot through and through. He won numerous medals in service to this country. While leading a seek and destroy mission in mid 1966, he and his men came under fire as soon as they hit the LZ, with his men badly outnumbered, he crawled through heavy enemy fire, and while hunkered down just 10 meters from the enemy, he directed fire and then called in a mortar attack on his own position. He was wounded, as were two of his men, but they survived, and he was awarded The Bronze Star, received for heroism in combat...he also earned The Silver Star, and flew on 25 missions, in a 28 hour span, through enemy airspace, manning a gun on a helicopter to earn The Air Medal.

    Two Army Commendation Medals were awarded him for his exemplary example to his comrades in arms, to quote one of his citations, "he has consistently returned outstanding results above and beyond the call of duty.", and was three times awarded the Purple Heart, for wounds received in battle with a hostile force.

    If he had lived in another time, he would have been the same. He had an honesty about him that most people don't feel comfortable with anymore.

    In the middle ages, he would have been a knight. Had he lived in the 1800's, certainly he would have rode the west, camping out 'neath the stars and still being his own man. He never twirled a rope, but still he was a life on his terms, speaking the truth, no matter the consequences....he kept his own counsel and was slow to call someone his friend...if he did though, he always was there for you....few knew his given name......fewer still would call him by it.....and even fewer could get away with it...I was one of those few that could....and I will forever miss my Friend Willis Webster Grube, better known to those that love him and those that he loved, as Bill.

    Bill was cremated, as per his wishes. Our friend Cindy was handling most of the details and was told that she could get the same kind of vase that they used as an urn at a store cheaper than at the funeral home.

    She bought this elaborately painted chinese style vase that was the only thing she found that would be close to an urn, but we both agreed that Bill would have hated it. On a whim we grabbed a cookie jar on the way to the funeral. It was a cookie jar that Bill was always trying to make off with because he loved it. It was a horse, in a sitting position, staring mournfully at the ground. For some reason Bill rellay loved that cookie jar.

    At the cemetary, when they were transferring Bills reamins into the urn cindy had bought it occured to the workers that the urn wouldn't fit in the small crypt that was earmarked for his remains. Luckily, as I have said, we brought that cookie jar.

    Bill rests today in Riverside Ca., in that small cubby in the wall at the Veterans cemetary, in his favorite cookie jar that is, most fittingly, a very sad looking horse.
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