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Bob Avery was many things to many people. I knew him best as a friend, an artist, and a bartender. We spent many late nights after hours in the Sea Gull Cellar Bar philosophizing. Once, accompanied by Julie Calouro, we emptied an entire bottle of Tuaca before stumbling home. Bob liked to make Hot Buttered Rums. He would take a fluted glass, drop in a butter patty (the old-fashioned kind), add a splash of sugar water, a generous shot of rum, pour in piping hot water, stir it around, and top it off with a dash of cloves, nutmeg and a cinnamon stick. I was addicted to these in the same way I was addicted to his smile and his laugh.
Bob had an unquenchable sense of humor. Once I complained that while I admired his art, he always featured tall, slender, beautiful people. He responded by bringing this to me the next day.
Everyone who knew Bob has a Bob Avery story. When the Sea Gull burned to the ground, Bob wrote an article in the Mendocino Beacon. [Art Center Rapport, Bob Avery, Mendocino Beacon, December 17, 1976] I didn’t realize it at the time but Bob knew me better than I knew myself. He was a mentor of sorts. I’m sure many feel that way about him. I’m happy for the time we had together. I’m greedy for more. Sadly, I will have to settle for the memories I have.
Given how he towered above me (no pun intended), I felt awkward at times being “the boss”. He liked to joke about that and even developed a routine when he left work. “Going out boss,” he’d always say as he went through the door with that familiar twinkle in his eye. I can still hear him say it.
Napkin Art by Bob Avery
Napkin art was a way for many local artists to fool around on an afternoon, to have some fun, and to try out some new ideas. Bob was an avid contributor. While I have a large collection of napkin art that I’ve been using on this blog, I’m sure there is a lot more out there. These are the ones I have that are signed by Bob.
So wonderful, David, thank you….
I can remember some of those.
Of course he spent a lot more time there than I did.
Maybe less time but he was on the other side of the bar.
How about ODD BOB!!! Loved it and missed him when he moved.