EDITORIAL

Meals on Wheels a pretty good invention, too

Posted 3/22/22

Sometimes when things just don’t to go right, you actually end up with an unexpected dividend. In this case, it was meeting Robert Bedrick who lives with his cat Cooper in Cranston.

I …

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EDITORIAL

Meals on Wheels a pretty good invention, too

Posted

Sometimes when things just don’t to go right, you actually end up with an unexpected dividend. In this case, it was meeting Robert Bedrick who lives with his cat Cooper in Cranston.

I had intended to meet Bob when Senator Jack Reed delivered him a hot Meals on Wheels lunch Friday at noon. The press release spelled out the basics. Bob, like so many others, looks forward to having Meals on Wheels drop off nutritious food five days a week. It’s a good thing too; otherwise Bob would be living on spaghetti, which is the only food he knows how to cook.

Actually, he’s pretty good with the microwave that he calls “the best invention they ever came up with.”

He could be right although up until Friday, I would have picked the cell phone, Siri and the GPS.

I set off on my mission to connect with the folks from Meals on Wheels, Senator Reed and Bob with time to spare. I had a good idea where Bob lived off Reservoir Avenue, so it seemed easy enough until I couldn’t find the cross street I was looking for. I activated my cell phone and asked Siri to find the street. I got the answer “in Cranston.” 

“Well, yeah I know I’m in Cranston,” I was ready to blurt out but thought it best to keep my frustration to myself. I tried again and was informed I was in a car. Now that was a big help. I stopped and tapped the map app. Up popped a map with a flashing red dot indicating my location. That was a start, but not a helpful one. I zoomed in on the nearby streets, however, the sun glare was so bright and the lettering so tiny it was of no use. 

I tried Siri again asking for directions that I hoped would project a map on my dashboard screen with a blue line guiding me to Bob’s house. The screen went dark with the exception of a circulating bubble to let me know Siri was thinking this over. After a minute, Siri left and the radio came back on. By now, I was close to Cranston City Hall where Mayor Ken Hopkins was holding at St. Patrick and St. Joseph’s Day observance. I knew I would find our Cranston Herald Editor Emma Bartlett and she could help me sort out my renegade phone, which by now felt like a hot poker.

She played around with it and suddenly there was the map and the blue line that had evaded me. One problem, it was now 12:20 and I had missed the event. 

But that wouldn’t stop me from finding Bob.

As I suspected, no one appeared to be at the house. I rang the side entrance doorbell. Nothing. I went around to the front.  Nothing. I went back to the first door and heard a voice. “Come in.”

Bob was sitting at the kitchen table. He showed me a chair and I joined him. Cooper looked me over and decided I was okay. He rubbed up against my leg and I stroked him.

“Best pet I’ve ever had,” said Bob, “the only thing he hogs the blanket.”

“So,” I asked, “what did you and the senator talk about?” 

“I was going to ask him about the cost of gas, but it didn’t seem the thing to do.”

Bob has his own point of view on the cost of gas although he no longer drives the red pickup in his driveway. His license has expired. A good friend, Joe, who runs errands for him and picks up groceries uses it occasionally. As for the gas, Bob thinks it wouldn’t be a problem if we pumped more oil in this country.

Bob isn’t bashful when it comes to voicing his opinion and he knows it.

I asked him for his age.

“Eighty-six and I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long because of my mouth,” he replied.

Bob’s wife, Sandra, died in 2017. He has an adopted son, but he doesn’t see much of him. 

Bob’s father, Abraham, owned a company that provided services for the textile business. With textiles moving out of the country, the family bought Krispy Products that manufactures batter mixes. Bob took over the company after his father died in 1975, selling it when he figured it was time for him to retire.

Bob keeps up on events. He reads the Providence Journal and the Boston Globe and started rattling off the names of some of his favorite sports columnists. He’s into March Madness and, from what I gathered, had a few bets on the outcome. Basketball and football were what he and Reed talked about. He was surprised to learn Reed grew up not all that far away off Pontiac Avenue. 

“Any mention of Ukraine?” I asked. Apparently that didn’t come up although Bob said Putin would have backed down if Biden had stood up to him the way Kennedy did to Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis.

Bob takes his own stands, especially when it comes to scammers. He’s wary about telemarketing calls, telling them upfront that he’s not interested nor will he divulge any information. He told of one call where the caller said they had his son and if he wanted to see him to come up with a lot of money. Since the caller didn’t mention his son’s name, he sensed it was a shake down.  He told the caller he had a tracking device on his phone and added for effect, “I’ve got a gun and you’re dead.” The caller slammed down the receiver.

Bob is happy with Meals on Wheels.

“Whatever comes I’ll eat,” he said. His one suggestion – a few more pudding desserts.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t mention Bob’s address. That was his request. 

And judging what I went through to find Bob, Siri is not going to help you find where he lives either.

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