Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Name on the News may be Someone You Know

Bend's population is tiny compared with that of the old country, SoCal, where Mrs Elliott and I hail from. There's something like 80,000 people in the city here, plus of minus. Compare that with the mass of people in the L.A./San Diego areas and Bend's got something like less than 1% the number of people.

So in Bend, if there's someone mentioned in a news story, there's a far greater chance that it's someone you know than if you lived among then anonymous tens of millions in the old country.

This can be fun: "Oh look, dear, that's so-and-so on TV!"

It can also mean that if something bad happens to someone, that someone may be an acquaintance.

I had an experience with that this weekend.

I was in the south end of Bend on Saturday and got stuck in the traffic jam caused by the road closure on the northbound side of the Parkway. I spent about 20 minutes inching forward until I got to the front of the jam, and took the exit the cops were directing us to. I could not tell what the cause of the closure was, an accident I presumed.

Later that day I heard or read somewhere that there had been an accident involving a car and some cyclists.

On Monday morning, Bob Hunt, my employee, was late getting to work. I was in the driveway when a car pulled up and a woman got out. "Do you live at this address?"

I told her I did and asked her if I could help her.

"Bob Hunt work for you? I'm his ex-wire. He's dead. He was killed Saturday on his bike on the Parkway. He was trying to cross the street and someone hit him."

I'm still trying to deal with the news. The Bulletin and KTVZ covered the story on Saturday. I don't get the paper nor subscribe online, and I don't watch KTVZ's Saturday news or I would have already known. I had to look up the story on KTVZ's website (http://www.ktvz.com/news/25340569/detail.html).

I didn't sleep well last night. I'm still dealing with emotions that have not yet expressed themselves. I have to restructure my business because Bob really knew his stuff, had an impressive skill set, understood the products we work on, and did impeccable work. It took him over two years to reach his level of proficiency. We got along well, he was always pleasant, and professional. I depended on him.

As did his teenage daughter, whom he loved and cared for. She wasn't badly injured in the accident. Physically, that is. Whatever I'm feeling, she has to be feeling 100 times over.

It's one thing to read of the death of an anonymous person among millions: one doesn't really expect that one will know the person, so the stories tend to be arm's-length accounts of suffering. I'm coming to the realization that when one lives in a far smaller community, what happens to the people in the news is far more likely to be interconnected to our own lives.


With Bob gone, I'm probably going to wind down my business, which has been marginally profitable, at best, since the fall of 2008. I have obligations to existing clients I need to fulfil, but once those have been handled, I reckon I'll shutter the operation and go work for Mrs Elliott.

(Note: My original post was full of typos. Not a lot of sleep. I cleaned up the more egregious ones, several probably still remain.)


  1. oh that's just awful, dad. I am so sorry to hear that.

  2. years ago (early 80's) there was a meat cutter at Wagners named Bob Hunt. I'm curious if this is the same man? He had at least one ex-wife that I know of and her name is Tami. Is she the one who contacted you? If so then I'm afraid this was the Bob I'm thinking of. thanks

  3. Anonymous, Bob never mentioned working as a meat cutter, though he never said he wasn't ever one. This Bob Hunt's ex is named Tanya.


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