The Universe Has Him Now

Bob Epstein October 7, 1951 — October 11, 2011Robert Epstein   October 7, 1951 — October 11, 2011

Temporal life on worlds like ours is uncertain.  Many of us will die too young.  The universe that so generously gives us life, also takes it away in a heartbeat, for reasons beyond our knowing.  As of this writing, I do not know what propelled my friend, Bob Epstein on into the mystery;  just that it was sudden and unexpected, and he was gone six days before I even heard about it.  Nobody knows how long they have here, of course, but it’s a shock when someone leaves suddenly, and you have been out of touch for awhile.  That was the case with Bob; I always just assumed we’d bump into each other here or there.  Not now.

I met Bob out in cyberspace in 1998.  He was making awesome points and derby covers for Harleys, and it is a small world after all; turned out he lived less than fifteen minutes away.  I was pouring money into a needy old ironhead back then, so I hopped on and rode out to his farm shop. As the sporty chugged to a stop, a tired looking old hound gave me a silent once-over before going back to his nap.  A cool old Jag was also napping in the sun and weeds out by the shop, waiting patiently for Bob’s special attention and lots of cash.  I think it’s still there.

His shop was a world-class exemplar of studied chaos. There was all kinds of shit everywhere, but like all right-brainers, there was uncanny method to his madness. He knew where everything was; well, almost everything.  Bob was a gifted sculptor, a guy who could somehow squint through the blue smoke of a cigarette and make an exquisite little detail in wax or clay.

Dark Star Of DavidsonBob was a Mac freak, too; this is his graphic for an early Obama benefit.

He was also a musician, who would find any reason at all to jam with his band, Dark Star Of Davidson.  It’s a clever double entendre.  But after his willingness to help you get your stuff done, it was his enthusiasm that I loved the most;  he so enjoyed what he did;  it was a contagious little chunk of joy that always flowed from his heart to yours.

Steal Your Face Copyright Terry Kruger 2005 “Like I told you, what I said, Steal your face right off your head.”
— The Grateful Dead    From the song, “He’s Gone”

Although he’s gone, Bob had already left a permanent mark on the biker culture when he licensed the Grateful Dead’s “Steal Your Face” logo from the album of the same name, and turned it into a beautiful sculpted derby cover for Harley Davidson motorcycles. If you were lucky enough to find Bob’s perennial booth at the Sturgis, South Dakota Black Hills Rally, or one of the dozens of other venues he used to schlep his wares to, and got your own little Epstein sculpture, you may just want to hold onto it;  it’s a collector’s item now.

Some years ago, late one evening before his birthday, I secretly replaced his old rural mailbox with another one I painted in biker flames. A day or two later he walked out to get the mail and— what the hell??  Sure, he knew I did it, but it did really blow his mind for a few seconds, and he had to wonder how long it might have been there before he noticed it.  It was affectionate retribution for his showing up on my front porch the year before on my birthday, with a hideous green Halloween cake.  He was a merry prankster, and I’m bummed he’s suddenly gone from this life.  But as a Urantian, I take eternal comfort in knowing I’ll see him again in and on the next world, where we’ll have a nice long laugh, drink some tasty foamy beverages, and fondly reminisce about this crazy, too short life on the World of the Cross.

See you on down the road, brother.  Keep the shiny side up.

“And now must all flesh on Urantia take the natural course of life and death . . .  thus becoming subject to the ascension scheme of the local universe wherein mansion world resurrection follows material death.”
The Urantia Papers




Prove you're human: leave a comment.

  1. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for writing the lovely piece about Bob – someone forwarded it to me. I’m sorry I haven’t seen you for a long time, or heard from you since this nightmare began. If you want to get in touch, I’m here.
    And we always have and always will enjoy the mailbox!

    • Hey Jackie, thanks for tracking us down. I didn’t know how to get ahold of you either, but I’ll respond to your email. Hope you’re well, sweetie.

  2. Dreadfully sorry to hear this news, friend.

    I wrote the same themed essay when one of my best friends died from cancer.

    The Dead live.

    In our hearts and minds.


    “She’s Gone!”

    • Hey Suzan, where you been hidin’? (I have noticed your blog titles keep growing!)
      You’re right; your friend, Bob, and everyone we know is going to live in our hearts and minds, and in our finite temporal memories. But you probably know we propound higher universe realities here, based on our personal experience with and understanding of the Urantia Papers. (IMO, it should be required reading for anyone who wants real answers to the questions, Who are we, where are we, and what are we doing here.) What we’re suggesting here is that in the eternal future we will know, and be known— by all those personalities we knew here.
      Consequently, knowing the kind of man Bob was here on Urantia, I have no doubt whatsoever we’ll meet in the “next world.” The world(s) that follow this life (for those who survive it— it is, after all, a choice) introduce us to the eternal realm; the world of spirit. Then will begin our real life, the ascending life; to which the present mortal state is but the vestibule.
      All of us will eventually be “gone,” but we are not necessarily ended.

  3. Thanks, Nonnie. When we’re over the shock, we’ll celebrate him home with apprpropriate joy and celebration. It’s what he’d want.

      • Mmm Wait… You believe in “Hell”? But not “Heaven”?

        Christians pulled Hell out of their backside; has to be one of the most backward pieces of dogma ever concocted by man. And “Heaven”— i.e., the “afterlife,” as it is so poorly understood by almost all evolutionary religions— is almost worthless as a lure for deeper investigation by the skeptical human intellect. But here’s the rub: Human things must be known in order to be loved; but divine things must be loved in order to be known.

        What that means is, there must be an actual hunger for truth, beauty, and goodness in your heart. If you love someone, or have ever loved anybody, then you already have what it takes to survive this life. Count on it. 😉

  4. I am so sad about your dear friend..we lose the best and brightest much too soon. It’s the bitchy ‘get off my lawn’ types, like me, that last for-frriggin-evah!

    I know you take solace in the fact that you will see him again one day. That at least makes me smile and feel better for you Terry.