Dale (Goofy) Robinson died on March 21 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Goofy was Dale’s favorite Disney character and also his C.B. handle. In 1981 we teamed as occasional partners, at which time he bestowed upon me the handle of Wildflower.
A lot of folks lose sleep the first few weeks of scallop season due to leg cramps — getting their sea legs again. My problem was rib cramps from the hysterical laughter of Goofy’s banter. Not only did we work the ponds but the woods as well. We did not flatten the woods — we created them. Goofy helped me turn a pitch pine into a giant bonsai and a maple into the largest topiary on earth.
The younger set was amused and fascinated by his tales; the older folks were amazed at his great physical strength and gentle nature. And he was an inspiration to many as he received his GED at the age of 59. Carpentering with Goofy was utter disbelief. On job sites you will see pieces of lumber where the carpenters have stopped to figure measurements. Goofy could do the same in his head in a matter of seconds.
I once asked him if he used the decimel system. He said he didn’t know, he just did it. No task was too small for this great, happy fellow. A bittersweet time in his life was when folks would see one lane of the road blocked by one huge, slow-moving black garbage bag. That was Goofy on his moped heading for a redemption center; you see, the $300 a month he received from Social Security was not enough to support him and his beloved dogs, so he would spend the wee hours of the morning dumpster-diving for bottles and cans.
During our shucking and woodland breaks we would shoot the bull, read poetry or sing old songs while Goofy played the guitar. Goofy dealt with his impending demise with his usual placid wisdom. He wrote this shortly before he died:
When the sun sets in the twilight sky
twinkling stars there soon will be
and when I get up and go home,
at peace I sure will be.
When a person is terminally ill it gives time for reflections of all seasons. I wrote and read the following to Goofy before he died. He liked it.
Come Walk With Us
The woods are now empty.
Walking this old dirt lane
he no longer hears his pals calling out
“Where ya going?
“Where’ve ya been?”
No longer are they here
in this time and space
They’re as the summer leaves,
all gone on this warm winter night.
Even the moon dashes and hides
between fleeting clouds
It, too, is alone.
There’s only him in this wild lonely wood —
But he can hear them.
He hears them as the southeast winds wail
through naked branches.
He can hear them.
No rustling of leaves below
on this moon-dappled night.
Only the whispering of lost souls
“Where ya going?
Where’ve ya been?
walk with us again.”
And so he did.