My phone rang at 8:06 a.m., the caller ID announcing my friend, Allan.
“Dennis,” he said, “Who is your friend in Redding? Bob?”
“Bob Watson,” I said.
“Right,” he said. “I’m afraid I’ve got bad news.”
Allan read a short article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat describing a horrific scene in which Bob and his wife, Candace, were attacked in their Redding home by Candace’s thirty-year old nephew. Candace was found stabbed to death in the garage. Bob sustained numerous stab wounds and “clings to life,” the account reported.
When I finished the phone call with Allan, my thoughts turned to what I could do. There was no one I could call. Even if I were in Redding, I could do nothing. I googled “redding california newspapers” finding The Redding Record Searchlight and a detailed account of the incident.
My cousin, Regina, lives in Redding. I could call her, I thought. She knows a lot of people there. Maybe she could find out what’s going on or put me in touch with someone who knows.
My phone rang again at 8:36 a.m. “Who’s your friend in Redding,” Regina asked.
“Bob Watson,” I said.
“I was afraid of that,” said Regina. “When I saw the news, I hoped it wouldn’t be your friend; but, in my gut, I knew it was. I’m so sorry.”
“Thanks, Honey,” I said. “It’s sweet of you to call. There’s nothing I can do because I don’t know how to contact any of Bob’s family or friends.”
“I’ll call the hospital,” she said. “I’m sure they won’t tell me anything because I’m not family. But, it’s worth the try.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” I said.
“I could go to the hospital,” she said, “to see if I can find family and ask if someone would call you.”
“Thanks, Honey,” I said, “But that’s not necessary. The family is going to be stressed enough.”
An errand took me away from home and occupied my thoughts for an hour or more.
Returning home, I thought to check Bob’s Facebook page to see if I could find one of his sons, his brother, or any family member who might give me an update.
To my surprise and relief, Dawn, Candace’s daughter, posted an update as a comment on Bob’s last FB wall post:
Sat am update: Bob is tough. He woke up a couple times last night and did what they asked of him. Great sign. His organs are weak and need healing strength. His heart was empty yesterday and he stayed with us anyways before they could give him more blood. A testament to his strength and will to live! And all the loving prayers of course. Thank you all!!! 😉 I will continue with updates on Facebook. I thanked Dawn for the update, wrote a post to Bob, and posted the Searchlight story on my FB page. I sent a personal message to Dawn to say I am available to spend time with Bob and that she should not hesitate to tell me how and when I can help.
The number of FB posts expressing concern, support, love, prayers, and good thoughts from friends, neighbors, colleagues, and former students pay tribute to the loving and compassionate people Candace and Bob are.
Bob and I have known each other since we were in the sixth grade. Friends for over fifty years, we were delighted to connect about three years ago on FaceBook and to be able to share our common history and memories of growing up, families, and mutual friends. We’ve recently talked about our 50th high school reunion in August that we planned to attend.
Latest update from Dawn:
Sat nite update: Bob is a survivor. He’s doing his job. Hospital is trying to keep it quiet. There’s been too many phone calls for them. I will keep posting here. Stay positive everyone! Big Love!