November 1, 1937 - Febraury 12, 2008.
By Charles Vasquez
Bob Garcia was someone we cared about and loved. Bob was not only a close friend, he was someone you could count on, someone you could trust and talk with.
Let me tell you a little about Bobby. Did you know that his favorite colors are green, brown and maroon and he enjoyed his collection of frogs? That he could not tell or even remember a joke. That he loved to argue with people just for the fun of it? Did you know his nick name was Frog and that he was vice-President of Los Santos.
Watching this past Super Bowl game at the Elbow Rest (Bob was the long time owner of this National City bar) means a lot to me and I hope it will be a memory all us will never forget. It was a time when God truly gave us a chance to be with Bobby, to show him how much we cared and loved him. It was also a chance to say thanks and to tell him how much we appreciated him.
I know we all had a special moment with Bobby that Super Bowl day. For me, I will cherish the kind words he said to me while we sat at the bar. He said, Charlie, thank you for being my friend. Everyone was hugging and thanking Bobby, it was loud and the whole place was full of joyfulness and at one point I leaned forward and told him, No Bobby, It’s me who should thank you for being my friend and with that, we gave each other a good hug, not knowing it would be my last hug to give him.
At the end of the Super Bowl party and when everything was over, Virgie took Bobby home. During the ride home, Bobby told Virgie that the speech her daughter Rachael gave and the kind words she spoke on our behalf touched him deeply and the words couldn’t have been any better. At that point, Bobby became a little emotional and I am sure that God had a lot to do with that special day.
Bobby and the Elbow Rest go hand in hand. Bobby gave all of us a place to gather and share the good times, to be able to watch our favorite sport and to enjoy our friendship. Yes, the Elbow Rest was a special place. Bobby allowed us to do many things at the bar like using the walk-in to keep the food for the parties or store large packages of meat bought from Bobby D or buying us kegs of beer until the weekend and borrowing tables and chairs for our personal parties at home, and how can you forget playing pinnacle with Bobby at that special table.
At times, Bobby became a family counselor, listening genuinely to us as we poured our hearts out to him about our own problems. And like a father listening to his child, Bobby would look at you with that stern face of his and tell you his opinion and in the end, he was always right. And just like his politics, Bobby would have a strong opinion on any local or world issues and take the opposite position just to have an argument with you. . I also enjoyed going to the Elbow and telling Bobby what case I was investigating and he would get all riled up, telling me the client was guilty. But mostly, I enjoyed telling him jokes, because Bobby was terrible in remembering or even telling jokes.
For 33 years, Bobby employed more than a dozen people who became part of his life such as Virgie, Louie, John Red, Barbara, Carmen, Dolly, Sylvia, Juanita, Dolores, Art Manjares, Phil Alcala, and who can forget Black Jessie Martinez.
We also shared our family, our children and friends with him. Bobby loved my two daughters and was kind to them. Whenever I brought them to the Elbow Rest, he would give them chips and a soft drink. He allowed them to sell raffle tickets and school items to raise funds. He also did this with some of your children and in fact he saw some of these same children grow up and now they are part of the Elbow history.
The Elbow Rest served for many events such as birthdays, family parties, golf tournaments, and bus tours to Baja, gathering for Charger and Padre Games, Casino trips and political fundraisers. Who can forget the Sunday Menudo or Pozole or the potluck dishes prepared by many of his friends and co-workers?
It also was a place to announce engagements, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings and funerals. It was a place to come after any occasion, especially after funerals.
As I said before, God gave us the chance to be with Bobby on Super Bowl Sunday. But god had a plan in place and was calling Bobby home. Last Monday, Virgie called and told us that Bobby had suffered a heart attack and was at the hospital. We all gathered and waited for sometime until the doctor told us that Bobby was stabilized. We all felt relieved and went home hoping that Bobbys condition would improve in the next two days. And like before when bobby was at the hospital, we prayed that he would come home.
But, on the following day, God was calling him home. They told us that Bobby had a few hours to live. For those of us who were fortunate to be with Bobby at the hospital in his final hours, we experienced something glorious. The Catholic priest asked us to join him in the anointment of Bobbys body and soul. Each of us took the anointment oil from the small bottle and with our finger, we anointed Bobby and together we said, May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” (James 4:13) We then stood together holding hands and prayed for Bobby and said our good byes.
Bobby, we will miss seeing you at the Elbow in the morning reading the newspaper and drinking your coffee. We will miss coming in and yelling GARCIA, or watching you ring the bell for someone who bought rounds for everyone and then teasing you when we asked you to buy rounds and of course playing card games at that special table.
Thanks for being my Friend
Bob Garcia was born in San Diego, Califonria and raised in National City (OTNC). Fuenral Services were held at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Chula Vsita. He was laid to rest at Our Lady of Guadalupe, Greenwood Memorial Park..