Bobby Taylor is a man I met while I was living in Florida. He worked at one of the restaurants for Jan’s Place. I had left the company and came back to work there a little less than a year later. I didn’t want to work at that particular location, but if I wanted to work for them, I did. So I started working one day a week there and I ended up managing it full time. It was one of, if not, the best restaurant jobs I had. I think in large part to Bobby. I liked everyone I worked with, waitstaff and the other cooks and the dishwashers too, all of them. But Bobby and I worked a lot together. Bob and Jan, who owned the place would come and work with us from time to time. More often it would be Jan. Those were some of the best times in my cooking career.
Bobby was about 25 years older than me. We got along famously. He was the guy that would do anything you asked him to without complaining. Don’t get me wrong, we had a couple of blowouts (literally, I think it might have been 2 in the almost 3 years we worked together) When everything cooled down and apologies were said, he said “That’s what happens sometimes you love somebody” Everyday, after work – we closed at 3:00pm – he would go down to get his “prescription” which was either a 6 pack and once in a while a pint of vodka. We took turns buying and would share with everyone, that is, who was old enough, while we cleaned up the place and I was doing paperwork. He was also the kind of man that when he asked for a favor, it was just too damn hard to say no.
Long after I left Florida, I talked to him a few times. Bob and Jan kept him on for a long time. He was one of the guys they would never fire or get rid of. He had a special place in their hearts, as well as mine. Over the years I would pass by Taylor River in NH and even now, I pass by Taylor St here in Savannah, and I think of good ol’ Bobby Taylor. He told me he was a pitcher for the AAA Pittsburgh Pirates back in 60s. I asked him what happened to that and he told me he threw out his shoulder. Which still bothered him 30 years later.
I was in Florida in November, more specifically, Jensen Beach. I was there for 3 days and I didn’t get to see him. I really wish I made more of an effort for that. There were a few people I wanted to see but I wasn’t able. I am very sorry I didn’t get to see Bobby in November. I just received a call a little while ago, from Jan, that my friend Bobby Taylor died tonight. A screwdriver in his honor, tomorrow! Bless you Bobby