Ranger Bob


      Portraits of Bob Kull – AKA Ranger Bob from  Girl Scout Camp Merrie-woode. 

    These  drawings and the one etching (just above) were made in preparation for a Ranger bob memorial six-pack at Bell’s Brewery to honor Bob’s many contributions to the Brewery and because he was a great guy and we want to remember him this way.  The drawings have  yet to make it to that exalted status of a mug on a bottle,  but I still harbor hopes...some day... perhaps... to honor Bob’s memory... 


Bob died a gruesome death.  Late in the evening, after an off-season poker game, he went into the shop to make a few cuts, when a poorly secured radial arm saw  blade came careening out of its housing and ripped him open stem to stern.  They sewed him up  as best they could and kept him alive for several weeks.  Suppurating openings draining from inside him slowly became hosts to strange fungal infections and that is what eventually took over his body and did him in.  Friends eventually noticed the mysteriously missing saw blade stuck in the ceiling.   It had come out and spun its way up his body with enough momentum to fly another sixteen feet up and become firmly embedded way far above his head among the rafters.

      Bob was a worthy man who cast a broad net. He enjoyed a diverse and loyal following of friends and acquaintances whose concatenations and ramifications continue to surprise me.   I’d go fishing with him in the off season at Camp Merrie Woode.   My father hunted rabbits with him.  Many a girl scout from times past will remember Ranger Bob and his tank of a black lab keeping camp Merrie Woode up and running.  Nobody but nobody drove faster than five miles an hour inside the front gate and of course the dog’s  sheer bulk and big teeth alongside Bob’s uncompromising size, strength and attitude about safety were absolute brick walls between the girls and anything else out there in the world. 



For the brewery, Bob was a calm and consistently kind voice of reason at shareholder meetings which were generally love-fests, proclaiming the wondrous successes of the brewery from one good year to the next,  but which were occasionally confrontational and acrimonious.  Bob was  a meditative, deliberative fellow in the bowels of the operation with a hammer and a spanner –  also a spiritual guide –  a bit of  the Basho Zen monk  about him with an irreverent sensualist’s humor leavening his practical side –  but ultimately an incurable hippie romantic with mildly redneck  penchants for pick-up trucks, knives, poker games and guns.  


Bob was the first investor in the brewery (other than Larry Bell, his-self ) and was often to be seen back in the shop - on his back, taking motor oil dribblings in the face as he resuscitated the used and abused equipment which the brewery could afford in its early days. He was a preternaturally talented fixer-upper guy who could touch most anything and make it run – good skills for a camp ranger.   In his off days he kept stuff running which should long ago have been in the clutches of the scrap metal recyclers.  

Bob also loved his mushrooms and so we have here a nod to that predilection, which I shared with him.  Instead of his beloved morels, though,  I chose to portray him with a more obscure mushroom, more like the sorts of fungi to which my father and I would occasionally try to introduce him - with varying degrees of  success.  In this case it’s the ‘Old Man of the Woods’ - a fairly common species of late summer Boletus of no particular merit, beyond being abundant and passably edible fare in a mix with other fungi.  I find them   visually appealing and for these depictions of Bob, an appropriate metaphor, aptly named.

Ranger Bob - etching impressions for 150.00