Charlie Robert: Bear of a man

October 28, 2015


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—  Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

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Same man in both photos, correct?  Just a different event, right?

Wrong.  Although the similarities are striking.

» both are named Charlie
» both are just one hot biscuit away from 330 lbs
» both are about the same age — called “old.”  LOL!
» both are grandfathers
» both were senior Corrections officers, now retired
» both refer to their wives as their “better half” (which, I assure you, is true)
» both are no-nonsense types
» both have a wicked sense of humor (emphasis on “wicked”)
» both are among the finest men you will ever meet on this good earth

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The one on the right is The Honorable Charles Gardner, Justice of the Malone Municipal Court.  The one on the left is Charles Robert (pronounced the French way, “Row-Bear.”  Emphasis on the “Bear.”)

Both are bears of a man, in the best sense of the word “bear.”  (I used to study and write about bears as a scholar.  My wife and I camped in grizzly country in Alaska.  I’m fond of bears and respect them.  I spoke to a grizzly —very courteously — while backpacking in Alaska one spring evening.  Mere yards separated us.  Nina & I were purposely unarmed and carried no pepper-spray.  All we had was “courtesy.”  I explained we were unarmed and asked his permission to be there.  He listened attentively, then vanished like smoke into the wilderness.  Bears don’t walk, they float like vapor.  Except when charging you — and then they’re a freight train.)
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Both Charlies are bears, I swear.  I mean more than “massive.”  Both listen carefully, thoughtfully.  Both are wise.  In Native American teaching, bears are the most spiritually powerful creature of all.  They are the “keepers of the game.”  Meaning, bears are the “animal boss” throughout the wilderness domain.  They patrol it and keep the peace, while protecting other wildlife.  Bears, it is said, know everything that’s going on.

Country singer, Lyle Lovett, understands these awesome creatures.  (Open the video, below, and turn up your speakers.)
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Native Americans say a bear will give itself to you if your family is starving.  Yes, allow itself to be killed — as a gift — because bears care about their human brethren.  (A celebrated Eskimo hunter confirmed this to me.  Yes, he was serious.  The ethnographic literature is full of this assertion.)

Bears have “ears on the tundra,” is how another Eskimo hunter described the human-bear relationship, barely above a whisper.  They listen.  They understand what we’re saying about them and about wildlife in general.

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Native traditionalists never call them “bears.”  They call them Old One.  Dark One.  Grandfather.  Grandmother.  A title of respect and deference.

A title like The Honorable Charles Gardner.  Or, simply, your Honor.  Respect and deference.

Judge Gardner was elected to the bench a year ago.  He has breathed new life into the court.  He and Judge Lamitie, another formidable justice, have transformed the justice court.  Law-breakers, especially chronic scofflaws, are getting a wake-up call when they stand before the bench.

Charlie Robert is running for municipal court, to replace Judge Lamitie.  (I begged Michael not to retire.  He just smiled and said, “It’s time.”)  Charlie wants to join his friend, Judge Gardner, in a two-bear court — and I’m all for it!

Together, the two will be a legend, mark my words.  Malone’s revolving door of crime and criminals will be stopped dead.  Grizzlies don’t abide fools.  They eat ‘em.
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Bears protect the community.  They are the Game Boss.  “This is how society works, young man.  You have broken the ancient and sacred social contract.  In fact, frequently.  With no sign of remorse or ending your destructive behavior.  As of today, your career in crime comes to an end.  I am sentencing you to [fill in the blank.]  You never, ever, want to appear before this court again.”

A community with strong judges is a community with a future.  Charlie R. has been preparing himself for the bench by being Village of Malone Code Officer.  In the code office, you see it all.  You hear it all.  You see how these people live, where they live, and you hear all their bullshit, self-serving, whining, hollow, repetitive and stupendously stupid stories.

It’s time for Charlie to put on the black robe and take up the gavel.
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If any scofflaws are reading this, I warn you.  When the day comes — and it will — when you stand before either The Honorable Judge Robert or The Honorable Judge Gardner, remember to conduct yourself — very courteously.  Judges, like grizzlies, are the keepers of the game.  If you violate the ancient rules of the social contract, be prepared for the “freight train.”
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