I know a hero when I see one. Bob Cousy is one.
The basketball Hall of Famer’s wife of 63 years, Missie, declined into dementia a dozen years ago. Alone, by choice, he cared for her, taking hours to move her from bed to dining room table, reading the paper to her, keeping her mobile and alive.
For someone who knows little of basketball but watched Bill Bradley practice alone before his Princeton team began working out, Cousy’s care for his wife seems like an extension of the discipline – ‘the plan’ as Cousy puts it – most great players develop to keep them in the games they love.
It seems just what this ‘lion in winter’ would do, a man whose life on and off the court fit the title of John McPhee’s classic book on Bill Bradley, A Sense of Where You Are (1965).
For facts here not otherwise linked, I relied on Dianne Williamson’s column, ‘Of Years of Love, and A Long Goodbye’ in the Sept. 29 Worcester Telegram & Gazette. It is a story of quiet devotion, then heroism, far from the parqueted floor of the Boston Garden. Hers is a column well worth reading. And, the accompanying photograph by Telegram staff photographer Paul Kapteyn is exceptional.
H/T: The Boston Globe which reprinted Williamson’s column (‘A long, loving goodbye for wife of Celtics’ legend’, Oct. 4, 2013, p. B14). Normally, The Globe annoys me when it publishes other services’ obituaries of local figures. Here, the editors made the right call.