Let’s raise a glass and remember Bobby Greenwood.
By CATHEY HARTMANN SIMS
This Saturday, Oct. 10, would have been Octoberfest held at the Bluff Dale Winery.
The event was cancelled due to the pandemic for the safety of those who would have attended.
Of all the events that have been cancelled this year - from the State Fair of Texas to sporting events to major holiday activities - this one hits home to those of us who have helped with the event since it began 10 years ago.
It was started by beloved Bluff Dale native and friend to all, Bobby Greenwood.
Bob loved the local winery and could be seen going table to table to introduce himself and make sure everyone was having a good time.
After having lived alone for years due to his wife Martrue’s long battle with Alzheimer's, he relished the companionship and fed his gregarious nature with visits to the winery which was near his home.
After getting the go ahead from winery owners, David and Teresa Hayes, the second Saturday in October was selected as the date for an Octoberfest and the organizing began for the first event.
Barbecue was served, music was provided by Double JR Band and a large crowd attended. The event was free and attendees only had to purchase their wine as no other beverages were allowed.
In August, a few close friends who have been recruited to plan the annual event, meet at the winery to sign up for what to bring and to discuss what needs to be done as the date draws near.
Bobby’s daughter, Marcy Derrick, is in charge of details and keeps us on track to see that the Octoberfest will be a success.
In the planning session of August 2011, as planners sat at one of the inside tables due to the August heat, Bobby made a comment that he hoped we would continue the tradition of the Octoberfest even after he was gone.
We all immediately chimed in with outrage that he would even suggest such a possibility, but all agreed that of course we would continue the tradition under any circumstance.
Little did we know that Bobby would not live to see the next event which was only a few short months after we all made that commitment.
A tragic tractor accident took his life and we were now faced with the reality of that pledge we had made.
He was 86 years old.
Marcy knew that he would have wanted us to go ahead so we pulled ourselves up by our boot straps and held the Octoberfest that year with heavy hearts and in spite of the huge loss we all felt.
Since then, our faithful crew has continued the tradition of getting together in August, although by now our list is complete and little if any changes are needed as we all have our usual jobs.
Though there is no charge, some people insist on paying something so Marcy puts out a donation jar for the area food bank or the Bluff Dale VFD.
The list of email reminders has grown over the years and although we never get a good count of attendance, we are sure more than 100 people pack the porches and patios of the scenic little winery.
A note from Marcy earlier this summer announced that after much deliberation, Octoberfest would be cancelled.
All of us who have helped her since the beginning agreed with her decision. Bobby loved people. He was a compassionate and kind person and would never want to put people at risk.
Hopefully, the annual Octoberfest will be back next year and we invite all of you to come help us remember this special man.
Here in his own words is why Bobby started the Octoberfest, and why we want it to continue.
“Promise me that when I’m gone, you’ll keep doing this - not for me but for the rest of you still left behind down there. I want people to continue to gather each year and stop long enough to appreciate the magnificence of the most beautiful month in Texas. To laugh and renew friendship with old friends.To make new friends of kindred spirits. To maybe think about this old man, raise a glass and smile.”