Letter: In gratitude to Bob Dennis

I could never be as eloquent as your editorial was regarding Bob Dennis, but would like to add a few memories about how he helped me and my family connect with the wonder that is Rappahannock.

We were introduced to Bob and Barb by his aunt, Hope Dennis Anderson, a neighbor and friend in Reston. Hope’s description of the beautiful Piedmont countryside and her family’s farm drew us out to the area to see for ourselves. Bob in turn introduced us to Bill and Libby Monroe, from whom we purchased our bit of “wild Piedmont” where we hike and fish.

At several points I had reservations but Bob, as only Bob could, enticed and “gently persuaded” us to take a chance. After we bought, he had only to use the soft sell to convince us to put a conservation easement on the land.

A couple of anecdotes may capture his style. When we first looked at the land he told us to walk from the ridge beyond Bill’s upper meadow toward the West where he promised we’d see the Jordan River. Our youngest daughter and I tried but found only a trickle. He insisted we go back again and hike farther. He stood on a ridge top shouting directions until we crossed two more ridges and saw the cliffs overhanging the scenic river — where our grandkids now savor its wildness.

Next, although thoroughly hooked on buying, I had doubts about affording the land given that I still had to save for college for our daughters. He bluntly asked, “How do you know they will want to go to college?!”

Over the last 35 years, we have made many incredible connections with the people and land of Rappahannock. We owe that to Bob and Barb.

George Paine

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