“I’D RATHER HAVE SOMETHING TO FORGET THAN NOTHING TO REMEMBER.” Joey Feek
I try to think about my subject a while before writing it down because emotion can change perspective even if you do not intend to. And also if I am perturbed it gives me a chance to cool down and have ‘perspective’ as they call it.
Last night I received a call, you know, the one you never want to get. My good friend Elmer ‘Tuffy’ McIntosh left this life and went on to his next adventure. Tuffy had been our neighbor for 32 years and our friend for 42 years. He was a kind and funny guy and he was independent as a hog on ice. That independence he kept right up until the last few weeks even though he had moved into the care home.
Tuffy was one of those characters that someone like Roger Walsh would do a story on for his Postcard’s From Nebraska Show. Only this would be from Garden Plain, Kansas and not Dannebrog, Nebraska. Tuffy got his nickname from old Doc Bierman when he was little when he saw he was so tough he called him Tuffy.
Tuffy was easy to laugh and enjoyed everything from Garden Plain Owls football, to hosting the community picnic for years, fishing, hunting, church, Country and Western music, and life in general.
As a profession he was a machinist and could set up a press to make the clip on your pen to parts for helicopters. He loved his daughter and son and was broken hearted when both died before he did. He delighted in his nephew from Eureka and his nieces who became very special to him. He loved Western Movies and was a member of the Cowboy Storytellers of the Western Plains, of which he would travel to as much as possible until his health started to slow him down.
We teased him about the vultures that used to set on the old silo near his house where he lived for so many years west of Garden Plain. When the buzzards showed up here in the spring it would make for a fun phone call. And when they left in the Fall we would call and tell him it was ‘all clear’.
Tuffy loved to come out and stay with us here on the hill, and was generally here for all the holidays, because he was as close as family. He also had others who called him ‘Uncle Tuffy’. He would drive several of the people in Garden Plain that had no business driving to visit relatives or go to the doctor so he became the driver.
He did have a taste for bologna, hot dogs, and ice cream which drove the doctors crazy. And he DID NOT LIKE CARROTS! So of course what we gave him for Christmas last year was a can of carrots.
I get down when I lose a friend, I have lost so many to cancer, and it happens more often as I get older. You learn to value friends more and more as time goes on. Tuffy, however just aged and passed. I am thankful that it was not a hard suffering passing as many have been. It does not make it hurt any less.
We have been thinking about the big party that he was a big part of for so many years. The last years we moved it over to our picnic area at our old place. But it was always called Tuffy’s Party. As we count the names, so many are now gone.
So here is to you Tuffy. Will see you in a while. Happy Trails!