Damn, damn, damn! One of the nicest, bravest, funniest, most good-hearted men I've ever known died two days ago. Yes, yes, I know...we all have to go sometime and he certainly had more than his share of risk factors. Age (over 70), diabetes (both legs amputated), he smoked (in spite of doctors' dire warnings), and ate anything he danged well pleased. But damn it! He should have lived a lot longer, because he made people feel good. You could never leave Buddy without a smile on your face, because he had a contagious smile of his own and lots of good stories to tell. Adversity paid Buddy many visits, but Buddy never let him stay long. The 14th child of a sharecropper family in Missouri, he was picking cotton by the time he was 5 years old. He dropped out of school early and hit the road, having all kinds of adventures on his way to California, where he developed his "ladies' man" persona, which eventually swept my sister, Julie, into his arms. Six kids, several moves, lots of financial woes, health problems (including the loss of one of his legs) happened, and Julie kicked him out. Five years ago, he went back home to Missouri, where several of his kids and grandkids followed him. I lost track of him and heard very little about how he was doing, except that his other leg was amputated a couple of years ago. Not that a little thing like having no legs kept him down, however! He got around just fine, thank you, with a couple of prosthetics, according to my favorite nephew, who sent me a photo of Bud standing up, with his characteristic big smile.
But now, he and his smile are gone. Damn, damn, damn.