Remembering John, Tommy and Sam

Published 3:28 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

John Kuekes (KEE-kus) was our publicity person for three years when I was president of the Polk County Historical Association around the turn of the century.&bsp; Moving on was his idea, not ours. John was a poster boy for Second Wind, serving many local organizations with distinction.

I enjoyed all the time I got to spend with John. He was always ready with an article, ad or photo to promote our PCHA mission. We did several Scenic Tours of Polk County as fund raisers on my watch, and John rode with me on planning runs to make photos. He had a keen eye for photo ops, and was continually stopping me for them.

About two dozen cows were gathered outside a big barn, feeding from a large trough. As John alighted from the car and headed toward them with camera raised, the boss cow looked briefly at John and promptly led that whole herd away toward the large pasture.&bsp; John did not consider all those cow rear ends to be much of a photo, so we continued our journey.

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When we came to a large tree by a creek in a meadow with several cows enjoying its shade, John stopped again. This time the cows stayed put and John got his pictures. Later he said that the tree and meadow were so large that the cows were hardly noticeable, so I told him Id try my best to find him some bigger cows.

One of Johns great friends was the late Tommy Thorne-Thomsen. Tommy was a quiet little man in my limited experience with him, but I admired his brass Christmas ornaments that he voluntarily designed and made for so many years. Tommy also designed, printed and framed the Second Wind Certificates that so may of us have on our walls. And yes, he made the dies to emboss the gold seal on those certificates.

The last time I saw Tommy we were enjoying big desserts at the Tryon Presbyterian Church. As with so many others, I have wished that I had made more opportunities to spend time with him. I would have loved to see him make the dies and shear out those brass ornaments. But people like Tommy are quite busy living their own lives and doing the things they do, so we just greet them warmly and exchange pleasantries when our activities bring us together.

Another man of vision and good humor that I always enjoyed meeting was the late Sam White. After greeting me warmly at Rotary (I was their speaker that day), he suggested that we get together for a chat. I could not imagine why Sam would want to do that, but we sat in my car for more than an hour while Sam outlined his vision for Our Area. I should say visions plural, because he had many ideas for the betterment of our communities. Everything he expressed was in loving terms, for he seemed to value all life and our little planet we presently call home. He spoke quietly and in positive terms. There was little sand left in the top of the hourglass of Sams lifetime, but his cup of the elixir of life surely runneth over. It was indeed good to be in his company, if only for a little while.

That goes not only for these three good men and true, but for so many others whose lives have made a difference for all of us. Let us cherish their time with us, and remember them well when they go to rest from their journey.