June 2nd…“WHO, IN YOUR CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN, HAD A UNIQUE OR EVEN FUNNY NICKNAME?”
Every town in America, I’m sure, is populated with unique individuals that bring character and ambiance to the everyday life of a community. My childhood hometown of Kiester, Minnesota was no exception. In previous stories, you heard me tell about a person in our town with the nickname of “Lightning”, but today, there’s an individual that I share story about with a smile and children knew him by the nickname of “Pud”.
Born into this world in 1914 as Vern Bufkin, “Pud” and his father, Ed, were quite a team when it came to cleaning our school. I remember “Pud’s” dad as being a very stoic, straight-laced and straight-faced person. Mr. Bufkin Senior, being from the old school type of generation, even wore a bow tie on his fully-buttoned, long sleeved shirt. “Pud”, on the other hand, was pretty laid back in his dress code and his “take it easy” attitude. I can only theorize where “Pud” may have acquired his nickname, that I do not know, but I enjoyed him just the same.
“Pud” was sure a kind soul to me, seeing that in those days, I was little hot-wired tiker a buzzin’ around those echoing halls and stairwells of dear old Kiester Elementary School. I knew I could always approach “Pud” and receive a smile and a gentle greeting.
It’s highly probable that “Pud” may have been a subliminal inspiration for my own many decades as a custodian in the Battle Ground School District and now here in the school systems of Hawaii. Maybe, in the back of my heart, I’ve also wanted to show kindness and a smile to the thousands of children I too have had contact with in my lifetime. Either way, I’m glad that “Pud” was part of the young life of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.