Norwegian Farmer’s Son…June 2nd


#990 Vern Bufkin and father.
“PUD” Bufkin is on the right in this photo with his father.

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”.

IP job7
“Pud” was but one of a number of great janitors that cleaned our school there in Kiester, Minnesota.

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.


Janitor cleaning the classroom illustration
“Pud” was our pal.

“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.

#209=Elliott singin' outside with kids; Spring 1983
Elliott as a janitor later in life at Glenwood Heights Elementary School.

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.

NFS 6.2b
“Pud” is gone now, but Elliott will forever remember his kind ways 😉


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