Adding to the sadness regarding the recent passing of Pat Dow, we lost another friend. Tuesday afternoon, I stopped at JD's for a beer and to contact with friends. Tom McGurk, a very good personal friend was at the bar for his usual two drinks then on home. Tom had a shop and a hideaway where he listened to shortwave from around the world, when he wasn't working on one of his projects. Tom wasn't just a mechanic, he was a tinkerer. He loved figuring out things from scratch, many times coming up with solutions the experts never thought of. He loved horses and his dogs.
I remember last time I took care of his horses while he and Sandy took a short vacation. I saw a track that was about five inches across that I thought might be a stalking cougar. I covered it up with a bucket. When Tom got back, it turned out it was the track of his very large dog. A dog I was happy not to meet when they were gone.
Gone now, while his wife was in Canada with Trailways transporting people from Vancouver to the mountains and the Olympic venues, Tom was as usual, out in the shop tinkering, then settled back with his shortwave radio and a cold beer. When Sandy couldn't reach him on his cell phone, she called a neighbor, who went down to check on him. He found Tom slumped over his work table, oblivious to the sounds that were still coming out of his radio. Just like those radio waves, Tom is now out there amongst them, saying, "Oh boy, would you look at that."
As well as his seasonal job driving a set of doubles for Coeur d'Alene Paving, he loved his part time job as a steam engine operator. For several years now, he would spend week-ends driving old number seven around the 3.5 mile route that circled Silverwood. He didn't ride much, but he also loved horses. When they lost Ono, the 32 year old palomino a couple of years ago, it coincided with the economy going south with horse owners.
He and Sandy made a home for four unwanted or at least unaffordable horses, all prime stock and all free,except for the feed which was hurting them. Fortunately, in the times that try men's(and women's) souls, people step up. A neighbor has agreed to take charge of the horses until a home can be found for them.
These are the practical problems that were quickly overcome. Somehow I know that Tom is reading this, as I type it with tears in my eyes. I loved you, man. I just hope that Sandy can survive this after, I think about twenty two years of hilarity, as they matched wits with each other, and shot a few pool games.Rest knowing that you left this world a better place for your presence.
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