A Friend Remembers: Cornwall “Spud” Buckminster

By Clem Bricksten

It is with a heavy heart and a water-logged wooden leg that I put fingers to keyboard and tap out this fond fare-thee-well to my dear friend, my companion Cornwall “Spud” Buckminster.

Bucky, as I call him (I don’t like that nickname. Makes me think of the rotten potatoes I have for sale at the Bass Lake Inn-Convenience Store ($1.97/truckload.) is, was, a lifelong friend. We met in third grade. Mrs. Bynum’s class, I believe, at Bass Lake Elementary School and Bait Store. Even though he was nearly 3 months older than I was, we hit it off right away. Why, we used to hide out in the cloak room for hours and rearrange all the items in the cubby holes.

Buck, as I called him then, loved nap time. The only trouble was he used to take his naps during arithmetic. Mrs. Bynum used to awaken old B. K., as I called him once,  by winging nightcrawlers at his head. She could really make those critters fly! And what aim! To this day I think that’s where CB, as he liked to be called, picked up his love of worms, which naturally led to his ice-fishing career.

We were so poor in those days we would make fishing poles from car antennas we snapped off in the church parking lot when all the straight folks were inside.  And even though it was because of Corny, as people he yelled at liked to call him, was responsible for me losing my leg, I never hated him for long. We always made up by going fishing and telling stories from our future glory days. I even have that old beaver trap what took my leg nailed to a beam at the Bass Lake Inn-Convenience Store (open M-T, 4:30 -5 a.m., Wed. from noon -12:13, and the rest of the week by appointment.) which of course many of you have wondered about.  Mystery solved.

Ornwall, Orny, had lungs like a beaver. That’s all I can write about that.

Never again will I get up at 3 in the morning so Cracker Barrell, as his ex-wives called him, could warm his feet by the fire before going back out on the ice. He loved his poles, his beemoths, his five or six children, and his 5-gallon bucket, Hilda. Never again will The Corn Dog and I spend long afternoons down at the fishing range, casting clay worms into the water and warm glances at each other.

In addition to his legendary ice-fishing skills, Wally, as he was known in Europe, pioneered the field of ice-bucket diplomacy. He once spent a weekend with General Secretary Yuri Andropovon on a frozen pond outside Moscow.  Yuri died the next weekend, thus bringing an end to his political career and communism in one fell swoop. Look it up.

I still have a gross of Russian nesting dolls ($5. 23 per set) Wallmeister, as I called him after one of his junkets, brought back with him.

As per his wishes, Connie, as I called him in private, will be buried at lake as soon as the deputies get trained on those flamethrowers.

Well, that’s about all I have time for, seeing as it’s nearly 7 am and I have to go to Twin Nut Farms to pick up a few dozen locally aged muffins ($.75 cents for the lot.).

I’ll miss you, Ginger, as I’ll call you from now on.

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