Bud Goff was a guy who made you think you could go on forever.
Several years ago as I was learning to play tennis I was invited to substitute in a foursome that had been together for a number of years, only later would I learn how long that was.
When Dr. Ed moved from Cambria I was invited to join Bud, Ellie and Jim every Thursday morning at 7:30, year round. These were crafty, veteran players who knew angles, spin and shot placement. They called Ellie a backboard, always returned shots. Jim, who was a physicist had learned some of the most vicious spin and English you can imagine. And then there was Bud who ran like a deer, as a lefty he could drill you with a serve and was as proficient at the net and getting to it, as anyone.
A relatively new retiree, I knew I was younger. I figured Bud was maybe mid to late 70's. A few years ago when a fellow was subbing with us he asked Bud how old he was. Bud said he was 88. My jaw dropped. Some 4-5 years later, just a few months ago, Bud had a pacemaker installed. He took about three weeks off and came to the court. He'd ask to take a break once in a while when we first began the days play as he said to "let everything get in sync." Frankly I worried a bit but he continued to play an aggressive and skilled game and he loved it.
A couple of weeks ago, Bud did not show up. He was usually the first person to the court. I called his beloved Viv and she said he'd had a heart issue. They gave him a stent.
He got home in a couple of days and as we talked on the phone he said he was ready to come back, but then he began to feel ill. He was readmitted to the hospital.
I spoke with Bud three days ago. He told me what he had been diagnosed with and said as soon as they finished the chemo therapy he'd back on the court "probably in a couple of weeks." In the mean time he said he just wanted to "get back living again." He hated being in a hospital bed. I told him that traffic at the farmers market last week was backed up on Main Street, something that never happened when he was the fellow in control. He greeted everyone, had a treat for kids and pets and got all the cars parked. I told him the traffic jam was probably because everybody was asking about him. He chuckled.
He told me my daughter, a nurse, had visited with him and he spoke glowingly about her. I told him we hoped to see him back on the court in a couple of weeks and he said he'd be there. Bud passed away yesterday, while undergoing treatment.
He was 92, maybe 93. I don't know what you picture when you see a 92 year old man, but I'll bet it isn't a picture of Bud. He smiled all the time. Was fit, trim and as noted, he ran on the court like a deer. He recently bought a new car and was talking about programming the radio. Same with a new smart phone. There'd be days when he'd stop the play to point out a beautiful cloud formation, or watch hawks soar and chuckle at the calves as they ran on a nearby grazing slope. He was a gentleman, a coach and mentor, civic volunteer and he seemed ageless. I'll miss my Thursday mornings with Bud, but I'll remember him well and with a smile.
local fire updateThe Chimney fire east of the Santa Lucia mountains in northern San Luis Obispo county has become a source of anxiety for those of us on the coast.
Air quality has been affected when the wind pushes smoke and ash our way. It is being able to see the blaze that has claimed some 12-13 thousand acres that is disquieting.
It is less than 40 percent contained and the southern track is in rugged wilderness where it is difficult to fight.
The famed Hearst Castle is to the south in San Simeon. The private Hearst ranch has begun to move animals. Locals are paying close attention and wondering. Friends in San Simeon have begun to prepare for evacuation, just in case.There are two fires on the Central Coast, the Soberanes fire north of Big Sur and the Chimney Road fire in near Lake Nacimiento. There are currently 22 major fires in California.
This is a state with a history of battling wild fires and the skill level is extraordinary. It is a huge budget item for the state and people who have been here a long time have learned to live with the risk. We are getting better about that, but we still keep a wary eye on the smoke plumes and anticipate hearing that containment has been achieved.
See you down the trail.