THE FRIENDSHIP OF ROY N. WALTER


Roy Nevada Walter, who was known to most people as “Blackie” was always a friend of mine. One of my earliest recollections of Blackie was when I was probably eight or nine years old. There were only three other boys in the neighborhood and I would ride my bicycle to their homes to see them and play with them. Two of those boys lived less than a mile away but Maurice Crabtree lived more like five miles away, as the crow flies but was more than six by the way an automobile had to go. The first time I had undertaken the trip to his house on my bicycle I had traveled about four miles when I met Blackie coming from the Crabtree place on horseback. He stopped to talk to me and told me how I could take a shortcut. He explained to me that the river was low enough that I could cross it by stepping from rock to rock and save myself more than a mile.

After that our paths crossed many times over the years and Blackie was always good to me and always tried to help me in any way he could. Often during those years I was a guest in the house and at the table of Blackie and his wife, Cora, where I was always warmly welcomed. An event that occurred during those years still comes to my mind often, sixty years later. I was working for Ray Compton at Compton Motors and Ray was wanting to retire. He offered the business to me and we had discussed it several times only to reach the conclusion that I didn’t have the necessary capital. As happens in a small community, word got out that I was considering buying the business and Blackie understood that the deal had been made. He came there with his pickup and bought a pair of tires. When it came to paying for the tires he made a comment that told me that he had bought the tires to give my business a boost. I had to tell him that I hadn’t bought the business and he expressed regret that I hadn’t but wished me luck anyhow.

Some years later, in the late 1960′s I had gone into a similar business a hundred miles away and Blackie came there to buy a pair of tires from me. While we were at that same place he made the trip there to spend a few days visiting with us. A point to remember is that he was approximately 75 years old at this time and had spent more of his life on the back of a horse than behind the wheel of a pickup. As he was approaching our place at the edge of town, another vehicle was following him too closely and making him nervous. The situation caused him to be apprehensive about slowing down enough to turn into our place so he continued along the street, looking for a place to turn around. Just past our place the street became four lane and the traffic alongside of him made him even more nervous. It made him so nervous that he was driving too far to the right and clipped a parked pickup. He parked and went into the gas station where the pickup was parked, expecting to be confronted about hitting the pickup. Nobody in the station said anything about it so he got back into his pickup and came back to our place. It was probably a couple of hours before the deputy sheriff came to ask about the person who owned the pickup that was parked outside. I went and talked to the owner of the other pickup who said that the damage to his pickup was so minimal that we could forget it. I found a used front fender for Blackie’s pickup and replaced it, keeping the cost low enough that the incident did not have to be reported but Blackie was still upset and apprehensive about it. We weren’t aware of how worried he was about it until the next morning when Fay asked him how he had slept and he replied, “Not very good.”
Fay asked, “Why not,” and he told her, “Too damn much worrying.” 
Then she asked him, “What do you have to worry about?”
His anguished reply was, “Oh, Chri-i-i-st, Fay!”
We assured him that he wasn’t in any trouble so he could enjoy the rest of his visit.

During the years that I knew Blackie his favorite beverages were coffee and whiskey. Wherever he was he wanted his coffee and, if it was outdoors, he wanted a campfire going and coffee brewing. At one time he had part of his stomach removed because of an ulcer. I think they were limited in the amount of his stomach they could remove because most of it was made of cast iron. The part of his stomach that remained had to be cast iron because he drank the strongest coffee he could find and drank it any hour of the day. In their house, the coffee pot sat on the back of the wood burning stove all day long, getting thicker and stronger. By the end of the day that coffee was so strong that all a person had to do was set a cup beside the pot and the coffee would climb out of the pot and into the cup. More than once I saw him pour a cup of that coffee and add a teaspoon or two of instant coffee to it.
There was a time when we were at the same picnic as Blackie was and I noticed that nobody had made any coffee. Not only had nobody made any coffee but there was nothing there for making coffee. I had a little coffee maker in my vehicle that plugged into the cigarette lighter and made three cups of coffee so I made some coffee for him. I made it quite strong and after he had tasted it I asked him, “How was the coffee?”
“Well, you could have put more coffee in it.” was his reply.
I told him, “I only had a pound.”

“Well, you should have put it in there.” was his instant response.

Photo

Blackie Walter in his senior years

Coming soon; The legend of Blackie Walter

About authorjim

I grew up in the country near a small Montana town, I have spent a lot of time in the outdoors, working, fishing, hunting and camping but have always been interested in mechanical and electrical things. Most of my life has been spent in the use, care and repair of things mechanical, electrical an electronic. After being retired for several years, I began writing and published my first novel at the age of 79. Now, at the age of 82, I have recently published my fourth noveland it is available from me or from the pulisher or book distributor.
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2 Responses to THE FRIENDSHIP OF ROY N. WALTER

  1. bldodson says:

    Loved the ‘coffee’ bit,

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