Ramblin' with Fergie by John Ferguson

Hamburg Reporter

Popcorn Day 2021

 I’ve titled this one “Popcorn Day 2021”, but I’m thinking I should have called it “My Second Best Friend”, because, in 1945, I became acquainted with Tommy Finnell when we both were enrolled into kindergarten at the Hamburg Grade School. Even though we lived less than two blocks apart, we never had reason to know one another until we started school in Miss Lowe’s kindergarten class. In fact, we napped on the floor, side by side, in her class. I remember Tommy’s rug was a pretty blue and white checkered one, while mine was a boring pink one. Yeh, it was rug envy.

But, in spite of that huge discrepancy, we became close friends and walked home from school together, under the tutelage of our older sisters, mine being Kaye and Tommy’s being Rosie, both being much older, in fourth grade. My older brother, Cliff, a second grader, undoubtedly joined us on occasion, but I can’t believe he enjoyed it very much.

As time went on, Tommy and I continued to be really close friends until Tommy became Tom and I became Johnnie about half the time. Go figure. It got to the point that, in our expanding neighborhood, when the Gounds were included, Tom became Big Tommy and Tom Gound became Little Tommy. In this more compact world, I was still John, but John Gound had to revert to including his middle name to differentiate between the the two of us; ergo John Ferguson and John Charles Gound. Unfair? Perhaps, but that’s the way it was. Sadly, neither Big Tommy nor Little Tommy are still with us. Tom Finnell died in 2013 and Tom Gound passed in 2019.

So, you may well ask, “Why refer to this as “My Second Best Friend”? The answer is because my very best friend is the same person I wake up in bed beside every morning, my first wife, Hallie.

Okay, now I’m outta here.