The late Bud Nutter was a fixture at supermarket delicatessen
Connie Langer Huffman of Broad Oaks (she served on
The ArtCenter at about the same time I did in the late '80s) had a touching
story that she brought to my attention, which I'll pass along to you.
She mentioned that between 5-6 o'clock each evening,
just like clockwork, Bud Nutter, a Clarksburg resident, could be seen having
dinner in the deli in Kroger's at Eastpointe.
"Bud had lost his wife a number of years ago. He
had no children, so he had become a part of the Kroger family. In fact,
the employees and some of us who ate there called him, "Mr. Kroger"."
Connie said Bud had become a permanent fixture,
sitting in the same booth each evening, partaking of his chosen meal. He
loved baked steak, green beans, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings.
He washed all this down with a very large soft drink. He loved mounds of
cottage cheese and diced tomatoes from the salad bar. He rarely even passed
up dessert (chocolate cake, apple pie or whatever) then another very large
soft drink to wash the sweets down.
"Bud was a butter man," she pointed out. "I once
said to him, "You surely don't have any cholesterol problem or high blood
pressure?" He replied, "You gotta go sometime. I'm gonna eat what I want
and as much of it as I want." He lived up to that statement, no holds barred."
She added, "Bud was such a neat person. His prolific
use of napkins must have kept some paper company in business."
Coming to dinner at Kroger's was the social highlight of his day, Connie
recalled. "He not only loved the food, he loved the company. He not
only loved the food, but he treasured his conversations with the Kroger
"He usually sat over dinner between two and three
hours. During this time, he may have chatted with 10-15 people. People
just sat down at his table and talked during their dinner hour or their
evening break. One set would get up and go back to work; another set would
sit down to eat and talk and laugh with Bud. Bud never knew who or how
many people would come to share dinner with him."
The people at the deli at "Kroger's on the hill"
had embraced this quite unassuming man who always wanted company for dinner.
Connie continued, "My six-year-old grandson, Quinton,
had some great conversations with Bud. He called him "Bup" and always ran
to look for him in that familiar booth. In late February of this year,
we looked for Bud as we entered the deli. He didn't show up by 6:30 p.m.
We were concerned.
"We asked our niece, Kelly, in the pharmacy, "Have
you seen Bud?" She replied, "Oh, you didn't hear about the accident?" "He
was on his way here to eat when he apparently had a heart attack, went
off the road and hit a tree. He is in Ruby (Memorial Hospital in Morgantown)
unconscious in critical condition"."
Mrs. Huffman related that a few days later, as they
stood in line at the deli, one of the waitresses said, "You knew Bud well,
didn't you?" "Yes," we replied. She said, "Well, he passed away this morning."
Connie stated that they said very little more to
each other, as it was a time of sadness for the "Kroger family" and friends.
"I still haven't told my grandson yet that Bup is gone," she said.
"He will miss all their long conversations.
"My sister-in-law, Sarah Rebrook, told me they are going to place a
plaque in Bud's honor and memory just above "Bud's Booth" in the smoking
section of the deli."
Connie concluded: "Their lives have been touched
by an angel. His, in turn, had been touched by a whole chorus of Kroger
Thanks so much to Connie Langer Huffman for this story.
Have a great week, and remember-next Sunday morning at 2 o'clock,
it's SPRING FORWARD time!
Turning sadness into
laughter a special skill for Citizen of the Year
The Exponent and Telegram take this opportunity to
extend our warmest congratulations to Janice McMurdo for having been named
the newspaper's Citizen of the Year.
There were more than 50 other people from North
Central West Virginia nominated for the award, so being chosen is a special
honor for her. But then again, Janice McMurdo is a special individual,
unique in her ability to bring a smile to the face of people who might
otherwise have little reason to do so.
No stranger to personal tragedies of her own, Mrs.
McMurdo could easily have just given up when her 26-year-old son was killed
in an accidental shooting in 1980. Or she could have thrown up her hands
and quit when she was diagnosed with breast cancer about eight years ago,
but instead fought back.
She might have drowned in her sorrow in 1987 when
Tom McGee, her husband of nearly 30 years, died as a result of heart problems.
And 10 years later, she lost her second husband, Bob McMurdo, who died
of a massive heart attack.
Many with her history of tragedies might well have resigned themselves
to a life of gloom. But no, Janice McMurdo is a survivor-and more. She
had no time for that.
Instead, she chose to use music and her great sense
of humor to lift others' spirits, make them laugh and sing and forget their
pain and their troubles. Never have we heard a negative or discouraging
word from our winner.
It is one of her main goals to watch sad faces turn
to broad smiles, to watch senior citizens tapping their feet to the beat
of her singing and music.
Certainly it is rare to know a person 63 years of
age with so much energy, especially after some of the very trying experiences
she has been through. But that is one of the many reasons Mrs. McMurdo
came to be selected as the Exponent and Telegram Citizen of the Year.
This is the third year she was nominated for the
award. The Citizen of the Year program began in 1997. Three is a charm
for her- a charming person indeed.
In addition to Mrs. McMurdo, we also congratulate
the other nine finalists. Each of their stories, outlined in today's special
section, "The Corridor Co.," should be an inspiration to all of us.
Robert F. Stealey