Day 12: Sonny “Tinkie” Wimberley

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(Note: Sonny “Tink” Wimberley was a family friend who lived just down the road from the home where I grew up. Our families farmed together, played together, and looked out for one another. He passed away in 2015.)

Dear Tink:

How did you even get that nickname? If I ever heard the story, I don’t recall. Sonny? I never called you that a single time.

Isn’t it interesting how circumstance affects so much of who we’re around, what we believe, and who we become? I’m so thankful our circumstances helped me to know you. Thinking about all the people to whom I want to write notes this year, it’s made me especially aware of how many wonderful male role models I had in life. Good, genuine, humble, imperfect men. Gosh, Tinkie, you were one of the very first. I can’t remember when you weren’t my cheerleader.

It's funny, this is the only photo of Tink I could scrape up. It's from the archives in our old hometown newspaper and notes the four couples in this photo combined for 260 years of marriage. Tink is back row, second from left. It's my good fortune to find the photo, however, as every person in it affected my life in some positive way. I want to thank them, too.

It’s funny, this is the only photo of Tink I could scrape up. It’s from the archives in our old hometown newspaper and notes how the four couples here combined for 223 years of marriage. Tink is back row, second from left – with his trademark smile. It’s my good fortune to find the photo, however, as every person pictured affected my life in some positive way. I want to thank them, too, and will do so in future notes.

We spent a lot of time together in so many places. On the turn row during planting and harvest seasons, in the duck blind, all the hottest loafing spots in town, your house, our house. I so looked forward to the times when our families would get together. Everything was always better when you guys were around.

You showed me the simple pleasure of eating cold watermelon on the fourth of July and the care free feeling that comes with running through a cow pasture. You even taught me about diversification and entrepreneurship – from pigs and cows to cotton and gas stations.

And you may be one of the first memories where I recall humility personified so effortlessly. You were such a good man.

I miss you, Tinkie. I miss seeing you sit around with a cup of coffee, always smiling, always laughing.  Thanks for being my friend, and for always treating me like one of the guys. Enjoy eternity. See you up there soon.

Your little buddy,

Stevie

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