Thursday, November 01, 2012

Paying Our Respects to Mad Dog Nelson

November 1, 2012

   One of my favorite neighbors, Oscar JD Nelson passed away last week. He was one of the last of the old time Creekers. Tough, independent, outspoken but generous to a fault. He built my chicken house, he helped me gather river rocks to build my driveway, he even drove me to Tucson several years ago to film a new batch of True West Moments for  Encore Westerns (and he was 82 at the time!).


The funeral was today in Thatcher, a Mormon farming community where JD was born 88 years ago. My neighbor Tom Augherton and I drove down this morning, leaving the house at 7:30. Of course we had to stop in Globe for Mexican food at La Luz del Dia Cafe (The Light of Day Cafe) on Main Street in old town Globe because JD would have wanted it us to:

Tom and I both had the huevos rancheros and homemade flour tortillas which lasted us all day. I got home at seven this evening and I'm still not hungry! Ha. Classic oldtime cafe with the narrow room. Here's the view from the inside:

Got to the Mormon Church in Thatcher at noon in time for the ceremony. Heard great stories about JD from the family. Of course we have our own stories. JD was somewhat of a hot rodder in his youth but he didn't tolerate speeding in our neighborhood. He once stopped Tommy Bell and Bill Glenn and told them off for speeding. Tommy tried to tell JD he was my son, but that only made it worse. JD once asked me why I went to South America (we had just returned from a family trip to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia) and when I tried to tell him he said and I quote, "You know, one of these times you're going to get stuck in one of those Mexican countries down there and not come back." It wasn't politically correct and it wasn't exactly enlightened but it was classic JD. And we loved him for it.

Graveside at the Thatcher cemetery he got a 21 gun salute (he was a Navy vet who saw rough stuff in WWII):

And Tom Augherton brought along some Cave Creek dirt to put in the ground with him so he will feel a bit of home on the way to eternity:

Oh, and he got the nickname "Mad Dog" Nelson when he worked as a mechanic and a rough customer kept teasing him about being a "damn Mormon." JD was under a car on a creeper when the guy came in and started in on the taunting. JD slid out from under the car he was working on, came up with his fists flying and took the guy down on the ground and beat the snot out of him.

"We are proud to say Mad Dog Nelson was the mayor of our neighborhood."

—Every neighbor of mine who knew him