Dink could and did extract money from me on several occasions. He had a good deal for me almost every time I saw him. He wanted to see me become rich right along with him. He never did become rich. He didn’t do much for my bottom line either, at least positively.
Dink always was a lady’s man. A real charmer. He charmed me as well. But with time we lost touch. By happenstance I ran on to him in a café in north Texas one day in 1991. We visited. He had a deal for me, but I wasn’t interested. Life had become busy for me and with our history, it was easy enough for me to not worry about Dink.
For some reason one day in the fall of 2003, while driving to Dallas I started thinking about Dink. Since the internet came along I have honed my skills in the art of finding people. Skip tracing became a real hobby. Within a few minutes I had located him. He was living in Irving. I could tell he was living at the same address as several females. Had Dink finally set up a situation to where he had his own harem? Upon closer examination I discovered the ladies were old. Really old. It was a nursing home.
He was 70 at that time. I drove there that day. I went in and found him. When I walked in he was sitting in a chair, he looked up and said “damn Ron, I was wondering when you’d show up”. I was never sure how long he had been wondering that.
He had spent most his life smoking cigarettes. Camels without a filter. Several packs a day. Almost more than anyone I knew. His lungs were pretty well shot. He was pitiful in one way, but still had the ability to tell a good story. A lady he had met in their respective favorite coffee shop came regularly to be sure he had what he needed. There was no family close by. Without his friend I’m sure he wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long as he did.
He had the means to still have a cell phone so we swapped numbers and talked often. I would get to Dallas every few months and go see him. I would give him a $100 bill each time I left.
In 2005 I received a call from his lady friend, saying he had died. Dink had a friend that was a land developer in DFW. Bill I think his name was. I met him once. When time was getting short he was ask by the friend what to do about paying for his funeral. He said “Get ahold of Bill and Ronnie and they’ll take care of it”.
When I got to the Funeral Home in east Texas, I paid my half and I suppose Bill did the same.
Afterwards I met with some of his family members from west Texas at a Luby’s and had lunch. We swapped Dink stories. I told them about the funeral arraignments that Dink had made. I said “I gladly paid it, figuring that would be the last time he’d be able to get in my pocket”. We all laughed. They knew Dink too.
Dadgummit, I was sitting around here just thinking about Dink and funeral. If I paid $3,000 for half of that funeral, that would have been a $6,000 funeral. But now recall going by the cemetery in Tyler several years later and when I couldn’t find his grave, I went to the office to inquire. “Yes Mr. McDuff is buried here. He was cremated and his ashes are in the same plot with his son, who had died a few years before him“. Does a service with a cremation with no plot really cost $6,000?