BORN 2/11/1944
PASSED AWAY 1/20/2005
                                                                       UNCLE TOM

                                                           I loved him and He loved me
                                                          Uncle Tom loved to watch TV,
                                       He watched war movies and he liked to tell them to me.
                                                            He liked candy and so did I,
                                                 But his favorite thing was pumpkin pie.
                                     He always played with me, and talked like Donald Duck,
                                        And I could always count on him to give me a buck.
                                                He made me laugh with his funny jokes,
                                    And I was glad when he told me that he wouldn’t smoke.
                                  Now I have to say good-bye and that makes me want to cry.
                                       But now he’s in heaven and I can always say "Hi"!
                                                          I loved him and He loved me.

~~Colt Friesen~~
Growing up with Tom.

Many people thought Tom and I fought all of the time. I suppose when you are around a sibling most of your life you have those days. I know Joetta and I working together all the time now, have our days.  But the nice thing about us three kids and later with Susan, is that we have always been able to put the arguments behind us.

When we were young, Tom and I worked at the family salvage yard that used to be across the highway from where the John Deere is today. We worked nearly every day after school and every summer. The only thing that kept us out of going to work was homework. Well, neither of us were into homework much so we usually went to the junkyard.  Tom and I were like a lot of kids and tried to find ways to keep out of work.  The junk yard was hard work, especially for young kids.  It seemed even harder when we knew a lot of our friends were doing nothing; or if they did have jobs they were getting up to twenty-five dollars a month in the summer where we were only getting five dollars a month. I am sure that is one of the reasons we hunted so hard for ways to get out of work.

We had grown up watching our uncles at the junk yard a lot and did some of the things they did like jumping junked-car to junked-car, crushing in the roofs. There used to be a pile of old tractor tires on the east end of the yard. We would crawl through those for hours some days. Tom was like a snake and could go anywhere. I would get stuck and he would have to calm me down so I could get out, otherwise he couldn’t get out past me.

But thinking up new games for us to do in order to get out of work was where Tom really shined. He could think up games one after another. Our toys then were always things from the junk yard. One-way disk spacers for bar bells, or playing with matches as we cleaned up tools with gasoline we had siphoned out of junked tractors. Tom loved playing with and watching fire.   That's another story.

I think the game we liked most though was war. We would use empty bullet shells as our soldiers and set them up in fox holes and would use dirt walls for our forts. Then we would throw five or ten rocks at the other’s fort and then count soldiers. Whoever had the most soldiers still in place would be the winner of that battle. But the war never ended until Dad or Grandpa would find us.

We were poor in those days, but we kids never knew it.  All we knew is that if we had meat in our beans or goulash, Dad had had a good day at the junk yard.  But I will always remember those days growing up. There were so many cousins to play with, and a lot of our Uncles and Aunts really weren’t that much older than us. Those were good days.

After we moved back from California the three years difference in our age was a bigger deal as Tom was nearing graduation. I was just "Pee Wee" to him then and more in the way than anything else. Mom and Dad were set on us coming home to Cimarron to work after schooling or in Tom’s case the Army.  We all had our own families by then and after working together all day, it was nice to kind of get away from each other, so we usually just got together at family functions.

Although Tom could push many of my buttons at will and often did, he was a good person. One might say he was a good scout. I think about the twelve scout laws. Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.  In all of those the only short coming for Tom was perhaps Thrifty, (all of us Thomas men battle this) and I think as time went on Tom was starting to master that one too.

If you really think about it, Tom did most of those things just naturally.  Wouldn’t it be something if it was that way with all of us?
I am so sorry to read about your brother.  I was just looking and enjoying your web site today and for some reason clicked on the senior pictures from years past and his picture jumped out at me.  I was shocked when the red D jumped out at me.  I have so many memories of Tom and Tad doing something or another that would probably cause someone to either laugh or cry, depending on the day.  I can remember thinking that Tom was like someone I would like to be.  I had to read your letter twice, slowly, and let it all sink in.  It sounds like your brother continued being someone I am proud to have known, his entire life.  Pete, my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours today.  I'm very sorry.
Fred Davis