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The treasure of knowing ‘Ernest’ | Letters
I did not know that Ernest had passed away until this very moment.
He was in my life for a relatively small window, but as I’m sure is the case with almost everyone that ambled across kindred paths with Ernest, he made an impression that was so unique and indelible that it was almost as if he branded you with his spirit and life force.
I had the blessed opportunity to portray a role on stage in one of Ernest’s many works, “The Last Bus from Hopewell”. I played a mentally challenged young man who had a savant ability to mimic anything and everything, but he found the most comfort in mimicking his pet chickens.
I remember going to Anne and Ernest’s and studying Ernest’s chickens with him. I remember coming off stage after a rehearsal and Ernest taking me aside to give me feedback and encouragement.
He was the penultimate kindly old-timer from an era long since passed, and quite possibly never existed at all. Curious by the way he spoke and his vernacular, I once inquired where he hailed from originally. “Ohio”, he said. For me that only fed the legend behind the man.
In all honesty, I’m not entirely certain Ernest even liked to write. I think it was the process that he reveled in. He planted a seed and then enjoyed watching it grow and participating in it being nurtured carefully and deliberately.
His written works, just like his life, were his garden, and the lucky few of us that were able to be tilled and sown in the garden of Ernest Pugh have been branded forever by the light of a rare and truly great man.
Alex Reeder, Seattle (FHHS graduate)