LITTLE BALKANS CHRONICLES — Tub Kirk's near death experience

J.T. Knoll

This week’s submission, from Terre Kirk Knoll, concerning her dad, Merlin ‘Tub’ Kirk is about how she and her uncle Harold improvised to bring her dad out of a coma after surgery. Makes sense when you think about it (but if it ever happens to me make sure to use ‘Josie’s lasagna, Pallucca’s sausage and homemade chocolate cake’).

They had to code my dad twice during surgery. Now they could not get him awake. The panic of the nurses was contagious. When they finally let us in they were moving from the head of the bed to his feet to keep trying out something there.

Uncle Harold and I moved to either side of Tub's head. Our eyes met. The deep anguish in Harold's eyes hit me hard. I have to fix this right now.

I leaned close to Tub's face and said, "Maaaashed potatoes with good brown gravy."

Harold only looked startled for a moment and he leaned in to add, "Chicken fried steak."

I added, "Creamed cabbage" and Harold quickly said, "Hot rolls with lots of butter."

I said, "They are serving lunch Daddy. You have to wake up."

Harold said, "Don't worry brother, I can eat yours too." … and Tub's eyes popped open!

Dad had always been convinced that if you skip a meal, it might kill you. He was good to go for at least another year.

If you have a remembrance and/or photo to share, send it — along with your name, address and phone number — by email to or by land mail to 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, Kansas 66762. You can phone and text photos to 620-704-1309.