A Final Toast

To a Music Man

Story and Photos by Dean Worbois

The last gift from Rod Simpson’s place was a half-gallon of Kentucky bourbon whiskey. To be precise, it was one-and-three-quarters liters. Rod always topped off his busy day with a jigger (maybe two) of bourbon, which was accompanied by Mexican beer. He spent his days transposing 17th-Century music that had been buried in European libraries and was sent to his home on microfilm. He’d fuss over Munch, a possessive yellow dog that was set in his ways as Rod himself. He’d delight in the antics of Circus, one of a dozen small feeder fish Rod had put in his pond to eat moss and then had watched grow to the size of koi (see “Conversation with a Fish,”  IDAHO magazine, February 2015). He’d refuse to eat the Meals-on-Wheels food that thoughtful and concerned citizens would drop by. Instead, despite barely being able to see, he’d cook up rutabagas, parsnips, turnips, and chicken, and he’d eat the greens, extra-sharp cheddar, and ice cream that held the flavors and health benefits he remembered from his childhood on an Ohio farm.

During the last few years of Rod’s life, when he lived alone in a home on the rolling countryside of Sand Hollow about thirteen miles north of Caldwell on Highway 30, I was glad to be his resource for procuring the food he loved. He died in the spring of 2018 at age eighty-eight.

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