How To Build The Timmy Plate – A Tribute to the late, great Tim Dog Walsh
While Rachel and I were away last week in North Carolina, my uncle Timmy (Walsh) passed away. My sister, my mother (his older sister), my Uncle James, my cousins, several friends all got to see Timmy before he passed away at his home on Sawyer Street in Wareham. The same home my mother grew up in. In fact, a Walsh has lived on Sawyer St for close to 8 decades. Lot of history in that home, but I’ll get to that later. Timmy’s health had been declining over the past few years and had really started to decline severely in the last few months. A few recent falls, a bout of sickness, and that was all Tim Dog (as most of us called him) could handle in this lifetime. He passed away on Monday, April 3rd with his brother and his niece Sarah by his side. My sister and mother broke the news to me as I was driving back from Raleigh to our hotel. Very sad news to lose such an energetic and larger than life character such as Tim Dog.
With any sort of loss in life, you start the grieving process and cry or scream or yell or laugh or… well it is certainly a case by case basis for the many varied events in one’s lifetime. With the news of Timmy passing, I began to run down the millions of memories I have with/about him. His fitness level was extraordinary – he ran marathons, rode his bike everywhere, played competitive tennis, skied, worked out at the New Bedford YMCA. Tim Dog was fit, I mean JFK running in Central Park fit. His random appearances were legendary – I ran into Tim Dog at an Allman Brothers show in New Bedford, in fact, Timmy’s ticket was in the same row as mine and my son Spencer. I ran into Timmy at Wareham Gateman (Cape Cod Baseball League) games simply by looking down the bleachers and spotting him. Timmy showed up at all the family functions, weddings mostly and of course holidays. Growing up, Timmy would always stop by my mother’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, sometimes Easter and grace us with his presence and hilarious stories.
Telling these stories to Rachel, I didn’t tear up. Quite the opposite, I started cracking up at the antics and spontaneity of Timmy’s actions at the most sensitive of times. Blurting out something during a family function that would crack everyone up. Excusing himself during the first dance of a wedding to go into the kitchen to help himself to a meal, because the waitstaff had taken too long to serve him. Timmy’s voice when he used to encourage my Nanny’s dog Seth to jump up on my grandfather’s recliner in the house on Sawyer St. “Sethie, come on Sethie.” I’ll never forget that voice and the laughter that ensued between my cousins and I as we watched Seth the dachshund rock back and forth to get enough momentum to lunge himself into the chair. Ok, I lied, tears of joy were in my eyes as I was telling these stories. Tim Dog was one of a kind in so many ways.
Easter Sunday, I had an opportunity to visit with Rachel’s family and then head to my sister’s house for some Roby/Hohl family time. Shortly after we arrived, my sister offered me a “Timmy Plate” to which I answered “Oh hell yeah!” It was a great memory and connection to my sister and our past and I just loved that moment Erin and I shared. So, what is a Timmy Plate you might ask? On the day of Timmy’s funeral, Tuesday April 11th, I took a moment to go out to my deck and attempt to draw a blueprint for the Timmy Plate. So, in honor of the late, great, spectacular man that Tim Dog was, I give you, The Timmy Plate:
Just going back to the fitness aspect of Timmy’s life, this man could freaking eat. He ate like a teenager well into his adult life. Calories consumed were no problem for the Tim Dog. The man could pack in the food and still look like a professional marathoner. Lucky bastard! Love you Tim, I’m not calling you a bastard. Ok, back to the Timmy Plate and how to build it.
First, you have to secure a firm grip on your plate. This plate’s integrity will be challenged by the volume of food you will be placing on it. Do not skimp and get a plate with any defects. It must be a solid plate and worthy of the Timmy Plate status. Next, survey the scene and see what the table has to offer. The Timmy Plate is not a dinner plate nor a lunch or breakfast plate. The Timmy Plate is an all encompassing plate to satisfy your hunger. It will and can contain any of the following – carbs, fats, proteins, blueberry muffins, ham, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry bread, apple pie, cheesecake, salad, breads, biscuits, and other assorted fruits, vegetables, gravy, and meat. Do not worry about cross pollination of food types. Pile food on top of other food groups at will. No space shall be spared. First layer is ham, cranberry bread, and mashed potatoes? Great, toss some salad, a muffin or two, maybe some green beans and a slice of rhubarb pie on top of that layer. Continue to grip that plate firmly, you are building a food masterpiece that will be revered throughout the roster of dinner guests at the table awaiting. When you are finished piling food item after food item onto your plate, secure your Timmy Plate with two hands and walk proudly to your seat at the table. Do not listen to the naysayers about the nutritional value or values of your plate, for the Timmy Plate is not about calorie counts. It’s value transcends any nutritional criticism you may receive. All you have to do then, is simply dig in!
After the funeral, which was just so perfectly emotional for the man Timmy was, Rachel and I stopped by the house on Sawyer St for a much needed visit and connection to my late nanny. My Uncle James and my cousin Brendan were in the house, and Rachel and I joined them. We chatted about the house, Timmy of course, my mom, and James invited me to walk around the house and soak it all in. It was amazing just being in that home that I spent most of my childhood in up until my nanny’s passing when I was about 14. I hadn’t been there since, some rough math here – over 35 years. Timmy had school pictures of my family, James’ kids, my Uncle Johnny’s kids, and tons of family photos of himself and his siblings – my mom, my uncles. I often call my mother’s home “The Museum” and the Sawyer St. home is definitely “Museum East.” I could have spent hours in there just walking from room to room looking at old photos and interesting plates and Irish memorabilia. It was so needed on such a sad day – the connection to my nanny and to the most incredible Uncle on a spiritual level walking in and out of those rooms, up the stairs, in the backyard. James invited me to take “whatever I wanted” and I did take a few baseball things, a hat I remember Timmy wearing in the summer, and Timmy’s bicycle. I will cherish those items for as long as I live knowing there were Timmy’s.
There was so much more to Tim Dog than goofy outbursts and Timmy Plates. I am so truly blessed to have had Timmy in my life for so many years and cherish every single memory I have of him. Thanksgiving, I can promise you, I will have a Timmy Plate and all its glory and deal with the digestive side effects later in the day, should they arise. Love you Tim Dog, Rest In Peace.
To learn more about my Uncle Tim, here is his obituary, crafted by my Uncle Johnny along with an amazing video tribute – https://www.chapmanfuneral.com/obituaries/Timothy-F-Walsh?obId=27660295#/obituaryInfo
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