News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 12, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 12, 2012

Heartfelt tribute to a warm lady

It was with a sad heart that I read of the passing of “Toady” Loyd. I admired her so much. Her ability to make friends of complete strangers was amazing. She ran a business with such dignity and grace that anyone who opens a restaurant should strive to follow her example.

Toady taught me many things over the years I knew her, but the thing I will always remember about her was how warm and wonderful she was. Having had lunch at the Briarpatch more times than I can count made me aware of what a warm, welcoming place my own home should be.

One particular lunch stands out in my mind. The Lone Ranger was in town doing a promotion for a car dealer and as I ate lunch he came in.

He was my hero as a child. This was during the period when Clayton Moore was being replaced by someone unknown and there was a big deal over his mask. As my friends and I were leaving, I stopped at Mr. Moore’s table and thanked him for the many Saturdays I spent watching his movies. Toady had welcomed him with the same warmth she did her everyday visitors.

I never got to know her family but I am sure she had to be close to the perfect mother. I remember watching her and her husband as they worked side by side and thinking “please God, let me find someone like him.”

Toady used to tell me if I re-married I could have the event in her herb garden. That became a standard joke between us. I did find someone, but it was years after the Briarpatch closed.

I used to see Toady at the herb fair and was always so amazed that she remembered so many people and always got their names right. Now, when I drive down south Fruitridge, there will always be a small stab of regret that she is gone. I am sure she is planting a new garden in heaven for God’s enjoyment.

As a final “thank you” to her, I will always try to make guests in my home feel as she made me feel: welcomed, cherished, and special.

— Shirley A. Thomas


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    March 12, 2010