Do you Believe in Basements?….Yes!

No skates.  No Ice.  Just tennis shoes and clubs.

The Winter Olympics isn’t just about figure skating around a rink.  With remorse, I was forced by my sisters to watch ice skating.  Although knowing zero about figure skating or hockey, I preferred ice cream and ice hockey.

After witnessing the “Miracle on Ice”, in 1980, my brothers and friends became interested in the sport.  None of us had skates, but my father accumulated a load of golf clubs from many of the doctors working with him.  They provided the clubs as a form of tithing or charity.  After the 1980 Winter Olympics, we used the clubs as hockey sticks and the used golf balls as pucks.

While still wearing a leg brace at the time, I was forced to be the goalie.  Coincidentally, Jim Craig, the USA goalie, was my favorite player on the USA team.  I used a worn downed catcher’s mitt to defend our goal.  The mitt should have surrounded my face.  I took more golf balls off me from the basement floor than Frazier took hits from Ali.  Someone taking a putter and hitting a golfball into your forehead is just flat out embarrassing.  Can you at least pull out a three wood or even an eight iron.

Staggering back, it was glorious.  It may have been dangerous, but it sure was fun.

No brain, no pain. No goals.  Just use your head.

Perhaps, we’ll see another miracle this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Buffett

Cheeseburgers can become paradise.

Although I didn’t love the song by Jimmy Buffett, “Cheese Burger in Paradise”, I learned to love his music and free beer.  So did my wife.

People believe Disney Land is the happiest place on earth.  I beg to differ.  For one night, a Jimmy Buffett concert in the glorious sun tanned coconut city of Seattle, he made it the happiest place on earth.

My wife had no interest in attending this concert.  She only knew two of his songs.  I told her to trust me.  She did and didn’t regret it.  It wasn’t just the music which was terrific, and additionally not the entertainment, equally as terrific…. It was the atmosphere.  People were happy.  Every paying guest was relishing in what can be good and peaceful in this world.  There were no tears…Only smiles and people handing you beers.  We felt as though we were at the most peaceful colosseum in Rome.  Jimmy and his band made you, for two hours, forget how ugly this wonderful country can be.

Facing difficult times, sometimes we forget about the paradise we, as Americans, created. I hope and pray this current cheeseburger can once again become a paradise.

Respectfully,

Britt’s husband

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Child Two

Johnny Appleseed was one tough cuss.  My good friend worked on a stage with my future wife in an elementary school performing in front of an angry mob infested with parents crying about their son not receiving the lead role.  The parents were only verbally abusive.  I didn’t know him at the time, but my current friend’s fellow students took it a bit further.

The posse, or “stage toughs” attempting to wrangle him back to his bleachers in the fourth grade didn’t know who they were gambling with.  He was Johnny Appleseed.  I guess you could call it method acting, now referred to in Spokane as Meth acting.

One of his stage competitors, his understudy, was wildly sore when he didn’t land the part, and Nathan did.  When losing the part, the second Johnny Appleseed hired a local bully to hold Nathan’s arms behind his back so the understudy could beat the crap out of him, hoping Nathan would concede.  Well, Nathan was tougher than they thought.  He delivered an award winning performance and even mentioned Child One, my future wife, in his acceptance speech.  Nathan still hasn’t forgiven the boy who beat him up.

Those child elementary actors are none to be trifled with.

Don’t mess with Johnny.

 

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Tired of Crying

I just told a good friend of mine I’m tired of crying.

Recently, I lost a brother and a friend.  Now, we are losing a mother who only has twelve children left.

I will cry, but she will prefer me, and many others, to laugh………

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Child One

At the age of ten, a girl, who would later become my wife, was an aspiring actress.  After one performance, she then became an expiring actress.  In the off broadway elementary play, “Johnny Appleseed”, she played the part of “child one”.  I always found it funny or interesting when directors or even writers don’t provide names for some of the characters.  Not only do you not have any right to be in the elementary show business, we won’t even give you a proper name.

Britt, embarrassed, disclosed this information to me when we met at the age of thirteen.      I take this stuff seriously.  She was a terrific friend and would do anything for me. Likewise, I’d do anything for her.  That director is currently buried somewhere in Las Vegas, and she never made it to Broadway.

Her only line was, “Pa, Pa! Johnny Appleseed is coming.”

When she exited the stage, Britt was greeted by her parents.  They didn’t mention one thing about her performance which wasn’t award winning.  They did talk about their day at work.  As tough as she was and is, she wasn’t crushed by her critics, or lack there of.  She chose to move on to other ventures.

Currently working at a potato farm in Idaho, Britt is satisfied, and we are never hungry.  So, I guess you could say she did make it off Broadway.

 

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Game One: Brats and Onions

Unable to attend game one of the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros,  I celebrated it with my wife with grilled onions and brats.

Two of my best friends, Mark and Trevor St. Johnsonville Brats were in attendance.

 

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Game Three

My wife, brothers, and friends are watching the World Series tonight, and it doesn’t matter who wins or loses.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m rooting for a team, but the fun of the atmosphere may provide pleasure for those suffering in our country no matter the outcome.

 

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Turn on the Lights

Light poles weren’t easy to come around in Spokane, Washington in the ninety seventies.  They weren’t even easy to hide behind on a night when lights were required.

My late brother, Steve, although mostly revered for his wrestling talents, was also just as talented on the baseball diamond.  Too young to witness him playing, I can only recount some of his past through friends’ voices and my siblings’ memories.

While being recruited by college baseball coaches, Steve forbid our father from coming to any of his games.  Our father was not one who said anything during the game.  He would, however, discuss your batting average after the game.

Steve believed if our father was at the game, his batting average would drop dramatically.  Since he believed it, Steve was correct. He didn’t perform well when our father was watching.  Therefore, Steve asked dad to stop coming to all of his games.  Dad loved baseball and didn’t respect his son’s wishes.

One evening, after going to confession, my father thought it would’t be a terrible sin to show up to his games if he used camouflage.  It was the light pole which almost provided it.

Steve was playing centerfield, and our father was hiding behind the light pole directly behind him.  Steve sniffed him out and called him out.  “Dad! I know you’re hiding behind the pole!”

Dad found somewhere else to hide, Steve quit playing baseball after high school, and went on to win a National Collegiate Wrestling Championship .

Dad knew nothing about wrestling, but I know he was proud.

 

 

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Rulers and J.D.

What seems to be a million years ago, I was a teacher of sorts.  When Autumn comes, someone can either rise or fall.  One of the most brilliant students, sadly, was not in my classroom.  I taught English, and my next door teaching neighbor was an art instructor.  Requiring rulers was my neighbor’s first and second mistake.

One of his students enjoyed art, manual labor, and breaking things.  He also was from a broken home, and he placed his anger on rulers.

On a teaching budget, rulers can be a bit costly.  Each ruler costs a buck.  Ninety students times one buck….ninety bucks. That’s simple math.  Complicated math manifests when one student begins breaking half of the rulers.  Ninety divided by two is forty five.  He was on pace to break a record by the second week of school.  Sort of the Roger Maris of breaking rulers instead of home runs.

Our art teacher provided this student an ultimatum.  For every ruler you break, you owe me a dollar.  The student then busted out his wallet filled with at least fifty one dollar bills.  He then snapped a ruler in half and tossed his teacher a buck.

Turns out, this twelve year old was working part time at a gas station to help his alcoholic parents pay some bills.

Another teacher of his called me for assistance in her classroom one day.  The same student had a fifth of Jack Daniels on his desk during math class.  She didn’t know how to deal with it, so, as a part time drinker, I was intrigued.  Upon showing up to help this fellow employer out, I smelled the bottle, and it was filled with apple juice.  He said it was the only empty bottle he could find in the house which could contain the apple juice he made for himself that morning.  Although feeling sorrow for the student, I did inform him even bringing a bottle of Jack Daniels filled with apple juice could get him suspended.  He didn’t care, because he was making more money working at a gas station than he was at school.  I had to laugh, because he was a really affable fellow.  I then confiscated the bottle, saving him from a suspension and bought him a plastic bottle of apple juice from the school’s vending machine.  He was very thankful for the offering.  I was upset his bottle of Jack Daniels wasn’t filled with Jack Daniels.  It would have saved us both some cash.

As long as he’s only drinking apple juice, he’s probably a millionaire by now.

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Sorry, Golf.

Golf season is always over for me, but post season baseball is starting soon. The NFL and college football is also beginning, but I would like to provide a sweet conclusion to golf.

Admitting that I am a less than average golfer is a selfishly phony compliment for myself.  Most of my clubs end up in trees or water.  Some people say I’m impatient.  Others think I should’t be allowed to play publicly.

I wouldn’t say I’m abjectly terrible, but I’ve lost to groups of people over the age of eighty and younger than six who can’t keep score. That’s my excuse.

Golf has left me with one lasting memory when I knew I could never compete with AARP members or children.  It was one of my favorite memories of golf.

While attempting to golf alone, only out of embarrassment, I was, fortunately, joined with a duo I had never met.  One was probably eighty six years old, and his granddaughter was probably five.

The granddaughter was equally as bad at driving their golf cart as I was at playing the game.  The grandfather, insanely, allowing his granddaughter to drive the cart, was just as abysmal as me on the course.  So, I knew we’d enjoy ourselves as equals.

After twenty or so strokes, the grandfather would finally land his ball on the green.  At that point, he was too tired to putt, so he allowed his granddaughter to putt for him.  She was happy to accommodate him, but she also felt sorry for the ball.  After each of her thirteen putts on the green, she would, with great sincerity, say, “Sorry ball.”

It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen on a golf course.

That’s a pretty sweet conclusion.

 

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