January 25, 2013

Stan Musial and Me…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:00 pm

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Come to us in our youth, when our hearts were sick with
hopelessness…and our heads bowed down with nameless shame.

—Thomas Wolfe
_______________

Stan Musial died last Saturday. Which in and of itself is hardly the stuff I usually note on my blog. Some of you might well think, what’s that got to do with anything? And some of you might go, yep, he died last Saturday. A legend in baseball lore, almost a god to Cardinals fans.

He meant nothing to me, growing up. A name I vaguely associated with baseball, from my random reading of the World Book Encyclopedia. In school, I always rushed through my work, and then spent hours gulping great chunks of knowledge from the World Book. Much to my teachers’ chagrin. They scolded me, now and then. With a little effort, you could easily work that B up to an A. Their scolding did little good, because I didn’t listen. Bs were fine. I wanted to read. And that’s where I first heard of Stan Musial, not that it gave me any real concept of who he was. When you’re a little Amish kid, reading a biographical sketch from the pages of an encyclopedia, there’s no way you will grasp who the person really was. You’ll know he was, but not who he was.

When I saw he had died, my first inclination back then would have been, what’s that got to do with anything? But today, from where I am, and knowing what I know, it was a big deal. History. Passing on. In this country. Passing on, from what America once was to what it is and will be. Stan Musial is a connection, from way back in my father’s youth. Daviess people are among the country’s most rabid Cardinals fans. So Dad would have known of him when Stan the Man was playing, had he ever bothered with such things. Which he might or might not have. I wouldn’t know, either way. Because he never would have told me.

To me, the name evokes a small flood of memories. I hadn’t thought of him in years. But when I saw he had died, on Drudge, something stirred inside me. Something that happened one day, way back when.

It was so long ago. And I went back in my head and recalled the surroundings. And in those surroundings, a man standing there. A young man, sure. But still, a man. And that man was dressed in Amish barn door denim pants, a plain shirt and galluses, and a raggedy but clean homemade coat. No hat, though. It was winter. The man wore a stocking cap instead.

Near as I can recall, it was back somewhere close to the mid 1980s, after I’d joined the church and was dating Sarah. My spirit was stirring from restlessness to growing hopelessness, I can say that. Because that’s how it was back in those days, in those times. I was traveling on the Greyhound, returning home from some trip to somewhere. I don’t remember which particular journey. Maybe it was from Texas. I had a friend down there, and traveled by bus to see him. I don’t know where I was coming from. Could have been from Daviess, too. It was early evening, probably around 7 o’clock. The bus pulled into the station in St. Louis. It was dark outside. I had a layover, a couple of hours to kill. And I was hungry. So I decided to venture out and find something to eat that was better than the prepackaged junk they sold at the bus station.

I stuffed my bags into a locker, paid the quarter and pocketed the key. Then wandered out into the city streets, a babe in the woods, really. Surely there must be a restaurant somewhere close. I remember nothing of the scenery or the streets. Just that after a while, I saw the large neon sign ahead. Stan Musial’s. The baseball guy, I remember thinking. He must have opened a restaurant. It looked like a fine place. A little glitzy, maybe. I’d check it out, I figured. So I boldly walked up to the heavy front door, pulled it open, and walked right in.

I didn’t know anything about such places. Fancy restaurants. From the sign outside, they had food. And I was hungry. So why not? That’s all I had in mind. To eat.

There was a little foyer, and a stately if somewhat buxom matron stood guard there. The Maitre de, although I wouldn’t have known that title back then. An elderly lady, impeccably dressed. She looked at me, plainly startled. And as I walked up to her, her startled expression turned to one of pure disdain. I saw it happen. How her face changed. Her right hand went up and shifted her glasses. Refocusing, she was. And regrouping, in her head. Her chin lifted. She peered down her nose at me. And then she spoke.

“What may I do for you?” She asked icily.

Completely oblivious, I stood there, smiling shyly at her. I’d like to get a meal, buy some food, I said. I just walked over from the bus station. I’m hungry.

She lifted her nose another inch. Readjusted her glasses again. Up and down, she slowly scanned me. Looking back now, I don’t know why she didn’t just tell me I needed a reservation. But she didn’t. Maybe she felt sorry for me. If she did, I sure didn’t sense it in her at the moment. She stood there, solid and unmoving, pretty much glaring at me. And I stood there, smiling back at her. Also unmoving. I didn’t know it, but she was trying to glare me right back out the door.

We stood there for a moment, facing off. I wasn’t going anywhere. She blinked first. And turned into the dining room. “Follow me,” she said curtly. So I did, all the while gazing about in wonder. This is one fancy place, I thought to myself.

And we walked into the dining room. It was a week night, but the place was pretty well packed out. Little tables. All kinds of worldly people sitting there. Painted, glittering ladies in fancy dresses. Men in suits and ties. Sitting at their tables, all comfortable, drinking wine from goblets. I had never seen that before, in any restaurant. People sipping wine like that with their meals. And we walked right among them, past them. I can’t recall that they stared at me, as we walked through the room. Some of them, I’m sure, cast curious glances. I looked around for an empty table. Yep, there were a few small ones. Maybe the matron would seat me at a table by the wall. I like tables by the wall. You can lean back into the wall and relax.

But no. The buxom matron strode purposefully right through the crowd of high-rolling diners. Approached the back wall, and tugged open a large door to another room. What’s this? More diners back there? Man, this place was hopping. She opened the large door and walked through. I followed her.

It was a big room. A very nice glittering room. With lots and lots of dining tables, perfectly set and ready for diners. But otherwise, it was entirely empty. Not a soul in it, except the matron and me. She set the menu on a table by the wall just inside the door. A wall table. At least she got that much right. “You may be seated,” she sniffed. “A server will be right with you.” And then she turned and walked out and shut the door behind her. I was all alone in a large beautiful room with lots of empty tables. Alone, separated from the “real” people out there.

Coming from the Amish, I guess you get used to being stared at. Get used to being treated a little differently. That’s all I can come up with. Except you never do, quite, which is why I remember the scene so vividly. But still, I was just too naïve to get offended. I was here to eat, not worry about a bunch of stodgy stiffs who thought they were better than me. I settled into my chair and quickly scanned the menu. And sure enough, minutes later, a young waiter edged his way through the large heavy door. Walked up to my table. Stood there, smiling. If he was disdainful, he sure hid it a lot better than did the buxom matron.

I don’t remember what I ordered. I probably just pointed to the cheapest item on the menu. The waiter popped back out. And returned a short time later with my plate of food. I settled in, completely alone in the back room of Stan Musial’s restaurant, and dug in. The food was delicious. I relished every bite. The young waiter, bless his heart, stopped by to check a time or two. Politely asked how everything was. It’s good, I told him. I finished the food. And soon it was time to return to the bus station.

I’d been around a bit in my life, and was very proud of the fact that I knew enough to tip the waiter. (Amish are notorious non-tippers.) I rummaged around in my pockets and extracted a handful of change. I carefully made two little stacks of ten dimes each. Two bucks. The guy probably figured he wasn’t getting a tip at all. Well, I’d show him.

I paid the waiter for my meal, or I think that’s how it went. Many of the specific details of that night are pretty sketchy in my memory. Except those few of how I was treated and where I was seated. As I approached her on the way out, the matron busied herself doing something, anything, so she wouldn’t have to speak to me. I walked out the door and into the night, back to the bus station.

I don’t know that I ever told anyone what happened. I probably did. The story was just too good to keep to myself. But it was not until years later that I thought back to that incident and actually absorbed the heavy rush of the embarrassment and shame of it all. When I really grasped what had happened that night. How I’d been sliced and diced and dissed and never really knew any better. I mean, what a country bumpkin.

Looking back now, I have a hard time feeling miffed at the buxom matron. She was just doing her job. Giving her customers a pleasant uninterrupted dining experience. Never in her wildest imaginings, I’m sure, could she have envisioned a young Amish guy strolling through the door and asking for a table. A guy not in suit and tie, but in rough homemade denim clothes. I actually credit her for not quietly turning me away. She could have, I’m sure. Somehow. She could have claimed I needed a reservation. Or demanded that I wear a tie. No one would ever have known. But she didn’t.

It was the market. Or maybe that night it was her heart. Maybe she broke the rules, to let me in. Maybe that’s why she seated me where she did. Whatever the case, she decided to admit me. Feed me and take my money. On certain terms, of course. I accepted those terms. And I got fed. In a back room, all by myself, sure. But I got fed. Which was really what I’d come for.

Today I look back, and it’s all just a hilarious little tale I can write. And it’s a tiny little connection to the great Stan Musial himself. I’m proud I ate at his restaurant as a young Amish man. I’m proud to have been in his establishment on that long-ago night. The chances are pretty remote, but maybe he was there, too.

I like to think he might have been.
*************************************

People have asked me here and there. Is it hard for you to attend a wedding? I’ve always thought that a strange question. Why would it be? Well, you know, they say. Because of what happened with you and Ellen.

And I tell them. Nope. What happened back then is back there. Has nothing to do with me having issues with attending a wedding. Not saying I won’t grump a bit, if the preacher drones on too long. But I was that way before.

Last Saturday, I attended a very special wedding. My friend Paul Zook married his lovely fiancé, Rhoda Snader. Many of you who’ve read my older blogs know of Paul’s journey. How Anne Marie, his first wife, passed away in 2011 after a four-year battle with cancerous brain tumors. How they quietly stood by me, Paul and Anne Marie, way back in those heavy days when I desperately needed support. And how I hung in there with them, all through that long hopeless fight they faced together.

I remember last year, around spring time, I think it was, when Paul told me he’s thinking of asking Rhoda out. He knew her well, because as I had been Paul’s close friend through the years, Rhoda had been Anne Marie’s. She was right there beside her, all the way through Anne Marie’s brutal journey. The two of them had even lived together in the same house with another girl, years back. So Rhoda knew the family. Knew them well. Cody and Adrianna grew up with her around. I thought, wow, that would be too cool, if this could work out. But no one knew whether or not it would until the man made his move.

He told me about it the next time I saw him. How he’d called her. She was plenty startled, he said. Would she go out with him? Sure, but just as friends, Rhoda answered, after collecting herself. At that point, I give Paul a lot of credit. Had I been in his place, I definitely would have recoiled a bit. Friends? What do you mean, friends? See you later, woman. But he agreed cheerfully. So he picked her up one night, and out they went. As friends. I was extremely curious the next time I stopped by. How did it go? What happened?

Paul beamed. “We had a great time. We’re texting each other,” he told me. Oh, yes. Texting. And right then, I figured it was a go. It was.

Sure, there were things to work out. Of course there were. Rhoda was a single professional lady who a few years ago had her dream house built. She was happy and content with her life. And yet, here was Paul, asking her into his life with his children. Cody and Adrianna. Both of whom she knew from the day they were born.

I remember that first time Rhoda showed up on a Sunday night when I stopped by to hang out at Paul’s house. She was part of the group now. Of course, I knew her well, too, because of her friendship with Anne Marie. She welcomed me. And I gave her a big hug. And that night, for the first time in more than four years, I saw my friend Paul smile and smile and smile. From deep inside, from his heart. A real smile of real joy.

After a long brutal slog through some rough terrain, now came the dawn of a new day.

We, all their friends, stood by and cheered for them as the relationship moved along from one stage to the next. I kept griping at them, early on. Come on. Let me post the news on Facebook. They held me off for a few weeks. But after a while, Rhoda relented, and I posted. Things moved right along, and a few months ago, Paul popped the question. Rhoda said yes. And we all cheered some more.

And I tried to stay out of the way a bit, to let the new “family” get to know itself. Look, I told Paul. You don’t have to invite me over every week, every Sunday. There was a time when you needed that. You don’t, anymore. Don’t feel obligated. Sure, I’ll come, when it works out. But I don’t want to intrude. Paul smiled kindly, but didn’t budge. If they were home for Sunday lunch or dinner, I got a text that morning. Come on over. And I went.

The wedding was last Saturday, in a beautiful old church in Ephrata. A large crowd was invited, 260 people. They all attended. Anne Marie’s parents and many of her brothers came as well, from their homes out west. Paul asked his childhood friend Benji Smoker and me to be his groomsmen. Benji was the best man. I was very content to be second best. Both of us were groomsmen in his first wedding. At the rehearsal, we kidded Paul. This is the second time. It had better be the last.

The ceremony was beautiful, short and sweet. It would have been beautiful, had it lasted far longer. But the preacher was a good man, and moved things right along. Paul stood up front, flanked on his left by Benji and me. Cody and Adrianna stood there with him. A beaming and beautiful Rhoda walked down the aisle in her wedding gown, accompanied by her older brother, Ray, who gave her away for the family. They exchanged vows. And then Rhoda sat on a little chair and read a letter to Cody and Adrianna. Thanking them for accepting her. Honoring and acknowledging their mother, Anne Marie. Benji and I were forewarned from the rehearsal, so we stood there, hands folded, stoically witnessing this moving scene. A great many of the guests broke down in tears, bittersweet tears of sorrow and great joy.

After the reception and a sumptuous meal in a banquet room at Shady Maple, the newlyweds took off on their honeymoon. After they return, they will settle in the new place Paul bought a few miles from his old home. A new home, for a new family. I couldn’t be happier for all of them. May the Lord shower them with blessings more abundant than they could possibly imagine.

And how about that Super Bowl coming right up? It’s pretty wild, that the Harbaugh brothers made it. And now one of them will come out on top. I wonder how their next family gathering will be, after that. Probably a little strained, I would think.

It should be a great game. I have no dog in this hunt, and actually like the 49ers a little better. But I’m cheering for the Ravens for a couple of reasons. The biggest one is that they knocked out the vile Belichick and his evil Patriots. It was a beautiful thing to see. Brady sitting on the field, knocked around, intercepted, beaten down into the dirt. The Patriots have been too arrogant for too long, and it was sweet to see them get whacked right out of the playoffs on their vaunted home field.

The second reason I’m cheering for the Ravens is because of one man. Ray Lewis. Whatever you think of the guy, he’s been a true warrior at the highest level for seventeen years. I’d love to see him go out in a final blaze of glory. Yeah, yeah, I know. I used to call him a thug, too. Back in the day. He pled guilty to obstruction of justice in a murder case. Whatever. But as I’ve said before, my heart is always with the accused, when it comes to the law. Because all you ever hear is the prosecution’s side of the story. The accused never has a voice.

And just exactly what does that mean anyway, obstruction of justice? Sounds like a charge that can easily be trumped up against just about anyone in any situation. And most prosecutors (especially at the federal level, but at the state level, too) don’t give a hoot about actual guilt or innocence. All they care about is convicting as many people as possible to further their own political careers. Or worse, just to flex their power arbitrarily. Doesn’t matter a lick to them how many innocent lives get uprooted and smashed in the process. And Ray Lewis would have been one big fine feather in their caps. He beat them on the more serious charges, though. And I like that a lot.

You might want to go off on me about the “facts” you know about the case. Just remember where those “facts” came from. The media, fed by the prosecution. Be indignant all you want. Just spare me the sermon.

Back to the Harbaughs. Those guys are real coaches. I’ve come to realize more and more how critical it is for a team to have a real coach. A lesson the Jets still need to learn. The NFL has only a handful of those. Guys whose players would go jump off a bridge for them. The guys who get so intense on the sidelines they look half crazy. Shawn Peyton has that insane look in his eyes. And a few others, like the Harbaugh brothers. Guys like John Fox of Denver and Mike Smith of Atlanta don’t. That’s why they’ll be sitting at home, watching the game like the rest of us.

Anyway, it should be a great game. Hard hitting. Great passing. And maybe some great runs and stops. The old guys against the young guys. With two intense brothers on opposite sidelines, screaming at the refs throughout.

I figure it will be close. And I can’t wait. Ravens by a field goal.

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(21 Comments) »

  1. Nice story Ira!

    Comment by Ryan Mercer — January 25, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

  2. Resturaunt story reminds me when I was about 27, I was driving truck and my rig broke down in New York City, the cab driver that picked me up to take me to a motel was a nice guy and more than glad to help a Lancaster County plugger out. For what ever reason I told him how much money I had to get a motel, and he knew just the place for me. On the way we stopped at this fancy restaurant and I went along in with him, and was stopped at the door and was not allowed in due to the way I was dressed. Well, we left there and he took me to my motel. He was nice enough to leave enough money left to pay for the room. If my memory serves me right I paid a 200.00-dollar cab fare that nite.

    Like always Ira, your writings are interesting. Take Care.

    Comment by Warren — January 25, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

  3. I can’t talk sports so I’ll talk about the wedding. When I go to a wedding I am so happy for the couple that is getting married. That is all the wedding is supposed to be about and I cannot understand people who go and feel sad that they are not the ones getting married because it is not about them. Also, Shady Mapel is a beautiful place to have a wedding and their food is good. I love emotional weddings. When my son got married and my husband was best man and had to read a piece, my husbands brothers were in the back making money bets when he would start to cry. I don’t know who won, but my husband barely made it through and broke down at the end.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — January 25, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

  4. Baseball, football, and a wedding. Not three things one would automatically think to use in writing but it worked for you :).
    Baseball…I love baseball. Isn’t it about time for pitchers and catchers to report? And, yes, I too, think Stan was there that long ago night. :)
    Football…Glad the Ravens knocked out the Patriots (woohoo!) but not many true-blooded Northeast Ohioans will be cheering for the Ravens, (though considering that they were once the Browns, perhaps we should(shudder)pretty sure I have a brother who would disown me if I was rooting for the Ravens ;)haha) Go Niners!! Either way, great food and great friends will be just as much fun as the game!!
    Congratulations to your friend and his bride!! New beginnings…completely and utterly scary and frightening at first and but so incredibly rewarding if we have the guts to do it. Its a matter of fear or courage. Exciting to see Courage win one, even if it was ‘just as friends’ at first ;)

    Oh, and I totally get the rushing through school work to read…I used to use all my study halls to read whatever book I was reading and take my homework home with me. Cause I knew I’d be given time to complete that at home…reading for an hour after school…not so much ;)

    Have a wonderful weekend!!
    ps<sent you a FB request

    Comment by Eileen — January 25, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  5. Ira, Stan Musial was not in the restaurant that night. If he would have been there, you would not have been seated in the back room.

    Comment by John Schmid — January 25, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

  6. Best column yet. Except the part about the Ravens. Go 49’ers!

    Comment by Debra Vida — January 25, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

  7. You are such a great writer. Even your sad stories are brilliantly told. What a gift you have.

    Comment by pizzalady — January 26, 2013 @ 12:36 am

  8. I don’t know how you do it, but all your writings are so interesting. You give me a word picture and my mind sees it in the writing. As always, it was a good read.
    God Bless.

    Comment by Linda Morris — January 26, 2013 @ 1:39 am

  9. I know I can’t change a closed mind, but, as the daughter of a lawyer, I have to take exception to your blanket condemnation of the law and lawyers. My dad was once a District Attorney, the youngest ever elected in our county up to that time. After that, he had a private practice. He defended people wrongly accused, took the cases of the poor. Sometimes he didn’t get paid. If he knew the person couldn’t pay, he’d never sic a bill collector on them. Not that he was a saint, but he was a decent man. When he died, people from all walks of life, including some with mud on their boots, came to the funeral home.

    Comment by cynthia r chase — January 26, 2013 @ 9:41 am

  10. To writer #9, you do know that Ira is a lawyer don’t you? To Ira, another great read. I’m going to be pulling for the 49ers!
    LLJ

    Comment by LLJ — January 26, 2013 @ 9:58 am

  11. No, I didn’t. Golly gee. Guess I’ve burned my bridges.

    Ira’s response: No bridges burned, unless you insist. I detest the state, and those who enforce its edicts, mostly. I have the highest respect for lawyers who defend their clients against the tyranny of the state.

    Comment by cynthia r chase — January 26, 2013 @ 10:23 am

  12. The bridge stands unburnt. No way am I going to miss a good read. Anyone with Amish ancestry has plenty of reasons to mistrust the state.

    Comment by cynthia r chase — January 26, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  13. Ira, I grew up with the Steel Curtain and the 70’s Steelers. My father was a Brown’s fan (Erie was about 40% Steelers, 40% Browns and 20% Bills), but I saw them as on the same level as Dallas and the evil Raiders, enemies at the gates. Those Browns are now Ravens. So, 49er’s by a touch down.

    Comment by Mark Hersch — January 26, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

  14. I’m so glad for Paul, and for Rhoda, and of course for the children (although I never got to know them).

    The Bible is with you about Statism. From Babel, through Babylon, to Rome/Caesar and the Beast of Revelation, centralized power is always condemned. The prophetic vision is decentralization, allowed by personal virtue: “every man under his vine and his fig tree with no one to make them afraid.” I love the line of the hymn, “confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”

    Prejudice. Here in Mexico, the indigenous people we work with are seen as dirty, backward, etc., to the point that they see themselves that way. Talk about underdogs. These are intelligent, hard-working, oppressed people. That same Bible is what can lift them up, as they read/hear it and believe it, and understand there a God greater than what man and demonic thinking try to impose upon them. In America, it might help us preserve liberty too, if we’d read it and believe (act upon) it. God bless and direct your writing.

    Comment by LeRoy — January 26, 2013 @ 9:17 pm

  15. Reading the account of Paul and Rhoda’s wedding stirred the emotions from deep inside. It’s almost a year that we made that commitment in the second marriage and are blessed to have each other to share life together. I don’t know Paul but have followed their journey as Ann Marie was sick and received her reward. So glad you you were able to share the joy with them and thanks for relating the experience with all of us.

    Comment by Crist — January 26, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

  16. Just an observation from an outsider, living in rural Alberta, where there are no Amish, only a thriving Hutterite colony.

    It appears it’s not possible to make a conflicting comment on this website without some backlash from a loyal follower. I can only conclude that that speaks volumes for Ira’s character, his integrity and the respect he has earned.

    I just recently read Ira’s book and some of his writings here. His raw honesty and emotion has got me hooked. I have to confess I envy those of you who are fortunate enough to be able to call him friend.

    I’m trying to claw and inch my way free of an abusive past. Feeling pretty much worthless, with a haunting emptiness that lives in my soul and follows me everywhere. Death preferable.

    Ira’s painful journey and courage to make a way for himself has awakened some hope and inspired me to continue on the hard path even as the multitude of escape routes are beckoning and would be easier.

    I want to thank you Ira for sharing in your book how God came through for you as you persevered and also for your encouragement to me in an email, where you said, “I want to encourage you to keep seeking God”. That statement echoes in my head, and on really hard days, it helps keep me breathing.

    I purchased some music by Enya and Loreena Mckennitt. Thanks for mentioning their names. I like it too. It seems to take me somewhere else for awhile, a welcome relief from the relentless torment.

    Thank you sir for telling your story, for continuing to write and not abandoning us, and for being you. This world needs more Ira’s.

    Debbie

    Comment by Debbie — January 26, 2013 @ 10:53 pm

  17. Debbie, Pickup Max Lucado’s book “Grace For The Moment”, it has inspirational thoughts for each day of the year. I will keep you in my prayers. GOD Bless you.

    Comment by Warren — January 27, 2013 @ 8:59 am

  18. Thanks Warren for the kind response. I will find the book. Hope your day is good. God Bless you too.

    Comment by Debbie Cornelius — January 27, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

  19. What are you trying to do, break my heart?! “…I stood there, smiling shyly at her.” No feeling woman with a son or little brother could read this and not ache inside. “…she turned and walked out and shut the door behind her.” Ouch! Ouch! Oh, ouch! I’m vacillating between “Poor little puppy.” and “Where is that…snooty, witch woman now? She gonna git it!”

    My husband was a frequent flier of Greyhound buses in his pre-marital years. Several times wanderlust over rode sensibility and his situation was abandoned for the seductive call of the unknown. Searching, searching, searching. On one of his gallivants he met his future wife-me. (Five years later). It wasn’t supposed to have happened. According to the Greyhound ticket seller, he didn’t have enough money to make the pilgrimage to Texas, the land of his birth. He settled for Nashville, Tennessee instead. We met at a church on Music Row.

    I am so happy for Paul and Rhoda and the kiddos. God is so good! Oh, so good. And what a handsome family they make. So very sweet.

    Now! For the bone I have to pick with you, Buster! Ira, really? “See you later” to the woman who would suggest going out as friends? Tisk, tisk and another tisk! …..A story- In my late 20’s, early 30’s I was seeing a counselor to help me recover from, well, the plethora of dysfunctional traits, habits, characteristics, views, yadda, yadda, which I inherited from my beloved family. One of our recurring topics had to do with my insatiable desire to get married and have children. My clock was ticking, as they say, and there were no respectable suitors on the bleak horizon. As he sat there fiddling with his pen, he nonchalantly asked, “Can you think of any good friends that would be suitable?” I could swear I heard the Hallelujah chorus right at that moment as I lifted my tear stained face. “Well…yes. Yes, I can!” And so it goes. The moral of the story- Friends can equal loving relationships and possible wives.

    Now, football, but first a confession. I skimmed over your sports chatter in this writing. I know, burn me at the stake, but there it is. Our dear friends invited us over to their home for the grand festivities. It’ll be your typical Super Bowl party-food, yelling, screaming, the pounding of pillows, small children and pets being thrown across the room by high strung men who mistake them for footballs. I may don my Bears jersey with some guys last name on the back I don’t know from Adam. Is it kosher to wear a jersey from a team that’s not even playing? I know nothing of sports etiquette. I expect I’ll take my “Just In Case” bag, complete with National Geographic and Midwest Living magazines, art supplies, ear plugs, bottled water, and coupons for Hobby Lobby should I need to vacate the premises for a few minutes…or hours. And lastly, two black, cloth blindfolds for my innocent, wee boys who will, without a doubt, be exposed to countless hussies wiggling their wares for all of America to see. Another tisk.

    Love your blog. Have a great day!

    Comment by Francine — January 29, 2013 @ 8:38 am

  20. I agree with John Schmid’s comment about if Stan Musial had been there that night. He is quite the icon around here, I must say. I’ve never been there but all the sports guys have restaurants downtown. That sure says a lot about that women though, yowza. I’m sorry you were treated that way but it sure is a great little story.

    I’m so very happy about Paul and Rhoda’s wedding. I remember you writing when Anne Marie was sick and that was so painful to read just from the outside, so those of you that have been there through all of it got to be there for this as well and it makes me so happy for them.

    Comment by Bethrusso — February 10, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

  21. In the late 1960s, the great Paul Simon asked, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” It was the right metaphor at the right time and he picked the right player to make his point. But no one in St. Louis ever had to wonder where Stan Musial had gone. He was right here. Right here at home. Our greatest ballplayer sure, but also our friend. Our neighbor. And that is why our bond and attachment between this player and this city is unique and lasting. Other great players may have had an aura about them; a mystique that made them seem unapproachable. Not Stan.

    Comment by Maria W. Marquez — February 12, 2013 @ 8:25 am

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