I didn’t sleep much last night after getting the anonymous comment that many in Wyandotte were praying for me. Holy cow!
Today, I begin my thank-you’s.
Thank you, Mom: For everything; for so many things. Here are some:
Being a loving, protective Mother; our bond was very strong in the pre-school years.
Teaching me to read, and the value of a good education.
Helping me with my homework.
Baking all the delicious goodies.
Learning from Grandma Jose how to bake real Cornish pasties and saffron buns.
Starting-up a Cub Scout Troop, so I could participate in Scouts.
Encouraging me to pursue music; buying me that Baby Gibson guitar – I still have it.
Travelling to Cleveland for a week to type-up my master’s thesis.
Coming to Toulouse, France to take care of baby Brian while Jen was in the hospital with pneumonia.
Taking that spin around the block with me in my first convertible, a Mercury Capri. As you got out, I had the feeling I might never see you again. You died suddenly a week later. I could not find any tears for you then – I don’t know why. I guess maybe I was too accustomed to holding my feelings inside.
Thank you, Eda and Penny: I’ve just come to realize how many one-and-dones there were in my life. Watch for them in my stories. I always felt socially awkward. I’d initiate something, but not have the confidence to follow through.
In sixth grade, I began to notice that there was more to life than baseball and tennis: Girls. I admired Eda because she was the smartest one in the class. But I kept my gaze on Penny, who became the first incarnation of the blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty I wanted to marry some day.
Eda S.: Thanks for being the first girl to take an interest in me; it gave me hope for the future! I was oblivious to your interest until your birthday party, when your Dad offered me a bribe: A transistor radio if I would kiss you! I don’t remember if I kissed you or not, but I went home with the radio! I’d listen late in bed to Gordie Howe leading the Redwings to victory. There were only six teams in the NHL back then.
Penny B.: Thanks giving me that first vision of who I was to eventually marry. Thanks for letting me walk you home that one time (little more than a short block). I was on Cloud 9. Why didn’t I follow up? Too young, too shy.
I was in a tiny mid-semester class of six because I was born in December; we were always in a full class of kids in a different grade. I can’t remember how that ever worked. In Junior-High and High School, that would make it difficult to take the good college-prep courses. So, Mom had a great idea: Why not skip-ahead a half-grade? So that’s what I did. I didn’t see much of Eda or Penny after that. I became the youngest kid in my class; that was not a blessing.
Terry C.: Thanks for introducing me to barbecue-flavored potato chips, and for letting me play on your basketball team! Here’s a memory: Mr. Oshinski seemed to be calling a lot of fouls on us that I didn’t think we deserved, so I said something to him to that effect. He immediately blew his whistle and gave me a Technical Foul! He was a good man.
Don G.: Thanks for being my schoolyard nemesis; every guy should have one of those growing up. You taught me to stand up to bullies (like you). Note: A few years after graduating, we had a reconciliation due to a mutual interest in music. Incredibly, Don somehow married a beautiful, talented singer who worked for a record company in LA! I don’t think it lasted long; LA was not Don’s kind of town. Like Bob Seger said: He knew right then he was too far from home.
Natalie Update: I highly recommend my daughter’s 38-minute video tirade to Beyoncé.
Health Update: I’m having a lot more trouble swallowing. Stuff keeps getting stuck trying to get to my stomach. Other than that, it’s all good. I’m planning to play tennis tonight.