The Thank-You’s Begin

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 Beyonc√©.

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.




6 thoughts on “The Thank-You’s Begin

  1. Douglas your Mom and Dad were very special parents. The art of Cornish Cooking has been lost in Reggie s and my life. Remember Grandma Jose making special pasties for everyone and by George Uncle Paull’s had to always be the biggest. Do you remember eating Cod for breakfast with Grandpa? The thought of it now turns my stomach, but I wanted so much to please you name sake. Happy to read that your cancer is under control. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Thanks, Syd! It’s sad that we cousins went our separate ways. I guess that was to be expected after seeing each other every Sunday at Grandpa’s house for so many years.
      Do you remember the beer commercials during the football games? How about “Mabel! Black Label! Carling Black Label beer!” And: “There’s always room for one more, one more, one more Altis beer!”
      On second thought, maybe you didn’t watch the football games, but the rest of us did. How about the Lions’ fight song: “Forward down the field…..”

      • Doug football has never been one of my favorites but how I remember the basement with the pine walls and the kitchen and all the horse figurines. Grandpa would have at least 3 tvs going on game day. Fond memories. When we buried my mom she was placed beside my father and grandma and grandpa Jose. I always felt cheated that my husband, girls and grandsons never got to know my father. I think his death is when we started to lose contact with the Jose family. So nice talking of old times even if it for you a trying time. Holding you and your family in light and love.

        • Do you remember the ash tray that featured a horse with two butts? It read: “why are there so many more horse’s asses in the world than there are horses?”. I loved that one.

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