Category Archives: Personal

A middle of June mashup

I felt guilty yesterday, and it lightened my wallet a slight bit.

Two ladies who teach at a middle school in Liberty met for drinks. I felt like I was eavesdropping on their conversation. I buried my face in my hands a couple of times.

I thought it was happening again. I had it going through my mind I was “hovering” and making women uncomfortable in a Buffalo Wild Wings.

Very few people have told me outright I’m hovering and making them uncomfortable, but Lord knows how often I’ve thought it.

One of the teachers got there a little after two. She was waiting for her colleague, and ended up waiting more than an hour. She was on her phone quite a bit. We made a little small talk, but once her colleague arrived, I felt uneasy sitting there, despite being engrossed in trivia.

The lovely ladies, Joanne and Heather, told me everything was okay and I wasn’t eavesdropping. Crista has told me more than a few (thousand) times I read too much into situations. I’m sure I’ll tell Crista all about it when I see her on 27 June.

Joanne was the one who arrived early. She asked me if she could help me with anything. Fortunately, she didn’t have to.

I told Tina to put their drinks on my bill. She kept the secret until Heather was ready to pay. Heather was going to pay for a couple of Joanne’s drinks due to being late, but then Tina said their bill had been taken care of.

I shouldn’t be so surprised. There was Kelsey, the young lady in the Army from New Hampshire who stopped in at Zona Rosa on her way to St. Louis in December. I would give anything to hear from her. But I know she’s got much more important things to worry about.

December 27, 2015 still pops into the mind from time to time. It was the infamous Sunday when two strangers began kissing and groping one another while sitting next to me. Luckily Robb and Dawn showed up to provide me company.

Speaking of Zona Rosa, their Buzztime system has been down since Mother’s Day. No sense in going there. Also, most of the employees I knew are gone. Tori, Trey and Morgan are there amongst the veterans, but Liz, Lisa and all the rest are gone.

The atmosphere at Shoal Creek is better. The decor is nice, the lightning isn’t too harsh, and it isn’t as loud as Zona gets. Between all the kids and the hip-hop often blaring from the jukebox, it gets unbearable.

Between Joanne and Heather, Larry, Jeff Lagrande and trivia, yesterday was pretty darn good. I didn’t leave until 2030. I have to leave Kansas City tomorrow before 0730 to make sure I’m back in Russell by 1200. I might have dawdled around town Sunday and then driven home late, but my mother is cooking eggplant parmigana.

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The Raptors won the NBA championship. YUCK. There was a jerk wearing a Kawhi Spurs jersey in Buffalo Wild Wings Thursday, cheering every good thing the Raptors did and every bad thing the Warriors did.

First, I cannot stand Kawhi. Period. I’m not a fan of Gregg Popovich, but Kawhi was totally at fault for the stuff he pulled in San Antonio. Popovich had every right to treat Leonard the way he did, because Kawhi did it to himself. Kawhi wanted out of San Antonio so he could find a coach he could manipulate. Nick Nurse proved to be Kawhi’s stool pigeon.

Second, Drake’s antics have made me hate the Raptors. He has no business anywhere near the benches. If it were up to me, I would ban courtside seats. Yes, they bring in boatloads of money for NBA teams, but is it worth the trouble?

Third, men should never, ever wear sleeveless shirts without an undershirt in public, UNLESS they are working out. And if men are to wear sleveeless shirt while working out, they should have to shave their armpit hair, which is disgusting to begin with.

I’m getting my armpit hair laser removed, along with my chest and back. Body hair grosses me out to no end.

My father has almost no body hair. I wish I were like him, not my grandfather, who has more hair than an ape. Apparently, my sister-in-law loves body hair, because my brother is a gorilla. The only good news in my genes is my hair is light-colored, whereas my brother’s is darker, coarser and harder to remove.

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The 25th reunion of my graduating class at Brother Martin High was last Saturday in New Orleans. I didn’t go, of course, but I did donate $70, the cost of attendance, which I did not do previously.

I am friends with very few high school classmates on social media. On the other hand, I’m not wishing them any ill will, which wasn’t the case for a long time. I held a lot of resentment even after moving to Kansas, which was 12 years after my senior year of high school began. Time has a way of healing wounds. Maybe these have started to heal.

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Geez. A man has walked into Buffalo Wild Wings wearing a cowboy hat. WEARING the cowboy hat.

This is not a rodeo, sir. You should remove that hat.

I am just aggravated by men who cannot remove their hats in a restaurant. I wore hats indoors when I was younger; I stopped after visiting the Louisiana state capitol in 1992 and being politely asked by an usher in the House seating gallery to remove it. I like showing off my short hair anyway.

I made a horrible mistake many years ago of going outside without a hat in Kansas. My head was fried within two hours. I haven’t made that mistake since.

Baseball hats are a nuisance. They do not block anyone’s view. But cowoboy hats? Another story.

The public address announcer at Hill City’s gym wears a giant cowboy hat. Anyone sitting directly behind him who is not more than three rows up will have his or her view blocked.

I don’t see why people in Texas want to spend tens of thousands on a Stetson cowboy hat. Make a down payment on a car.

I used to own a ton of hats. Most of them were flooded by Katrina. The only hats I own now are a few MLB throwbacks and the ones I used to wear when I covered outdoor sporting events.

The last hat I purchased was a White Sox throwback, the one they wore from 1976-81 with the floppy-collared jerseys and navy blue or white pants. I discovered those uniforms watching Johnny Bench’s instructional show, The Baseball Bunch, in the mid-1980s.

Most people hate them, especially Chris Sale, who cut a replica up in 2016 when he was scheduled to pitch wearing them on a Turn Back The Clock night, one incident which prompted his departure from Chicago. I love them. I bought the hat as a protest of Sale’s hacking. I despise the White Sox’ uniforms, which they have worn since 1991. Black is ugly, especially for a team which hardly ever wore black before then. It also is a reminder of the White Sox’ disgusting past, namely the Black Sox.

Right now, I’m the only man not wearing a hat at the bar. One black cap, one Royals batting practice cap, the annoying cowboy hat, and a Diamondbacks batting practice hat. I swear there needs to be a hat rack in every restaurant.

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Gary Woodland, a Topeka native who played at Washburn and KU, is leading the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by two strokes. He and Justin Rose make up today’s last pairing, teeing off at 1645 CT (1445 PT). Woodland has never won a major, while Rose won the U.S. Open in 2013 at Lower Merion near Philadelphia.

It looks like Brooks Koepka’s bid to win his third consecutive U.S. Open has ended. That doesn’t make it any less compelling.

Stealing for stealing’s sake

It’s sickening when possessions are stolen.

Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina has experienced this more than a few times recently.

When I arrived at 1400 today, I noticed nearly all of the tablets used to play Buzztime poker and trivia were gone.

Abby, the bartender whom I had a very pleasant experience with the last time I was here eight days ago, told me most of the tablets have been stolen.

I’m guessing there may have been a few tablets broken by rambunctious children, but none of the tablets were in bad shape when I was here in January.

Why the hell do people want to steal the Buzztime tablets?

If the thieves think they can get a cheap substitute for an iPad or a Microsoft Surface, they’re sadly mistaken.

First, there is no way to download any software to these tablets.

Second, the tablets are completely useless outside the restaurant. They are equipped with anti-theft trackers which will shut the tablet down when they are too far from the location.

Apparently, there are kleptomaniacs out there who get their rocks off by stealing anything, no matter how useless it is to them.

It’s like a man going into Target or Walmart and stealing tampons even if he doesn’t have a wife, daughter or other female relative. Or a woman who steals condoms when she has absolutely no prospects for using them.

Stealing is wrong. Why is it one of the Ten Commandments? But God, why steal things which are useless? I wouldn’t steal, period, but if you’re stealing food, you may have a good reason.

Luckily for me, there was a tablet available, and nobody else was playing trivia or poker. Looks like I’m going to have to have my burner phone which has the Buzztime app handy when I go here.

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I originally planned to go back to Buffalo Wild Wings at Shoal Creek (Liberty) and play until the evening, then drive back to Russell in the dead of night, because I had trouble waking up when I drove home Easter morning. However, as I was walking around two grocery stores, I realized I could drive to Salina and be home a lot earlier after playing there for a few hours.

I skipped all the Lunchtime games, barely making it to my destination before 1400.

Kansas City was very good this time. I got my car washed and the interior cleaned Thursday, but it rained Friday morning, so I asked for a re-wash, since the business guaranteed a clean car for two days. I got the free wash.

I opened Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday, something I haven’t done in ages. I stayed ten hours, the longest I have in a very long time.

The only faux pas was Thursday morning when I woke up at 0350 and left at 0545. I was feeling the effects from the lack of sleep all the way, but I made it in one piece.

The Kentucky Derby is about to start. Omaha Beach, the favorite for a long time, was scratched Wednesday. The three favorites are all trained by Bob Baffert, who is quickly becoming the Nick Saban/Mike Kryzewzski/Bill Belichick of horse racing, as in unbeatable.

Luxury riders

I’m back. Time for that story.

St. Patrick’s Day 1989 was on a Friday. Everyone at Arabi Park Middle School was looking forward to the final bell that day, since it would mean the beginning of one week off, the unofficial spring break, even though it wasn’t called that.

That night would be another of Arabi Park’s dances for the 7th and 8th grade students. Want to talk about awkward? Your intrepid blogger was the poster child for awkwardness. I didn’t have the guts to ask any girl to dance, and I often started crying by the end of the first hour.

Many girls were turned off by that, but I don’t blame them. They were 12 or 13, what were they supposed to do? Fortunately, Rosemarie Renz (now Huguet), who is my longest-standing friend on earth (37 1/2 years), was always nice enough to dance with me once or twice, and eventually, Stacie Dauterive (Seube), the young lady whom I had a crush on at Arabi Park, also danced with me near the end of the night.

Stacie was beautiful then and is now. But she has a wonderful heart. That’s why I really had a crush on her. Her sister, Andree (Addison), has that heart of gold, too.

I can’t say enough great things about Rosemarie. I hurt sometimes that we lost touch after 7th grade when I went to Brother Martin. Part of me wishes I would have stayed at Arabi Park fo the eighth grade and gone to Archbishop Hannah, the Catholic high school in St. Bernard Parish (county) with her.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1989, the APM student council sponsored a raffle. The winner would win a ride to the dance in a limo and would be able to bring five other people with him or her.

Let’s just say I spent as much money on trying to win the raffle as I would buying music credits during a long day at Buffalo Wild Wings. And $20 in 1989 was a lot more than $20 in 2019.

My classmates noticed I was going after the limo ride hard. During an afternoon class, I kidded with Toni LaRocca and Allison Richardson about inviting them to ride if I had won.

My heart weighs very heavy thinking about that right now. Allison Richardson (White) passed away in 2008 from cancer. Toni was extremely close to Allison, as was Stacie and several other girls in my classes at APM, and they are still devastated over a decade later.

If I could press the rewind button, I would certainly have invited Allison and Toni to ride. Rosemarie too.

That last sentence tells you I won the raffle. Shawn O’Neil informed me in the gym during a mini-carnival going on after classes ended.

Shawn never went to dances at Arabi Park. I tried to entice him to come with a spot in the limo, but he wisely said no.

I knew I couldn’t invite Stacie. She was going with Glen Weaver, her boyfriend throughout APM. She met her husband, Jeff, at Andrew Jackson High.

Jason Malasovich was going to ride, of course. It was an all-male crew: Jason, Jared Couture, Brandon Miller, Jack Bastoe, Joe Monaghan, and myself. Jared, Brandon and Jack were in classes with Jason and I, and Joe lived near Jason in another part of Arabi.

We met at Jack’s house since it was the farthest from the school, not too far from the bowling alley in Chalmette. The ride was fun. The dance was a repeat of the past, save for two things.

First, my mother was a chaperone, and Joe danced with her.

Second, I danced with Stacie’s mother, Kathy, who was then a teacher at Carolyn Park Elementary School, about five blocks from my house. She said I should dance with my mother, but I declined.

Confession: if I ever got married, I would be quaking in my boots over dancing with my mother. She is quite aloof and afraid of physical contact. I can name at least 50 people I have hugged more than her in my lifetime. Let’s see: Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda, Liz, Lisa, Dawn…I’ll stop there for now.

The Dauterive family resided on Badger Drive, only 200 feet from St. Robert Belarmine Catholic Church, whose school I attended from kindergarten through fifth grade. After Katrina, Stacie and Jeff moved in with their sons to 905 Badger Drive, while her parents, Rene and Kathy, moved to Baton Rouge.

Rene owned a very successful plumbing company in St. Bernard Parish while I lived there, and he took care of our house at 224 Jaguar Drive. I’ve joked with Stacie and Andree that I want to bring Rene to Russell so he can fix the American Legion post’s plumbing problems for my parents, as well as those at 1224 North Brooks. Fortunately, there is a fine plumber in Russell, Donnie Boxberger, so we’re covered.

Two schools of thought on my fellow limo riders 30 years later. First, the guys were the right choice, because it avoided any awkwardness I would have had with girls. The other is I should have invited at least Rosemarie, because she and I had been friends for so long and she was always so nice. But Jason and I had been friends before APM as well, so he was a great choice.

I attended one more APM dance in late April. My mother did not allow me to go to the one in May, and rightly so, because I failed to turn in an assignment on time. I was very fortunate I was not forced to go to summer school. I could have been failed for not turning it in on time, but I was allowed to turn it in the following Monday for a D. On June 2, 1989, I was jeered out of Arabi Park twice, first at school, then by a passing school bus as I walked back to 224 Jaguar.

I don’t blame any kids who were unhappy that I was going to Brother Martin. I rubbed it in their faces for the last 3 1/2 months of the 1988-89 school year. I thought I was on another plane because I was going to a school in the New Orleans Catholic League and they weren’t. I was not welcome back on campus during 1989-90.

Sadly, Arabi Park closed in the late 1990s when St. Bernard Parish’s school system consolidated some schools. The shell of the old school stood until Katrina wiped it away.

I lost touch with so many until discovering them on Facebook in 2014, 25 years after I left for the school at 4401 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. I saw Jason last August when he was in town with his lovely family. I hope I will see more Epton (before it’s too late in Foots lingo).

After the dance ended, I got home in time to watch the second half of LSU’s NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP. The Bayou Bengals enjoyed a fine season with All-America freshman Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), but the Miners had future NBA standouts Tim Hardaway and Antonio Davis, plus the coaching acumen of the legendary Don Haskins, the same Don Haskins who led an all-black Miner team to victory over Adolph Rupp’s all-white Kentucky team in the 1966 championship game.

Many in Louisiana were salivating at the possibility of LSU playing Indiana and the hated Bobby Knight in the second round, but UTEP won 85-74.

If you’re wondering why LSU was playing so close to midnight Central time, here’s the dish.

Prior to 1991, CBS did not televise every tournament game prior to the Elite Eight. In the first and second rounds, CBS would select the games it wanted to show nationally, then the NCAA would put the other games up for bids. The NCAA produced the games and provided the announcers, and games were either televised by ESPN or a local network. In the Sweet 16, CBS selected two games a night, and the other two that night would be on locally in the areas of the participating teams.

In 1991, CBS took over all games, and contests before the Elite Eight were regionally broadcast. It stayed that way through 2010.

In 2011, CBS split the broadcast rights with TBS, TNT and TruTV, meaning every game would be televised nationally.

I’ve got a sinking feeling LSU will be one-and-done 30 years later, thanks to all the scandal surrounding coach Will Wade, who is suspended and may be fired. The field will be revealed at 1700. Not that I’m going to fill out a bracket.

Enjoy what’s left of your St. Patrick’s Day and weekend.

May the luck of the Irish be with you

Top of the afternoon on St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Yes I am wearing green…want proof? See below.

I have a very good story to tell about a St. Patrick’s Day from many, many, many years ago. Coming in the next post! Stay tuned…

Business at Pump 5!

The wind has been HOWLING across Kansas and neighboring states the last two days. A fierce low pressure system brought a blizzard to Colorado and high winds and rain to Kansas. The barometric pressure in Russell at one point yesterday dropped to 977 millibars (28.77 inches), the lowest ever recorded at the Russell airport. That’s lower than most Category 1 hurricanes.

That pressure is nowhere near as low as it is in the center of tornadoes. I believe the pressure in the center of the EF5 monster which struck Greensburg in 2007 was 840-850 millibars. That’s going to cause a hell of a lot of destruction.

I drove to Kansas City this morning and arrived just after 1000. Right now, it’s 4 Celsius (40 Fahrenheit), but the wind and mist makes it feel much colder than a calm day when it’s minus-15 Celsius (8 F).

I stopped for gas at QuikTrip in Parkville. I pulled up to a pump on the back row, behind a van from A.B. May one of the two major HVAC installers in Kansas City. Ironically, a van from his competition, Bob Hamilton Heating and Plumbing, was at a pump to the left.

I was not happy the A.B. May van was parked in front of a red pump, which is for non-ethanol gas. Not all QuikTrip locations have them, and those that have them have only four pumps at most dedicated to non-ethanol. The ones I have noticed with them are State Line and I-435, Parkville, Riverside, I-435 and Parvin Road, and Blue Springs on Highway 7.

In October, I boiled over when I noticed two cars parked in front of non-ethanol pumps on State Line Road, yet the motorists were using the black pumps for the gas with 10% ethanol.

It happened again today with the van from A.B. May, as well as two other motorists. But the A.B. May van really got under my skin.

After pumping my gas, I pulled up to the parking lot in front of the store. When I got out, I noticed there was a man inside the van. He was texting away.

I went into the store and used the restroom. That took 10 minutes, and the A.B. May van was STILL in front of the pump!

You know how some companies have a number to call on the back of the van to report bad driving? I’m tempted to call that number. I’m also tempted to call A.B. May’s main number.

Look, if you have pressing business to conduct while you’re at a gas station, pull up to the front or side of the store and do it. Don’t block the gas pumps.

If this were a station in a crowded part of a big city, it might be a problem because there might be a line for gas. The old Exxon at Lee Circle in New Orleans comes to mind. That place was ALWAYS busy prior to Katrina.

Fortunately, it was not a busy time and Parkville’s QuikTrip is not in a crowded area. It also has a lot of pumps. One of my favorite stops on the circuit.

Otherwise so far so good in Kansas City. Fourth laser hair treatment on my body went well, checked into the hotel, trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek, where I saw one of my favorite bartenders, Tina, for the first time since December 2017. I’m very happy she recognized me.

Mood-altering Monday

My life is over. I got some horrendous news just before 1700. Horrendous. Will make my life a living hell.

Good night.

The sandman always gets his man

So much for getting to bed at a decent hour.

I got home from Salina last night at 2145–not bad. However, I chose to stay up very, very, very late, not going to bed until 0215 the next morning.

Ouch.

I paid for it by not waking up until 1205 today. I kept dozing off through the afternoon.

Thankfully, there were no games I wanted to see today. Norton plays Royal Valley at 1500 tomorrow in Hutchinson in the first 3A girls semi, with the second at 1830 between Cheney and Nemaha Central. The winners play for the title Saturday at 1600, while the losers play the pointless third place game at 1200.

It’s been a very rough week. Luke Perry succumbed to his massive stroke. Alex Trebek revealed he has incurable pancreatic cancer–stage 4–and may not be with us much longer. Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher who won 300 games, struck out more than 3,000 batters and won 3 Cy Young Awards, revealed he has dementia and will not make any more public appearances, including the 50-year reunion of the 1969 Miracle Mets in June.

Add in a president who is making power grab after power grab after criticizing his predecessor for doing exactly the same and demagogue members of Congress advocating white supremacy, anti-Semitisim and unrealistic ideas America can’t afford and many Americans don’t want, and it’s a wonderful life, right?

A burned out turn signal and a finicky iPad

This trip to Kansas City has been a bust. Huge bust. It isn’t Kansas City’s fault.

I was supposed to get the Buick detailed Saturday. Turns out the place didn’t have enough workers on staff. I rescheduled it for this Thursday, which would be okay, if not for something which happened today.

The left turn signal on the Buick is now burned out. I discovered this coming out of the automatic car wash on Wornall. Now I have to take the car to James Motors Friday and get all of the headlights and tail lights replaced.

I drove from Briarcliff to south Kansas City without my phone. LOVELY. Frank was trying to get a hold of me for an hour, but dumbass me was unreachable because my phone was in the hotel room, and my iPad was in the trunk of the car.

At least the iPad was working. Yesterday at 1500, it shut down all of a sudden for no reason. I had been streaming movies through the iPad to the television in the room, yet all of a sudden, the iPad’s screen went pitch black. This really angered me, especially since I received the iPad only last Wednesday.

I chatted online with Apple support. I was desperate to get an appointment with a technician at one of the two Apple stores in Kansas City. After a long amount of wrangling, I finally received one for 1250 today at the store on the Country Club Plaza. Good I got an appointment. Bad that it was on the Plaza, a place I hate going to due to the crush of people and lack of parking. I have not visited the Plaza in almost a decade, and I have no desire to return any time soon.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go to the Plaza. I searched on Verizon’s site about an iPad where the screen was totally black for no reason. It suggested a quick fix, and sure enough, my device came back to life.

Today, Frank needed something from me ASAP, and while I had my iPad, I did not have the full-sized keyboard I use with it. I left that in my room, too. I tried the best I could with using the on-screen keyboard, but it was painful. I tried dictation, but with people’s names, that’s tough. Somehow, I got through it.

Spent most of yesterday sleeping. Considering I had little sleep the previous week, it was understandable. I have to sleep better.

Ready to go home tomorrow. I thought about going to a basketball game in Norton to see Peggy and Caitlyn, but with the turn signal out, I don’t know. Ugh. My life.

Exploits of a 12-year old

I swear I need to discipline myself to post every day during 2019, no matter how short or how silly it might be. Actually, short posts might be better considering I have the tendency for posts which fall just short of the length of War and Peace.

I didn’t get to Kansas City until 1915 last night. I had to stay behind in Hays due to an eye exam with Dr. Stacey Jones at 1415. It was the last time I’ll visit her at the corner of Canterbury and 22nd in Hays, because in January, she and her husband will open their own ophthalmology/dentistry private practice in downtown Hays across the corner from the Hays public library, Fox Theater and James Motors. I’ve been seeing Dr. Jones since moving to Kansas in 2005, and she has picked up right where my ophthalmologist in Louisiana, Dr. Martin Schoenberger, left off. Both have been great caring for my vision.

I ended up sending out 73 Christmas cards. So, far one has been labeled returned to sender. One person was not happy that I looked up their address and sent a card. Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda and a few others, some of whom were middle school classmates of mine in 1988 and ’89, were much happier. They’ll stay on the list for 2019. The complainer won’t.

Tuesday was the 30th anniversary of my only memorable athletic achievement.

I played youth basketball for the local playground, Carolyn Park, for three years in the 1980s. My last year was in the 1988-89 season, when I played on Carolyn Park’s 11-year old team (I was 12 by time the season started, but since I had an October birthday, I played with the 11-year olds, as did my Arabi Park Middle classmate, Jason Malasovich). The goals were only 8 1/2 feet high, and the free throw lanes were trapezoidal shaped like they were in international basketball at the time, albeit narrower than what was used both internationally and the NBA.

On the afternoon of Dec. 18, 1988, Carolyn Park played Versailles, which was located at the junction of Paris Road and St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, not too far from the ferry landing where the boats which ran between Chalmette and the Algiers section of New Orleans would take on cars.

There were six playgrounds in St. Bernard Parish. Carolyn Park was the farthest west, taking in the community of Arabi, which stretched from the city limits of New Orleans about two miles to the east. Three–Vista, Versailles and Rebel–were in Chalmette, the largest community in St. Bernard. Bournemouth (spelled the same as the city on the south coast of England) was in Meraux and Violet, and then Kenilworth took in the eastern third of the parish.

Carolyn Park didn’t have its own gym, so the game was played at Bournemouth. Four nights earlier, my team played Kenilworth at Bournemouth’s gym, and I had a decent game, scoring six points and blocking a shot from behind. I blocked the shot from 12 feet at its apex and it flew out of bounds. I could hear my mother and brother cheering that one.

Jason was one of three very good players that Carolyn Park team had. The others wer the guards, Chad Nuccio, son of our coach, A.J. Nuccio, and Trey Guillot, who later enjoyed a stellar baseball career at Holy Cross before pitching for Tulane. I wasn’t athletic enough to be a starter, but I came of the bench and did what needed to be done, mostly rebounding, good defense and points here and there.

In the game vs. Versailles, I scored on a pair of jump shots from the foul line in the second period, and it helped Carolyn Park lead 30-15 at halftime.

In the second half, Versailles came back. It had a couple of future high school varsity starters, Brett Tessitore (Archbishop Hannah) and Michael Marques (Brother Martin); Michael was in my graduating class at Brother Martin, and his dad and my dad worked together at Air Products and Chemicals.

Foul trouble nearly crippled Carolyn Park. Five players fouled out, including Chad and Jason. I would have been on the bench the entire second half, but the starter who played my position, Alex Dupre, fouled out with three minutes left. I knew it was his fifth foul, and coach Nuccio sent me into the game.

As the fouls began to pile up, I got so angry I slammed the ball with 90 seconds left. It was right in front of an official. I should have been given a technical foul. He let it go. He must have known I was frustrated.

With 30 seconds left, Carolyn Park was down to four players. Basketball rules allow a team to play with fewer than five if players foul out or are ejected, but you cannot start a game with fewer than five.

I thought I would be gone with another foul, but it turned out I had three. With 12 seconds left, Versailles missed the front end of a one-and-one (the double bonus was not adopted in high school basketball until 1995-96), leaving it ahead 45-44.

Trey pulled down the rebound and sped down the left sideline with a beautiful left-handed dribble. His layup was off the mark.

The rebound came down to the right side of the lane to #14. ME.

From seven feet away, I put an awkward-looking jumper.

It skimmed the backboard and fell through with two seconds left.

Versailles called timeout. I was mobbed by my teammates and coaches. All we had to do was defend and my shot would be the winner.

Versailles threw a long pass which was tipped and bounced harmlessly away. Carolyn Park won 46-45.

Of course, I got a hugely inflated head over the shot. I bragged about it the next two days at Arabi Park. Thankfully for Jason, Shawn O’Neil (who was a damn good player for Vista) and my other classmates, school let out that Tuesday for the holidays.

The shot went to my head. I played like crap the next two games, and my dad suggested after the second, a 19-point loss to Rebel, that I quit because I wasn’t committed.

The Thursday after Christmas, I wasn’t feeling well. I was battling a cold, and I had to wear long sleeves under my jersey. Carolyn Park played Bournemouth all the way at Kenilworth at the other end of the parish.

I was on the bench in the first quarter. In the second quarter, I went off.

Ten points in six minutes. I went to the foul line for the first time that season and swished both shots. I played the entire second half and finished with 14 points in Carolyn Park’s 53-34 victory.

The night before my big game, Shawn O’Neil held his 12th birthday party at Showbiz Pizza in Algiers, across the Mississippi River from St. Bernard Parish. Showbiz was Chuck E. Cheese’s competitor in the 1980s, and both places advertised heavily on the four main New Orleans television stations. Chuck E. Cheese was on the Metairie-Kenner line on Veterans Highway in Jefferson Parish.

Shawn’s dad insisted on taking the ferry to Algiers. I begged him not to. I HATED HTE FERRY. I hated it. I knew all about the infamous incident in 1976 (exactly one week after I was born) when a drunken ferry pilot did not see a huge tanker crossing the river in St. Charles Parish. The boats collided, and all of the cars went into the river. Of the 94 people on board the ferry, 78 perished.

My mother took the ferry often to visit her mother, who lived in Algiers from 1970 until her death in 1992. It made some sense before October 1988, when the second span of the Greater New Orleans Bridge (now the Crescent City Connection) opened. When it was one bridge and there were only two lanes of traffic in each direction, an accident could cause delays of up to six hours in some cases.

I tried to get girls in our class at Arabi Park, especially Stacie Dauterive (now Seube) invitations, but the O’Neils said no way.

Jason and I had to play in a Christmas concert in New Orlean’s’ Jackson Square with the Arabi Park Middle band the day before I hit my game-winning shot. It was chilly and windy. Good preparation for my future life as it turned out.

Shawn, Jason, Stacie and a few others from Arabi Park were on my Christmas card list. I would give anything to see all of them. I’m very happy that rift has been repaired. It was pretty ugly when I left Arabi Park after seventh grade for Brother Martin. I lorded Brother Martin over them much worse than that game-winning shot, and it was little wonder why they were glad to see me continue my education at 4401 Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.

Apparently, forgiveness is a four-letter word to some I’ve known through the years. Sad.

Brewers survive; I must drive

Well,, the Brewers tried to give it away last night. Fortunately, they didn’t, and held on to beat the Dodgers 6-5 in game one of the National League Championship Series.

I listened to the second inning driving from Minsky’s to the hotel. Manny Machado hit a leadoff home run off Gio Gonzalez. I screamed to myself I knew it would happen. Therefore, I chose not to put myself through the ringer and watch the game. The Brewers ended up taking a 5-1 lead in the fourth, and I finally watched a few batters in the seventh.

I went to bed right after that. Luckily I wasn’t awake to see the Dodgers rally.

Game two is at 1500 today. I’ll be out and about so I won’t have to torture myself. Houston and Boston play at 1900 to open the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.

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My day has taken an unexpected turn. Actually, it took the turn last night just before I left Minsky’s.

I looked up the weather and saw the chance of snow in western and central Kansas for Sunday has increased greatly. The timing could not have been worse for a potential late morning return: by 0800 in Hays, 0900 in Russell, and 1100 in Salina. And worse, there is going to be accumulations from 2 to 4 inches in Hays and Russell.

Yikes. And tomorrow is only October 14.

Last October 14, I was running around in shorts with no sweatshirt. I wore a floral print shirt on my birthday, the same one I wore to eat with my dad, Brenda and Dorinda in Baton Rouge exactly six months later.

This October 14, I was going to be wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt to drive home. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be enough. I was hitting myself (mentally only) for not packing my parka.

Now, I’ll be waking up in my own bed Sunday.

I’m driving home right after Ottawa plays volleyball. It’s not a bad drive–US 59 to Lawrence, then Interstate 70 home. US 59 is four lanes and controlled access between Ottawa and Lawrence, and I won’t have to go through the city of Lawrence (especially the KU campus) since K-10 goes around the west side to I-70. It will be about the same time (four hours) as going from Kansas City to Russell.

I drove home from Kansas City in the late, late hours on my 37th birthday (2013) to beat bad weather. I drove from Emporia to Abilene to Russell on my 30th birthday (2006), not getting home until after 11. Therefore, it’s nothing new.

It isn’t the worst thing to be going home early. Probably a good thing. Lots of work to do.

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LSU plays Georgia in a supposedly huge Southeastern Conference game today. I hate to say it, but Georgia is going to run roughshod over the Bayou Bengals in my opinion. I can’t see LSU staying close for long. I like the Bulldogs 37-17. I won’t be watching that, either.

The final hour of my 42nd year is underway. In 45 minutes, year #43 officially starts.