I Did Not Drop Off the Face of the Earth (Yet!)

 I have been remiss about blogging lately.  I apologize.  So much going on including new grandbaby, visitors, fun times and work.   We were in Chicago June 5-7 for Baby Girl’s baptism.  What a wonderful time!

Amen   Baptism with grandparents

Arent I cute Grandpa Baptismday

Dennis’ mom is still at our house.  She came the weekend before we went to Chicago and will go home this weekend.  She flew to Chicago with Dennis for the baptism.  Joe, Mike and I drove Friday and had a very fun road trip to Chicago.  The boys were excited to see their new niece.  They did great with her.

Last night we went to the College World Series.  What a blast!  It’s strange that we had never gone before since we love baseball and we’ve lived in Omaha all these years.  The boys have gone with friends, but Dennis and I had never been.  It was an experience! 

We took the shuttle from the Westroads to Rosenblatt, pretty much a cross-town trip.  It was the best way to go, though, because parking is very difficult.  Rosenblatt is in eastern Omaha, near the zoo, near the river. 

Most of the homes around there are small 100+ years old bungalows.  People in the neighborhoods offer their property for parking at anywhere from $9-20 per car.  I don’t blame them.  They have to put up with all the traffic, people, and noise.  They should be able to profit from it a little!  Cars are parked in the front and back yards 5-10 deep.  The little Catholic Church (St. Anne’s, I believe) also rents its parking lot out to visitors.  I am sure it is a major fundraiser for them each year.  Along 10th Street, in the non-residential blocks, people have large tents set up for beer gardens, souvenier stands, and food stands.  There is a carnival atmosphere as people mill about, looking at all the goods, stopping to relax and have a beer.  Since the CWS is an NCAA event, alcohol is not allowed inside the stadium, but that doesn’t stop people from imbibing in areas surrounding the stadium!  Once on the stadium grounds itself, more booths can be found….ESPN, Coke, various sports companies and areas for the kids with batting cages and games.  ESPN has their cameras everywhere.  The excitiement is palpable as we walk through the area, smelling the roasting hotdogs, Bloomin’ Onions, and funnel cakes.  “Programs!  Programs!” a vendor yells while others collect money for the food people are buying. 

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Road to Omaha,” the landmark bronze statue of the three baseball players greet visitors as they enter the stadium. Joe comments that one of the players is now coach of one of the teams playing tonight.  He used to play college ball for Creighton.

The ticket taker scans the bar code on the tickets as we enter.  A sign reminds us that, if we leave the stadium and want to return, we must have our tickets “descanned.”  The term is a new one for Dennis and I!

We find our seats, Section K, Row Twenty-Seven, Seats 12-15, right above home plate. Great view!  Plus, we are covered in case of rain.  Much better than the seats Joe had in far left field last time he attended with his friend, Katie, and got sunburned in the heat.  Mike couldn’t make it because he had to work, so Katie came with us. 

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Our seats are in the center of the row, so we have to excuse ourselves as we pass by 10-12 people already seated.  An LSU fan, seated at the end of the row, hands us beads as we pass by him!  It feels like Mardi Gras in this section of the stadium.  The LSU fans have beads for all!  A couple sits in front of us, the woman holding a sign that reads “LSU!” on one side in big purple letters and “Blake Dean” on the other side with a picture of bomb like you used to see in old Mad magazines in the “Spy vs Spy” cartoons.  She waves the sign as the team comes out on the field.  I assume she is Blake Dean’s mother.

Lots of laughter and banter fills the stadium as the game begins.  The foul balls come in our direction and are stopped by the huge net that covers the area behing home plate.  A ball girl runs out to catch the ball as it falls from the net.  The crowd cheers as she catches the ball barehanded.  “Brave girl,” I muse. “I think I would use a glove!”  Another foul ball.  This time the ball girl misses it and falls from the net to the ground  The crowd moans, “Ahhhh.”  The ball players probably wonder what all the commotion is coming from the stands! 

After awhile, an LSU player comes up to bat.  The couple in front of us turns and tells us he is a very good player, but he is in a slump.  His last name is Mitchell.  At bat, he hits a single!  The crowd goes wild!  You would think he hit a homerun!  The crowd is on their feet, whooping and hollaring, Louisiana cheers everywhere!  The woman turns to me, very excited.  “It worked!” she says.  “We lifted the curse.”  As the crowd calms down, she tells me how, last night, a group of Louisiana fans met in the parking lot.  In the dark of night, a young college girl dragged a chicken by its legs across the parking lot.  The young girl chanted something as she pulled the chicken.  Arriving at a designated area, the crowd of bead-bedecked LSU fans gathered around the girl and chicken.  The chicken was then held upside down over a tiki of some sort while the crowd chanted something about lifting the curse from Player Mitchell.  Then, they all drank a shot of rum. 

As the woman explained to us what they did, Katie and I both asked, “Where did you get the chicken?”  The woman answered in her Cajun drawl, “WalMart.  It was a three pound three ounce chicken we got.  We decided since Mitchell’s number is Three, we needed a three pound chicken.  AND, it cost $3.00!” she added in triumph, as if another “three” would make the magic work even better!  Katie and I laughed as we realized we both thought it was a live chicken they had!  Sort of a stereotypical moment, I guess! Bayou voodoo and all that.

Mitchell played well the rest of the game, but never made a run.  He got to base, but then the next guys would strike out.  Maybe the fans should have found a live chicken!

At any rate, LSU beat Arkansas 9-1, and we went home, happy, tired and full of memories of a wonderful, strange and exciting College World Series.

I am looking forward to another fun time in Broken Bow, Nebraska, in just a few more weeks.  I hope you all are ready for the reunion.  People on some of the committees are working on last-minute details as are individuals.  A lot of hard work is going into the reunion to make it a success.  You all should have received your invitations by now.  Let me know if you have not.  Thank you to Jerry L, Bill F and Shelley for your work on the invitations.  They looked fantastic!  Great job!  So far over 30 people have responded, most with spouses coming, too, so the count is nearly 60 people.  If you haven’t sent your RSVP in, please do so SOON!

Shelley told me that her husband’s class in Kearney had their reunion last weekend and it was big success.  Here is what she wrote: Dave’s KHS Class of ’69 reunion was last weekend, and it sounds like a fun time was had by all.  You should read some of the posts people wrote after they left–some of them posted prior to returning home.  Two people were there from Boston, and two were there from the Seattle area–so they came from great distances.  Several admitted to crying when it came time to go home, and several others said they kept mentally replaying some of the events, conversations, etc., all the way home–and that they were sorry it had to end so soon.  A few are rallying for a 45 year reunion–but we’ll see.  Seems that the concensus was that most people were surprised by how their classmates had mellowed, and how they had become much kinder and more caring and benevolant than they remembered them to be, 40 years ago.  They participants took up a collection at the bonfire party on Friday night–about 80 people contributed $1,500 to the John Reddy foundation for underprivileged and disadvantaged kids.  Mr. Reddy owned a little grocery store that was close to the junior high and high school, and kids used to swarm the place over lunch hour and after school, and buy cheese slices and candy and Cokes, etc.  Apparently his family wanted to give back to the community so they started the foundation.

They all roasted hot dogs and banana boats at the bonfire party on Friday night, and chatted into the wee hours of the morning.  There was golf tournament on Sat. morning, a buffet lunch at KSC (catered by one of the girls in the class), and a dance in the evening.  Then on Sunday morning one of the gals who has become an Episcopal minister spoke at a church service.  One of the guys, who does handmade flutes, mostly for people who have catastrophic illnesses, played a flute he had made for one of the classmates who passed away due to prostate cancer in January.  At the dance on Sat. night, one of the guys did impromptu karoke, singing “Old Time Rock and Roll”, and Candi Imming (class photographer) got it on video camera and put it on the website.  It’s hilarous.  Most people commented that the entire weekend was perfectly planned and commended the people who were responsible for putting it all together. 
Somebody made a poster or something with school pictures and names of the deceased classmates. It was available for viewing at the bonfire party (as they called it).  The two guys who put on the Friday night/bonfire festivities read the names on the poster, one by one, and people made brief comments or said short prayers, etc. for each of the people listed and then they put the poster in the bonfire.  Sounds ike there were some tears shed over that.
I think the success of the reunion was largely due to the interest generated by everyone’s participation in the website that was created several months prior to the reunion.  Everyone was psyched long before the reunion weekend.  There was taunting regarding who was going to kick whose a@# at the golf game, and dares made as to who would do what, accusations about stupid things people might have done (and probably did do) as teens and pre-teens, etc., pictures of some of the boys playing baseball together, pictures of kids who were confirmed in their church together. Challenges were made as to who would donate the most money to the Reddy fund.  Pictures were posted and viewed and childhood stuff was talked about on the “message forum” prior to the get togethers at the reunion.  People who had never even spoken to one another in school were sending and answering postings to other classmates, either private ones or on the message forum.  All of this served to create (or renew) bonds among many classmates that seemed to be strengthened by the face-to-face meetings at the reunion activities.
I hope our reunion goes as well, and I wish I was able to attend.  Please tell me all about it!  Shelley




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