Remembering Ernie

This came up in my Facebook Memories today. I’ve written about Ernie in a past blog, which you can read here:

Today, however, marks the 12th anniversary of his passing. Here is a piece I wrote when the news broke:

So Long, Ernie

All Detroit Tiger fans knew this day was coming. Ernie told us it was coming, when he told us that he had inoperable cancer. And now, the voice that was such a unique part of past summers is silent.

Growing up, I thought I could be a baseball pitcher. When I played catch, I’d have whoever was catching call calls and strikes. I remember a Carlson classmate, Mike, who said in 3rd or 4th grade that he wanted me to be the catcher when he put his team together. I, however, wanted to pitch.

Baseball wasn’t something that I always understood. As a young kid, I remember my dad watching the Tiger game and they would post the stats of the batter on the screen. It would say, “2-3, Single. Homerun.” I’d ask my dad, “How do they know what he is gonna hit!?” I didn’t understand that it meant that those were what the batter had already done at the plate.

Summer – 1984. The Tigers came out of the chute with a ton of wins. First place! They could do no wrong. It was a dream team. Jack Morris, Willie Hernandez, Darrell Evans, Chet Lemon, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson and the rest! Everyone had Tiger fever that summer!

I vividly remember going to my grandparents house and they’d have the radio on in the sunporch. Ernie called the games with Paul Carey. Ernie called a game like no other. It didn’t matter if you were a million miles away, Ernie painted a picture in such detail, that you felt like you were sitting in the ball park. And he had so many great stories to tell! You connected with him!

What Tiger fan didn’t love to hear Ernie say, “Looooooong Gone!?” … or ….”He stood there like the house on the side of the road and watch that one go by….strike three!” … or … “There’s a foul back out of play, and a man from Imlay City will take that one home.” Those were just a few of the famous catchphrases that Ernie used to say. Those phrases were sprinkled throughout many a summer day.

I met Ernie once at Tiger Stadium. He was signing his book. The lines were SO long, and I didn’t get to talk to him long, but he was so gracious. I remember saying what an honor it was to meet someone who spoke so freely about his belief in God, and how his faith in Christ was something he spoke of often. He looked up from signing his book and said, “Amen, brother.” His love for the Lord, his passion for baseball, his kindness, and his zest for life, were all things that were obvious to anyone who ever met him.

When I look back on my life and think of off the great summers growing up, Ernie is there. He might be on the radio at grandma’s or on the radio in someone’s back yard as I walked through the neighborhood. He might be on the car radio as we drove to the store, or maybe on the radio up north at the cabin in Caseville. He was a summer fixture.

Lots will be written about Ernie Harwell over the next few weeks. None of it will be enough. He was a legend. He was a mentor. He was an example. He was a talent. He was one of a kind.

I wrote him a letter once asking for advice. He sent a reply, which I sadly only have in these pictures.

Dear Keith, Thanks for the comments. I appreciate your loyalty. My only advice is work hard and always be yourself. Enclosed is photo. Best Wishe, Ernie Harwell

As I look back on the advice he gave me, one can see he followed his own advice. He “worked hard” and “always was himself.” He will be missed.

12 years later, he still is ….

A Fun and Busy Weekend

To say this weekend was not a hectic one would be a lie. In all honesty, the entire month has been busy for Sam and me. Sam has been running back and forth to various doc appointments and helmet appointments, plus helping her folks out with her sister. Both of us are running on little to no sleep. How we are making in through our nights at work and our days at home, I really have no idea.

Sam was up early on Saturday. I cam home and slept about 3 hours before having to get up and get my son. I picked him up at his mom’s house and then we drove to Sam’s parents’ house. She was there with Ella and Andrew helping out with her sister. I picked up Ella and came back home.

It was beautiful on Saturday! There was a lot of sunshine and it was close to 80 degrees. Ella wanted to play outside, so she ran around the yard playing with her toys as Dimitri and I worked on a couple projects. The biggest project was the swing set that Sam bought for the kids. It took about 3 hours to put together and I was pretty impressed with it.

Back in the day, I remember my dad having to dig or drill holes for the swing set poles to set into. Then he’d have to pour cement in them and it had to dry before we could use it. This set was neat. It had “shoes” that went on the bottom of each leg. There was a stake that you “screwed” into the ground and then you bolted the shoe to the stake. That thing is solid, let me tell you! I was pretty impressed.

Ella loves going to the park and swinging on the swings and Andrew had never been on one. We ordered a toddler swing to go put on it (it came with one) so both kids could swing at the same time. They absolutely loved it!!

The kids got to swing for a bit and then we went in and had dinner. We all went to bed early, because we were all wiped out.

Sam had to work Sunday, so she was up for a bit and then went back to try to get some sleep. So I decided to take the kids for a walk before it rained. Ella wanted to take her baby doll for a walk too. So I loaded up Andrew in the double stroller and she grabbed her baby doll and we walked the neighborhood.

What made me really smile was to see the people who were passing by in cars looking at Ella, waving at her and smiling. It was awesome. She really enjoyed being able to walk her baby. After we got home, we played outside for a while. Andrew was so interested in everything. He loved just playing around on the blanket out on the lawn.

I had planned on Dimitri staying until the evening, but I guess he had some dinner to go to. So Dante’ came to pick him up and take him to the dinner. Dante’ is working a lot and going to college, so it is rare for me to see them both together. Even though it was just for a few minutes, it was nice to have them both there. I had to fight them to get them to pose for a picture!

Dimitri helped me put the swing set together and also helped me take down the remainder of the Christmas lights. Yes, I know, it is almost May! That should tell you just how crazy life has been our way. On the days I wanted to get out and do it, it was either freezing, raining, and most recently – snowing! I’m glad they are finally down!

He also helped me move some furniture around. Andrew is having some separation issues. It has been a challenge to do anything without him attached to us. If we are not in the same room with him, he loses it. He’s never really slept well if it isn’t in our arms or in our bed. So we moved the crib to our bedroom, got him his own sound machine, and hoped that he’d start sleeping in it.

Yep. That’s his crib … at the end of our bed! I’m really hoping that he gets into that crib sooner than later. Sam and I would welcome a night of sleep without getting a helmet to the head or kicks in the stomach.

Finally, some big news that is NOT family related…

As a life long Detroit Tiger Fan, it was very cool to hear that Miguel Cabrera joined an elite club on Saturday. He got his 3000th hit! Miggy has certainly made baseball fun to watch here in Michigan. Now, we just need to get back to the World Series – and win it! Congrats, Miggy!!

Funny Photo Memory

Due to my lack of creativity this week, I have turned to a daily writing prompt to spark a blog idea. The prompt that struck me was this:

Find a picture that brings back a funny memory just by looking at it. Tell us about it.

I have no shortage of pictures I can chose from, but as I was searching through some older photos I found the one that made me laugh out loud. It is a professional photo of my first born son.

He is 3 months old in this picture. He is my first child and because he was a boy, we had many “sporty” type outfits that we bought or that were given to us. I love the fact that the Detroit Tigers hat matched this outfit. I believe the bat came from a game that I attended before he was born. As you can see, the props make the a cute picture, even cuter!

So what is so funny about this very cute picture? Well, it isn’t really what you can see in it, it is what happened at the shoot itself.

He is going to be 20 years old next month, so I cannot remember if the incident happened before the pictures were taken or after. I want to say afterward, because there is a picture of him in this same outfit on his belly, and I highly doubt we would have gotten that picture afterward.

We had the pictures taken at a professional studio. It may have been Sears, I don’t remember. At any rate, because he couldn’t sit up yet, they threw one of those things under the rug to help prop him up. If my memory serves me correctly, it was after this picture was taken that we heard him “explode.”

The day this picture was taken was the day of his first diaper blowout! I remember picking him up and there was poop all up his back. Wow, it was terrible. It was soaking through the back of this baseball uniform and I remember that it smelled awful. I don’t recall if we brought an outfit change that day. I remember being excited to have the pictures done in that outfit.

Every time I see this picture, as cute and as innocent as my son looks in it, all I can think of is that diaper blowout!

I Wanna Be Like Bandit!

I realize that the title of this blog (and the picture above) may be misleading, because it is not about Burt Reynolds. In my defense, they say that having a good blog title will make people want to read it – and here you are! So just what is this blog about? A cartoon role model.

Never Heard of It

The age difference between my oldest boy and my daughter is 18 years. The difference between my youngest son and my daughter is 13 years. Kids shows are constantly changing. Sure, some of the same shows my oldest watched were still on when my youngest was born. However, it seems that outside of Sesame Street, there are always new shows on. PBS is barely recognizable now outside of Sesame Street and Curious George (to me anyway).

Let me say before I go on that the TV is usually background noise. I do not plant my daughter in front of it and use it as a babysitter. In fact, the things she likes most are the theme songs. Once they are over, she’s off playing with her toys or bringing me books to read. The only show that she really watches is Bubble Guppies. I think she likes it because of the bright colors and the fact that there is a lot of music in the show.

Bubble Guppies

When Ella gets up in the morning, I usually give her a sippy cup of milk and turn on the TV. Most mornings I turn on Disney Channel. There is a show on there about a family of Australian dogs. It’s called Bluey. I had never heard of this show until recently. If I had to compare it to another show, I would say it is kind of like Peppa Pig, but better. So why I am writing about this silly little cartoon? And who could possibly be a role model on the show??

The Show

The show revolves around the Heeler Family – Dad (Bandit), Mum (Chilli) and the kids (Bingo and Bluey). The show was created by Joe Blumm, who based much of the show on raising his two daughters. He said that many of the story ideas were directly based on watching his daughters play. The program’s scripts show how children can use gameplay to learn lessons and integrate the world of adults into their own; Brumm noticed how his children would recreate interactions such as visits to the doctor, through roleplay. On the show, he wanted to portray the importance of imaginative play. His creative aims were to make children laugh, and show parents what children can learn while engaged in play.

The Role Model

Bluey’s Dad, Bandit, is a true role model for fathers. He is “all-in” as a dad. The reason I chose to write about him was that I noticed just what a fantastic dad he is! He doesn’t have his head in the newspaper, or his phone in his face while his kids are playing – he gets right in there with them. When the kids tell him what character he is – he becomes that character. Maybe he is a baby in the supermarket, or getting a shot at the doctor. Maybe he is a crazy robot or a garden gnome, whatever the role, he embraces it and plays the part like he is working toward an Academy Award!

Through it all, there are lessons to be learned as well. In one episode, Bluey finds a bird that is injured. She tells her dad who, rather than blowing it off or telling her to go talk with mommy, takes the bird to the vet. They wait for news at the vet, and find out that the bird died. He is there for her as she processes the new concept of death. There’s nothing funny about this, and there is no punch line (as you might see in a sitcom with your stereotypical sitcom dad). Bandit is a truly wonderful dad.

One thing parents tend to forget is that your time becomes your kid’s time. What do I mean by that? Simply this – if I want to sit down and watch a Detroit Tigers game on TV and Ella wants to play “Tea Party,” then I need to play with Ella! That’s that! Bandit is that way! If he is in the middle of mowing the grass and Bluey wants to play, the grass can wait! The kids are the priority! They get his full attention!

Looking back, I feel bad. I know there were many times that my boys asked me to do something and I was in the middle of something else. I found myself putting them on “hold.” The problem with that is – they keep growing and growing fast! By putting them on hold, you miss out on bonding and moments you will never get again. That being said, I turn to Bandit as my role model!! Maybe I need to ask myself in those instances “What Would Bandit Do?”

Do yourself a favor, especially if you are a parent – watch the episode of Bluey called “Take Away”. After watching it, you will see how wonderfully this cartoon shows the joys of parenthood and the occasional chaos that goes with it. If you don’t learn something from how Bandit handles the frustrations of the situation from this short cartoon, you missed something!

Almost every TV show today shows the dad as a goofball. Oh sure, they have their “moments” where they have the heart to heart talk with their kids and the lesson is taught, but most of the time TV dad’s are comic relief. Bandit is the dad that most of us dad’s should strive to be like.

Snow-pening Day

Baseball is back! Today was opening day at Comerica Park. Sadly, because I work midnights, I didn’t get to watch the game. The Detroit Tigers hosted the Cleveland Indians and started the season with a win. It’s always exciting when they win on Opening Day. It takes me back to the magical 1984 season, when they started 35-5! My mind always goes back there and the “what ifs” begin. I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t hoping for another trip to the World Series …. AND a World Series WIN.

I plan on watching the replay of the game for sure! There was snow during the game today, and at times you had to wonder how the batters and fielders could see the ball!

Snow didn’t bug Miguel Cabrera (who was back playing first base for the first time in a couple years), as he launched a two run homer in the bottom of the first inning to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Final Score – Tigers 3 Indians 2. Here’s hoping that we have an amazing season!

The Voice of the Turtle

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” – Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Every year, Detroit Tiger Broadcaster (and legend) Ernie Harwell, would open the baseball season by quoting the above passage of Scripture. It was one of those things that Detroit baseball fans looked forward to each year. It was the signal, if you will, that spring was here and it was time for baseball.

Every year, we’d listen to the voices of Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey on WJR. Ernie had been in baseball for a long time and always told so many wonderful stories (many of them appearing the many books that he wrote.). He had an amazing ability to tell a story – and still call the game while doing so.

I may or may not have written about Ernie before, so forgive me if this is repetitive. Ernie was a master. His catchphrases will forever remain etched in my memory. When someone hit a foul ball, he’d say “A (man/woman) from (City in Michigan) will take that one home….” If a player watched a third strike, he’d say “He stood there like the house by the side of the road and watched that one go by!” One cannot even begin to express the excitement when a Tiger hit a home run and Ernie declared that the ball was “Looooooong Gone!”

Ernie & Paul at Tiger Stadium

Ernie passed away in 2010, but left a wonderful legacy here in Michigan. He WAS the voice of the Tigers. He spent 42 of his 55 years broadcasting in Detroit. To honor him, the Detroit Tigers even gave him a jersey …

42 years of Tiger Broadcasts

Ernie did his last broadcast on September 29, 2002. I don’t think that there was NOT a radio tuned in to hear Ernie sign off. As I type this quote, I can still hear it in his voice. I remember tearing up, as did everyone else listening:

“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure. I’m not leaving, folks. I’ll still be with you, living my life in Michigan — my home state — surrounded by family and friends,” he said.

“And rather than goodbye, please allow me to say thank you. Thank you for letting me be part of your family. Thank you for taking me with you to that cottage up north, to the beach, the picnic, your work place and your backyard. Thank you for sneaking your transistor under the pillow as you grew up loving the Tigers. Now, I might have been a small part of your life. But you’ve been a very large part of mine. And it’s my privilege and honor to share with you the greatest game of all.”

Seven years later, he addressed the fans one more time. This time it was a farewell. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer. In his address he said, “In my almost 92 years on this Earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey,” Harwell told fans, “and the blessed part of that journey is that it’s going to end here in the great state of Michigan. I deeply appreciate the people of Michigan. I love their grit. I love the way they face life. I love the family values they have. And you Tiger fans are the greatest fans of all.”

When Comerica Park became the new home of the Detroit Tigers, one of the coolest things to see was the statue of Ernie to honor him and thank him for all his years with the organization.

Ernie and his statue

Ernie was not shy about his faith. Many players recalled that on road trips with the Tigers, he always carried his well-worn Bible with him. Ernie told the Detroit News that he and his wife, Lulu, spent at least an hour a day studying their Bible. It is no surprise that he would chose a verse of Scripture to open the baseball season.

I miss Ernie ….

Friday Fodder

Hello readers. I hope this finds you safe and healthy. This is, yet again, another blog that is full of random thoughts in no particular order.

Baseball

My home team, The Detroit Tigers, have not been much to watch in the past. I guess I was spoiled in that I got to watch the magical year of 1984 and a World Series Crown. Since then, they have struggled. “We are rebuilding” has been what us fans have been told for years! In 2006 we went to the World Series and lost. So, in 30+ years, we really haven’t had much to cheer about.

Despite that fact, I really miss baseball. Today in my Facebook memories, a picture popped up that I posted two years ago. The picture is the view of the baseball diamond that is literally behind our house. “One of the things I love about our house is that I can walk out on the porch and catch a good ball game all spring and summer long,” is the caption. Sigh. Not this year. Even the neighbor kids aren’t out playing ball.

I have mentioned in the past that my favorite Tiger from the 1984 team was Aurelio Lopez. Senor Smoke, they called him. There was something about his pitching style that I liked. As a 14 year old kid, I used to pretend I was him. When I was with my dad, or my buddies from school. We’d pitch to each other calling balls and strikes. When I was alone, I had a square I drew on the side of my house that represented the “strike zone,” I used to throw the ball at. There used to be a square spray painted on the wall of our elementary school, and you could stand in the parking lot and throw tennis balls at it – calling your own strikes.

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I miss hearing baseball on the radio. I miss watching it on TV. There is some talk about teams being allowed to play without people in the stands. While it would certainly be weird to just hear the sound of a ball coming off the bat, I would miss the sound of the crowd cheering for a home run. At this point, however, I would welcome baseball in any form.

The Boys

After my self quarantine of over two weeks, I was able to pick up my sons. They will be staying with me for a little over a week. Despite having seeing them briefly when I took my oldest’s birthday gift to him, and their short visit in my driveway, I felt like I hadn’t seen them at all! Sure, video chats helped, but to actually be with them and give them a hug means so much.

My youngest still has school work that he is doing online and will continue to do through the end of the school year. Because he is a senior, my oldest had the choice of continuing with the final marking period or taking the grades he had when all this Covid stuff came down. He had excellent grades, so he chose the latter and is officially done with school. We’re still waiting to see about graduation and stuff. We haven’t booked a place for his graduation party yet, because we just don’t know when we’ll be able to hold it!

We were able to celebrate my son’s 18th birthday here. We made a cake and sang Happy Birthday. Choices were limited, but we told him he could chose what he wanted for his birthday dinner. He chose pizza (no surprise). It was nice to be able to do that.

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They are always on their devices. They have an Xbox, a Wii U, a Nintendo Switch, and countless games on their cell phones. I am trying to get them away from that stuff, but with the cold weather, it hasn’t been easy. At least today it is supposed to be in the 50’s and we can get outside to play catch or take a walk.

Recently, I taught my youngest how to play chess. It is not my favorite game to play, mainly because I suck at it. I decided that I was going to teach him cribbage. My grandpa taught me how to play when I was about 9 years old. We played the game open handed (where you could see each other’s cards) and I walked him through things. He beat me, and I am hoping to play a few more games while he is here. I am also hoping to get my oldest to play, too. It is ALWAYS nice to have something to do when there is a power outage, or when you are bored.

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In preparation for the boys, I made sure to put clean sheets on their beds, and straightened up their room. While I was in there, I raised the blind on the window to let the natural light in. We have a huge tree that is outside their window. The birds were driving Maizey crazy flying back and forth. She sat like this meowing and jumping at the window for about 5 hours!

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I remember a time when parents put their kids to bed and then stayed up and watched TV before going to bed themselves. However, it’s been the opposite here. Sam and I are ready for bed by 10 and last night they were still up at 3:30am!!! What is up with that?!?

Layoffs

As stated in previous blogs, I am off work on doctor’s orders. While I am here recovering, I have been lucky enough to spend it with family. I have been praying for my co-workers and others who are still working at the hospital. The labor pools at hospital continued to grow because of ambulatory sites being closed, and those workers being put in the pool. This meant less hours for those working. To make matters worse, this week hospitals in the state announced massive layoffs and cuts. Some positions were completely eliminated!

Many of the layoffs are temporary and employees can take advantage of unemployment benefits (while keeping their health care benefits). If I am being honest, I wish that this had been an option from the beginning for many of us. It would have been much less stressful (and safer) for people. I know I would have opted to just be home with family, instead of having to go through a the mental breakdown I had to be home.

I continue to pray for my friends who are still right there in the thick of things. I continue to pray for the many healthcare workers across the state, and throughout the country, who are doing what they can to save lives – while trying to stay safe themselves. I just want life to be back to normal. I want to go and do the job I was trained to do. I’m just not sure when that will happen and if I can even do that!

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Skinny Me

I was out in the garage this week looking through a few boxes. I was looking for some notes from some classes I took years ago (more on that in an upcoming blog). I stumbled on something that I had totally forgotten about – an old magazine I was in.

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Mobile Beat Magazine is still around and it is mainly for mobile DJs. I used to get it when I was DJing more. It had great ideas regarding set ups, equipment, contracts, etc… It also put out a top 200 list every year of the most requested songs from that past year. I still look at it when I do get out to DJ (which is rarely ever now). This particular issue did a story about mobile DJ’s who were also radio DJ’s. I was interviewed and I was one of those featured in the article. My ugly mug even made it in the magazine!

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It is funny to see this picture.

  • I am about 100 pounds heavier now.
  • The glasses are gone thanks to Lasik surgery.
  • The hair is gone because of …. natural causes.
  • The station is gone, because of typical radio politics.

The shirt I am wearing was given to me by my buddy Tim, who is now working in major market radio on a morning show. He and some buddies (Doug and Phil) used to have this set up in their basement where they “played radio.” In all honesty, the stuff they did was better than the stuff you hear on many radio stations today. They would make tapes and I loved them. They called it “Fake Radio” and had me voice some liners for it. Making those up were a blast. I loved that shirt and was sad when it finally was so tattered that I couldn’t wear it anymore!

Ella

My baby girl continues to be a source of happiness. It is amazing how much she has grown in just 10 weeks. She is “talking” so much! I could listen to “baby babble” all day! I love how she smiles at me when I talk to her. There is NO better feeling. While putting clothes away this week, my wife slipped on the tutu and bow my friend Margaret had sent. She slipped it on over her PJs and it looked great. Looking at her, I can totally see her wearing something like this for dance classes.

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I am so guilty of taking a million pictures of her. I will totally be “THAT” dad who will drive her crazy with my camera! “Dad! Enough with the pictures!” I will sit and go through the pictures and claim a “favorite,” only to go through them another day and claim another as “my favorite!” My latest “favorite” is this one:

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I love this little girl SO much.

I love my children SO much. Blessings – each and every one of them!

Until Next Time …

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Back in Time?

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All writers get writer’s block.  I am hardly a “writer”, but sometimes stare at the blank page and wonder what to write about.  Since I began blogging, I have stumbled on blogs written by others who share some of the same interests as me.  I have followed blogs that feature movies, TV, music, nostalgia, positive thoughts & quotes, and more.  There have been many instances where I read another blog and an idea will pop into my head.  My friend Max and I tend to “borrow” ideas from each other often.

Many ideas I adapt from those blogs.  For this blog I am literally stealing the idea, and giving credit, and creating some rules for it.  The Anxious Teacher wrote a blog after watching Back to the Future III.  You can read it here:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/94480307/posts/2458827458

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What a great idea for a blog!  If you had a time machine – where would you travel?  As I thought about this, I wanted to limit myself to a few things.  First of all, because I have watched the Back to the Future movies, I know that if you go back and change something in the past – it will affect the future.  So Limit #1:  If I go back, I am simply there to observe.  Many of the things I thought I would like to go back and witness happened over a period of time, so Limit #2 – no real time limit.  Limit #3 – wherever I go, I will be dressed appropriately as to not raise suspicion.  I know, it’s silly, but it’s my blog and my rules.

I actually thought about adding what I would call the “Ebenezer Scrooge” element to this.  What is that?  Well, remember when Scrooge was transported into the past, present & future?  He could witness everything, but he could not interact with anyone.  Those events happened and the people were not aware he was even there.  Perhaps that would be the best thing, right?  That way, if I went back in time, I would not be tempted to change things.

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General times and places

As my blogger friend said, I think it would be very cool to visit the old west.  I have watched many westerns on TV and in the movies.  I have read many books set in the old west.  I think it would be pretty cool to walk through one of those western towns.  How cool would it be to visit the saloons, or the general store?  I think it would be cool to don a cool cowboy hat, boots & spurs and ride a horse to get from place to place.

I also think it would be cool to visit the ancient times and watch the building of the pyramids, or buildings like the coliseum.  Those historic buildings are still standing.  How awesome would it be to see just how they put them together?

As someone who has been a huge fan of the 1950’s, I would love to live a year or two in this decade.  It’s fun to see how the ’50s are portrayed in movies like Back to the Future, and I would love to see it in person.  I would love to hear the old radio stations playing those early rock and roll songs.  I would love to see those classic films in a theater.  I would love to have a meal at a real 50’s diner or drive a classic car!

I would love to visit the 1940’s, too!  The music of the great band leaders, the early music of Sinatra, and of course, those great old radio shows! Of course, World War II was going on, but it would be interesting to see how life in America was at that time.

Everyone wants to visit the future … that peaks my interest, but is it something I would do?  I don’t know.  I’d be tempted to come back to the present and use the information for personal gain, or to alter outcomes.   I’m not sure visiting the future would be something I’d want to do – unless I knew it was something specific I wouldn’t be able to see.

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General People of Interest

I would love to watch Beethoven or Bach (or any composer, really) writing and composing a piece of their music.

I would love to watch someone like Edgar Allen Poe or William Shakespeare writing a poem or story.

I would love to sit on a set and watch them shooting a Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy film.

I would love to be in the room where the First Continental Congress held meetings and watch men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others in action.

I would love to attend a taping of an old episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or a taping of the Dean Martin Show.

I would love to be in the audience at a Rat Pack show in Chicago or Las Vegas.  Come on!  Dean, Frank and Sammy!!

I would love to be an extra in one of my favorite movies.

I would love to watch Elvis in the recording studio.

I would love to watch Thomas Edison working on the phonograph or the electric light.

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Specific Events

I would love to watch the moon landing (on TV or from space).

I would love to watch the first flight with the Wright Brothers.

I would love to see JFK’s inauguration.

I would love to see a Beatles concert.

I would love to see Lincoln deliver his Gettysburg Address.

I would love to witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I would love to witness the launch of Titanic on her maiden voyage.

I would love to be in the stands at Tiger Stadium at the final game of the 1984 World Series.

I would love to be in the crowd at 1985’s Live Aid concert.

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Personal Things

I know I put some limits on what can or cannot happen if I went back in time, but if there were no limits there are a few things I would like to do with that time machine.

I would love one more conversation with my mom.

I would love one more pinochle game with grandma and grandpa.

I would love one more Christmas Eve with grandma and grandpa.

I would love one more radio show with Rob.

I would love one more cribbage game with my grandpa.

I would love to play my trumpet in one more high school band concert.

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Just One Day

For whatever reason, writing this blog made me think of the Nat King Cole song, “That Sunday, That Summer”.  The lyrics of the song say:

“If I had to chose just one day, to last my whole life through, it would surely be that Sunday, the day that I met you.”

With a time machine, you could go back to one day.  You could pick the day.  You could relive whatever happened that day.  What day would that be?

I don’t know that I could pick just one.

What I do know is that there are plenty of days that I am looking forward to that haven’t happened yet – the birth of my daughter, the graduations of my sons, etc…. I am perfectly content moving forward and experiencing the days to come.

Here is sit, remembering the past – loving the present – and looking forward to the future.

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Happy Thoughts

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I once heard someone say, “In a world of darkness – be the light.”   If I may alter that quote just a bit … “In a world of negativity – be the positive.”  You wouldn’t know it, but it has been a very challenging couple weeks for me.  I just have to keep reminding myself that “some people are just not happy unless they are trying to make others unhappy.”

Here are some things that made me happy this week:

Bless You Boys!

I was reminded that 35 years ago this week, the Detroit Tigers beat the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series.  Remembering that amazing season always brings a smile to my face.  In the final game, Kirk Gibson faced Goose Gossage.  There was some chatting at the mound because they couldn’t decide whether or not to walk him or pitch to him.  Gibby launched an amazing homerun off him!  I can still remember Vin Scully calling it by saying, “And there it goes!!!!”  Pandemonium!  I rewatched that video more than once this week!

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Autumn Leaves

The leaves are changing.  Fall is probably my favorite season.  It makes me think of high school homecoming parades and football games.  It makes me think of Alumni Band.  It makes me think of sitting around bonfires in hooded sweatshirts.  It makes me think of those last few weekends up north closing up the trailer for winter.  I love the beauty of autumn.  Here in Michigan, we have such wonderful fall colors.  I love to walk outside in the fall and just get lost in thought.  Fall makes me happy.

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Here’s Johnny!

This month Sirius XM Radio has a Johnny Carson channel (105) and they are playing old episodes of The Tonight Show.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am loving these!  Johnny was the best.  These dated monologues are still funny today!  Today, I laughed a little bit harder than I should have at one of the jokes.  He was talking about a previous joke he did about McDonalds.  He then asked “Have you ever been to the Beverly Hills (California) McDonalds?  They serve escargot there.  They call them, McSlugs!”

Listening to his reactions to when a joke bombs is just hilarious!  His banter with Ed and Doc is also very funny.  It’s been great to hear classic interviews with Mel Brooks, Eli Wallach, Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles and more!  It’s also been neat to hear some of the early stand up from Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Garry Shandling, and others.  He was a master – and he still makes me laugh.

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Baby Kicks

I have saved the best thing for last.  My wife is 22 weeks along now and she has been feeling our baby move.  Earlier in the week, she started to feel baby kicks.  We were lying in bed this week and she said the baby was kicking.  She placed my hand exactly where she was feeling them, and I felt her kick!  It was light, but it was there!

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I don’t care how many times I feel it, it still amazes me!  My wife feels her move a whole lot more than me, so to feel this little “bump” against my palm makes me more and more excited for her arrival!  It gets more and more real as we get closer.  I get emotional thinking about it.  She’s going to be here soon!  We’ll be able to hold her and kiss her.  I’ve been creating my “Bedtime Song List” for her.  There are some favorites that I sang with my boys when they were babies, and I will be singing them for her too.  I probably need to start working on “Daddy’s Little Girl” and “My Special Angel” – songs that I obviously couldn’t sing to my boys!

February will be here before we know it – and I am sure there will be many stories to be shared about her here!

Final Thought

It really isn’t hard to find things that make you happy.  Look around – they are right there!  Find the happy & SMILE!

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Weekend Wrap-Up

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Because of my “real job” work schedule, I have Thursday-Saturdays off.  I have my sons three weekends a month, and I love that time with them.  One weekend a month, my wife get a “date” weekend.  This past weekend was that weekend.

Thursday

Thursday is usually a short day, because I work the night before.  I sleep late into the afternoon, and then begin the process of going from “midnight” mode to “daytime” mode.  Thursday night, Sam and I didn’t feel like cooking, so we went to our favorite restaurant for dinner.

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I LOVE Lucky’s!  Not surprising I am a “meat and potatoes” guy.  I usually get a Filet Mignon and baked potato.  Because I am currently on Weight Watchers, I opted for broccoli instead of the potato this time.  I also drank water, instead of beer.  The steak was cooked to perfection, as always.  I love when a steak is cooked and seasoned so right, you don’t need to put anything in it.  I always ask for steak sauce, but never use it.

Friday

Friday is “weigh in” day for me.  After the BIG meal the night before, I stepped on the scale hoping I had lost weight.  Happily, I was down 4 pounds and that took me to an overall milestone.

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What an amazing feeling to be down 31 pounds.  Years ago, when I first did Weight Watchers, I hit a 30 pound loss on the week of my 30th birthday.  I was a bit lighter then, but I am working toward being down to where I was the first time I did it.  The journey continues!

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I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve been seeing a therapist since before my divorce.  I needed to have someone who was non-biased to talk to.  It was a decision that I am glad to have made.  She has helped me in so many ways.  I have learned much about myself, and gained many skills through our visits.  I had an appointment Friday morning.  She, once again, hit on something that really helped me.  I’ve been struggling with something outside of my home life and she helped put some things in perspective. Those moments are awesome.  It should help a lot moving forward.  It’s always a good thing to be able to talk to someone who sees things in a different way and can offer honest opinions and advice.

***

Sam had a practice exam she had to do for her final clinical class.  It was a three hour test that is helping her prepare for the actual test she needs to take for her new credentials.  While she worked on that, I finished the book I was reading.

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Can you imagine America without George Washington?  Me either!  Hell, he’s one of the first famous people you learn about in elementary school.  I went to elementary long before there was President’s Day.  When I was in school, we celebrated Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday in February.  Washington, the “Father of our Country”, was almost NOT.

This book is a work of non-fiction by one of my favorite authors, Brad Meltzer.  As a history buff, I was excited to read this.  This all takes place prior to the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and his presidency.  As a matter of fact, I was surprised at just how close to the start of the war and July 4, 1776 all this took place.

You get a really good picture as to what kind of man Washington was.  Through excerpts of his letters, you see the various struggles he faced and the stress he bore on his shoulders.  You really get a sense of the weight and pressure that was on him during this turbulent time in our nation’s history.  You also see the “birth” of counter-intelligence.  It’s a very good read.

Turn

The book takes place prior to the Revolutionary War primarily, but it does touch on the first few battles of it.  It mentions the “Culper Ring,” which was a group of spies that Washington used to gain information throughout the war.  AMC did a very cool series surrounding the Culper Ring in the series Turn, which I believe is still on Netflix. Ian Kahn played Washington in the series.

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I watched the entire series, but now that I have read this book, I think I am going to revisit it.

***

We spent part of the day grocery shopping and we made turkey burgers for dinner.  We then retired to the couch to relax.  The original plan was to watch a movie, but when we turned the TV on, the Tigers were on, so we watched the game.  It was their “Pink Out the Park” game.

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As you know, my mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer.  I wish I had known that it was “Pink Out” day.  If I had, I may have gotten tickets to the game.  I LOVE when professional sports supports a cause like this.

The Tigers lost (miserably, I might add).  Tiger fans are living through more of the “we are building” stage.  Basically, that means we’re going to suck for a few years.  Maybe, because of this, I haven’t really been watching or listening to a lot of games this year.  At any rate, the game was one of the first ones I really got to sit and listen to the broadcasters.

Matt and Kirk

Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson were calling the game.  I was quite disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Gibby as a ball player, but as an announcer, he is boring and monotone.  If there wasn’t a game to watch, and it was just audio, I would have fallen asleep.  I guess I was lucky to have watched George Kell and Al Kaline call games on TV, and Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey call games on radio when I was growing up.

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After the game was over, Sam and I tuned in for one of our favorite shows – Live PD.

Live PD

I have dissed “reality” shows before.  This, however, is not Survivor, the Bachelor, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, or those other shows about winning money or a bride.  This is real cops doing their job.  I LOVE this show!  There are some other variations of this show – Live Rescue and PD Cam – which are good too.  In my many years on the radio, I have interviewed police, fire, and rescue people before and I ALWAYS made sure to say “thank you.”  They are out there putting their lives on the line, saving lives, and keeping us safe.  Live PD is a guilty pleasure.

Host Dan Abrams has actually wrote a couple books I want to read: Lincoln’s Last Trial and Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense.  Definitely, two to add to my stack of books to read.

Saturday

Saturday started early, as usual, for me.  I have to be up early so I can get to the radio station to be on air at 9.

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I worked for the Moose years ago full time.  I left to take a morning show position.  I was so grateful to be asked to return part-time.  The staff hasn’t changed much since I left and it’s like returning home to family.  I truly enjoy being back there.

***

I woke up Saturday feeling like I might have a sinus infection.  This is never a good thing for me.  Upon feeling those symptoms, I need to act fast.  If I don’t, I wind up with vertigo.  Every time I have ever gotten vertigo, it has happened because of a sinus infection.  Unlike, Mel Brooks poking fun at it in High Anxiety…..

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…it’s not fun.  It is crippling!  The last time I had it, I couldn’t even sleep in a bed.  I had to sleep sitting up.  The dizziness is SO bad.  I swear, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.  You have no control over anything.  You can barely turn your head.  EVERY little movement can cause you dizziness.  It’s awful.

Because of this, Sam and I went to the Urgent Care and I got checked out.  Definitely the start of a sinus infection.  So they gave me some steroids to bring down the swelling, told me to up the Flonase and sent me on my way.  So far – so good.  Fingers crossed!

***

While we were filing the fridge Friday night after grocery shopping, Sam pulled out the package of bacon that was in there.  She looked at me and said, “You know….BLT’s sound really good.  We should do that for dinner tomorrow.” Behold the power of bacon!!

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So, we had BLT’s for dinner!  “You’re on a diet, though, Keith” you say?  Yes, indeed.  And Turkey bacon works just as well!  Sam had hers on bread and I had mine in a low carb wrap – BLT wraps are just as good!!

The Week Ahead …

I may have a Guest Blogger lined up in response to my earlier blog.  If you have a story about us you’d like to share, a favorite memory, or a story that one of my blogs reminded you of – I’d love to hear it.  Let me know.

It’s back to work for me, tonight, but I have a very important appointment to keep this week.  It can mean some big changes on the horizon.  It’s exciting.  If all goes well, I will be sharing the “breaking news” in the days ahead ….

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Until then … Have a great week.  See you Tuesday for Tune Tuesday.