Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Dan

Dear Dan,

Happy Birthday. More importantly to you, Happy Flag Day. You loved that your birthday was on Flag Day. I wish I could find one of the pictures to post here of you with your flag hat. As a matter of fact, I don't know what I did with that hat. Sorry. Maybe it found its way into the boxes of your stuff that I sent to New Orleans after Katrina hit. It took me all that time just to part with anything. Don't worry, I didn't give them your long underwear. Don't think they would have a need for that down there.

Anyway, today we will be celebrating with family and friends at the Elbow Room. Same as we did on the last birthday you celebrated on this earth. Some things never change huh?

Speaking of that. I can't believe you have missed seven birthdays. The world has changed so much in those seven years. So much so that you would hardly recognise things that you loved. Like the Republicans. Sorry buddy, but the Jesus freaks took them over. I can't imagine you liking that. But I can't imagine you voting for a Democrat either.

And your boys. The pride and joy of your life. They are so grown up. Sometimes when I look at Devin, I have to look twice because he looks so much like you. Especially when he laughs. Which is often. They have so much of you in them. Unfortunately not the working gene. But I'll talk to you about that on one of my trips to the cemetery.

Danny grew to appreciate your passion for books. One by one, he's reading his way through your library. You should be so proud. I'm just sorry he wasn't old enough to appreciate them when you were alive. He could have listened to you go on and on, an on. I would have been off the hook!

I do have one gift for you though. An apology. I'm sorry for calling you a jerk and an asshole sometimes when you drove me crazy. You got the last laugh though. I got your message. Loud and clear. I can see you now, legs crossed. Smoking a Marlboro with your elbow on you lap, slightly leaning forward and to the right. Laughing. Every time you send me a sign. I can hear you say "So, I wasn't such an asshole after all was I?"

No, you weren't. You were a loving father and husband who worked much harder than you should have had to. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't appreciate you and miss you.

I especially miss the flowers. So much so that I had to go and actually grow some myself. You would be amazed. Figured I'd better grow some for myself since no one buys them for me anymore! This whole gardening thing is kinda fun. I'm sure you would have gotten into that just as much as when you got into being the pool boy!!

Happy Birthday Dan. I'm sure you are dancing somewhere......just not in those yellow pants,I hope!

Love you,

PS. Where was your tie in this picture? You always wore a tie. Even when you weren't going anywhere for cryin' out loud~

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hoop Hero's

I grew up in a basketball crazy family. And that's putting it mildly. Somewhere around 1950 or 51 my mother decided that if she ever wanted to spend an evening with my father, she better pack us kids up and take us to the gym. We were at basketball games about five days out of the week. When we were old enough to sit by ourselves, mom worked the refreshment stand. I, of course, practiced being a cheerleader doing cartwheels on stage at St. Mary's Lyceum as if no one was watching. They were.

And then there's the story about how my dad got kicked out of a game for getting 12 technicals. He went and got The Madonna and sat her right in the middle of the court and told the ref's that she wasn't moving until he was allowed back in the game. She was TWO YEARS OLD!

The reason for all these basketball flashbacks? John Wooden, the coach every person who ever coached basketball aspired to be, passed away this past week at the age of 99.

Anyone who grew up in Lawrencevile knows my father's coaching style was more like Bobby Knight. They all have their favorite "Coach" story about my dad. But he idolized John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins. Our family dog, a big ol' sheepdog, was named Kareem. I know. We were weird.

I have been online this week reading some of the news accounts of his life. In an age when it seems the athletes run the show and leave college after a year or two, reading accounts from his former players is truly inspirational. He took the responsibility of not only teaching these kids to play basketball, but he prepared them to be leaders in life off of the basketball court as well. As Kareem Abdul Jabbar said it wasn't enough to just teach him to play basketball. He wanted to coach scholar athlete's. I read somewhere that when he recruited Kareem, who was then known as Lew Alcindor, Coach Wooden memorized poems by Lansgton Hughes, a black modern poet. He used that as a bridge to relate to his 7'2" star. It worked.

I could go on and on here, but I thought I would mention a few Wooden-isms. Famous Quotes by John Wooden.

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.

If you don't have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?

It's what you know after you know it all that counts.

Never mistake activity for achievement. (I like that one!)

Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

And my personal favorite. What you are as a person is much more important than what you are as a basketball player.

These are just a few of the reason's why there will never be another coach like John Wooden, and teams that he coached at UCLA. Not even sacred Duke with their Polish Prince.... They don't even come close.

I'm saying this as Red Quinlan's daughter. The same Red Quinlan who made his teams wear suits to every game. Even during the 70's. The same Red Quinlan that former players still are afraid to let him know that they smoke cigarettes. Even though they are well into their 50's and early 60's. And the same Red Quinlan that would talk basketball strategy to his kids every evening during dinner. It helped me get a date once when I was in DC. I was watching a game on TV in our "lounge" room at the apartment complex where I lived. I started talking basketball with the guy sitting next to me. Finally he said to me, "Would you like to go out with me. I never talked sports like this with a girl before?" We went out once or twice. It didn't work. I knew more about basketball than he did. In the 70's, that was a no-no!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Today's Soapbox

How about THIS??????? What a white trash piece of shit this woman is!!!!

According to the Post Gazette:
She claims her home is uninhabitable and worthless because the operator didn't pass on information that her son Richard has weapons, resulting in the killing of three police officers"

No lady, your home is uninhabitable and worthless because your son is a worthless piece of shit who staged a war against the Pittsburgh Police Department because YOU ALLOWED him to bring an army of guns and ammunition into your home.

So it's your fault lady, don't come cryin' here. You should have been a mother to this kid and stopped him any way you could after he started bringing home guns that were for more than "hunting" (I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt here that he started buying guns for hunting)

If your wondering why so crazy about this, here is my original post.

Ok, I feel better now that I got that off my chest.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hail Mary.........

So this kid was suspended for wearing Rosary beads to school. All the adults are up in arms saying he should be allowed to wear his Rosary Beads because they are not gang symbols.

Don't quote me on this but isn't wearing rosary beads around your neck a mortal sin? Isn't it? I was taught that they were sacred objects and that the nuns were to only ones to get the privilege to wear them. I remember as a kid always wanting to wear them and never being allowed. (Hmmmm....Maybe that's why I always dressed up like a nun, to wear my rosaries!)

And who says that rosary beads aren't gang symbols. The Catholic Church is one of the biggest gangs in the world for cryin' out loud!!!