Thursday, June 28, 2007
When I first started attending Bishop Gibbons, we rode on a big bus with all of the students in Rotterdam, who attended BG and Notre Dame. Then the boys and girls were in separate schools. For a crowded school bus it was relatively calm.
Like everything else when you're a kid there's a pecking order to things. The back of the bus was Seniors, then juniors etc.. Nick and I sat in the middle.
One morning, early in the school year, while we were stopped at a light the bus was rear ended by a small delivery van. We used to call them panel trucks. The bus driver pulled over and set the emergency flashers flashing. He got in the aisle and asked if we were all right? No one said they weren't but he walked up and down the aisle and looked at us to make sure.
He turned to us and said," Guys this is serious, so be on your best behavior." He smiled when a bunch of kids said,"Yes, Sir."
He exited the bus to talk to the guy that hit us and as soon as he did kids started falling out of their seats pretending injury.
Someone from the back told everyone that a Schenectady Police car had arrived and that the bus driver was talking to him. Shortly the two of them got on the bus. The Policeman went through the same " are you all right" thing. He told us, while standing at the back of the bus, that he was going to pass around a clip board and that he wanted our names for the police report. He handed the clip board to the Seniors in the back seat saying, "Put your John Hancock on this."
It took a while to get to the front, after which the two exited again. Almost as one the entire bus chuckled.
The Seniors kept us posted - "He's looking at it", "He's not laughing", " The bus driver looks pissed" and "Quiet down they're coming back!"
"O.K that was rather funny!" said the policeman. "Let's try it again."
Every single one of us had signed JOHN HANCOCK.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
In the early '60's my father put up a backboard and hoop on the garage. We played constantly. The fireplace chimney was on the left facing the basket so long shots were straight out or to the right. We measured and painted a foul line.
For hours and hours, we played "bull shit," our version of "horse". There was room for 2 on 2 but more than that and you had to rotate people in. I played alot by myself and used to bounce the ball off the chimney, like a pass. When we played 1 on 1 we had a rule that whoever had the ball could use the chimney to pass off of.
Over time this became a problem because my father slept during the day and worked nights. I used to peek in the bedroom and if he was snoring we could play. 99% of the time this worked but when we woke him up he would come out in his boxers and yell," Jesus Christ Glenn cut it out! Grow up, God dammit and let me sleep!"
He'd leave and we'd crack up.
Dad used to call Polish people, Pollocks to him, alphabet soup because they had so many letters in their names. The kid across the street, David Klyzsmdt, used to come over once in a while. His mother used to stand in the window and watch. She always ended up calling him home. Once when we were really little and were playing cowboys and Indians, we had tied David to a tree in the backyard and left him there. Ever since she watched like a hawk.
There were six of us that day, divided into 3 teams, me and Nick, Cary and Bill DeSorbo, David and Gary Bailie. All of us but Gary went to Bishop Gibbons together. The games started innocently and got progressively tougher. During a game that Nick and I sat out, Bill crushed David into the chimney. He looked like Wile E. Coyote hitting a wall. When we rotated back in we used the move alot on David. He went home sore and in tears. He was never allowed over again.
A couple of years later, we lost the backboard forever. I was lobbing passes to Nick, who was on the garage roof behind the backboard, dunking the ball. He must have leaned on the brace too hard and the whole thing fell to the driveway. Once again we heard the litany of our youth,
"Jesus Christ you two - grow up!"
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
My mother would say,"We're going to Glens Falls to see Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim" or we're going up the new Northway." That was fun because we never knew how much further they would be. I can remember when it stopped at Lake George. We'd go to the farm in Argyle or to Cobleskill to visit Aunt Lil and Uncle Ted. All this pre - dated I88, I87, I90, so it took longer then.
My all time favorite ride story, with my parents, was when I was in 3rd grade. My teacher, Miss Di Michael's asked the class if we were doing anything special over the Spring vacation. I told her and the class that we were going to Peru to visit my father's relatives. She was excited for me and asked if we were flying? She reacted strangely when I informed her we were driving.
Little did I know that there was a Peru, New York! Hell, I was only 7 or 8.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I recently heard a line in a movie that reminded me of what we did as teens, " ....let's sit down have a few drinks, tell lies and call up some women!" Pretty much that's what we were doing in our gameroom bar the night this happened.
It was a Friday because my father was bowling. He bowled in the old Schenectady Classic League at Towne Bowling Academy. They bowled at 8 p.m. each Friday night. My Dad was a good bowler. He consistently averaged over 200 and he took it seriously. He participated during the time when bowling teams wore the wild shirts with their name on the front and the sponsor's name on the back. I remember black with red letters, red with white letters but my all time favorite bowling shirt was when my Dad bowled on the Towne T.V. team. The first year they had dove gray shirt bodies with charcoal grey arms and black lettering. The next year was the best - pink bodies, dark grey sleeves and lettering. The sponsor had sent his wife to order the shirts.
There was other paraphernalia too. You had to have stylish shoes, a brightly colored towel for your hands and the obligatory custom lettered bowling ball bag. My Dad's bag was tan with "Bud Nichols" painted on both sides, along with a picture of a bowling pin.
When the gameroom bar was first built, we had very little furniture. There were 4 barstools, a card table and 4 chairs on one side of the room and a pool table on the other. The vertical metal poles had been boxed in and benches were built around them for seating.
I was sitting on the far bench and Nick was lining up a shot on the table when the door at the top of the stairs slammed open and my father's bowling bag came flying down the stairs. It hit the cellar floor, tile over concrete, bounced twice and hit the far wall with a bang. We then heard my father open the kitchen door entering we heard my mother ask," what was that, Bud?"
Dad answered," It was my God damn bowling ball. I hope the son of a bitch broke!"
My mother told him that we were down there. He yelled down, "You guys alright?" We told him we were fine.
" Yeah, well screw you two - don't piss me off tonight!" A father's concern for his child's well being = priceless.
This all happened in a split second. We cracked up laughing.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
This is Cripple Creek, Colorado on August 3, 2004. That's not snow it's ice! All day as we drove upwards through the Rocky Mountains we saw dark storm clouds in the distance. I thought it was thunder clouds.
About ten miles from our camp site, it started to spit ice and as we pulled in to register it came down even harder. As we were filling out the paperwork my wife mentioned the weather and asked if it was normal. The lady told her that every afternoon this time of year it rained, snowed or iced each day. Her husband told us that summer fell only on July 4th.After hooking up the water, electric and sewer I went in and touched off the furnace.
I miss traveling in our motorhome. Each day is different and you never know what you'll find along the way. We bought a book titled "The Next Exit" which did just that. It told us about gas,eating, shopping camp sites and local attractions. You just go to whatever state you are in and look up the route number and exit. This book and billboards helped us find neat places like
1886 Town, the Great Divide Sky Ride, Lou Tauber's Western Clothing in Casper, Wyoming (bought my cowboy boots here) and Flaming Gorge. On the way to see Holister, California, we made a wrong turn and found one of the original Spanish Missions. It was beautiful.
We've bought rattle snake skin wallets, and key chains with rattle snake heads, a hunting knife with snake skin pummel and sheath, handmade Native American jewelry, sand paintings and in Felton, California just north of Santa Cruz I bought a hand carved redwood bear. The list of useless things goes on but they're wonderful memories of road trips.
Some where in Iowa we stopped at an Indian casino that was surrounded by 1000's of aces of corn. It looked bizarre. It was also mandatory to stop in Wendover, Nevada ( I call it bend over) and Reno and Las Vegas. But my all time special Nevada stop was Winnemucca. One place outside of Nevada that I love to gamble is Deadwood, South Dakota. Kevin Costner owns a casino and hotel named The Midnight Star that's really nice. It's sports bar had excellent food but it was slow. We learned how to play 3 card poker here since they do not have craps in South Dakota.
Cracker Barrel Restaurants were our favorite food stops. We also would look for truck stops and diners with a lot of trucks, especially for breakfast. I tried a lot of different things to eat across the US. I had Elk and Buffalo steak, rattlesnake, fish burritos, the biggest freak'n omelet I've ever seen, the hottest habanajo peppers and my all time favorite was at a barb-b-q at our son's in Santa Cruz where he served home made grilled ham & cheese, jalopeno pepper and chedder cheese filled sausages.
I think the trips were just an under cover freeding frenzy. I sure miss it!
Monday, June 4, 2007
They groom the athlete's sense of entitlement by kissing their asses before they're hired. Then want to make the excuse that they are from a single parent inner city project family - "well you can just BITE ME!" You knew they had a baby's momma and about their sealed juvey record. The freak'n Governor pardoned Allen Iverson so he could play. They get caught with guns, drugs, women, felons, have DUI's and DWI'S, they go into the stands and assault people..........
and the conversation is about IF something should be done.
I was a coach, classroom teacher and school administrator, so I speak from experience. Many inner city single parent athletes are great kids with wonderful homes and phenomenal parental
guidance, so there is a choice for colleges and professional teams. Any educator, in any school, anywhere, can tell you about a student's potential. We know at an early age which families support their children and which don't. Can it change over time - yes - but it usually doesn't. By highschool really good athletes are already honing their sense of entitlement. Teachers do not grade them the same as others, administrators cut them slack and other students build their ego's.
Many colleges nurture their teams by having a family like environment - firm but fair! Why not spend a few million on this pro teams? Ask how Emmet Smith, Jerry Rice, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul Jabar....................... did it. There are alot of sucessful pro role models - use them to help the others.
The message that they get is "as long as I produce I can do whatever I want" and the teams encourage this behavior by not doing anything. Sure they fine them or suspend them and they lose money but what is a few thousand to a guy that makes millions?
My opinion - if Mike Vick is found guilty of staging dog fights and burying the bodies - fire the bastard and put him in a pit handcuffed with 5 or 6 steaks hung around his neck and a couple racks of ribs around his ass and throw some pit bulls in after him. See how he likes it!