Broadway Joe


Trisha Parker, Having a Good Day

As a young man I became very interested in biorhythms. With a hectic schedule as a grad student, college instructor, husband and father, it seemed I was sharper and more together on some days than others. When I investigated, I found that in some cultures, especially Swiss and Japanese, the scheduling of such jobs as airline pilots and even trolley conductors were regulated by biorhythm measurements.

Now, looking back as a retired senior, it seems that my entire life has been lived in cycles. This makes sense to me because everything else in the universe appears to have them. As human beings, it’s much like the proverbial little girl, wherein the cycles can be very good or very, very bad.

For my wife Trisha and me, the first quarter of this year was bad with a capital B. As I’ve previously mentioned, earlier in the New Year I required surgery, then our dear friend and my former Air Force roommate passed away. He was literally a brother to me and I will never completely get over losing him. Things did not improve as Trisha developed a medical problem that required immediate surgery. All of these episodes can be defined as part of life, no different from anyone else. In this case, they occurred in rapid succession and created a great deal of stress for both of us.

Taking a break, once our doctors approved us for flight, we headed to Florida for some relaxation. While other factors did not permit us to completely relax, Trisha did finally get on a bit of a winning streak. She did not win the lottery, but had a couple of really good days.

First of all, being an avid shopper, she was thrilled to see the newly constructed Palm Beach Outlet Stores were open for business. Needing some new clothes for an upcoming trip, she could not wait to explore their wares. On a beautiful Florida day, we headed to Palm Beach where her first stop was Banana Republic.

Trisha Florida 001

Before I go further, I know some of my male readers may be saying, “You idiot, you actually took your wife shopping?”  I plead guilty, but read on to find out why I didn’t mind. For one, you should know Trisha is a shopping genius.

After a long time picking out several items, she headed to the dressing room to make her final decisions. She then took the items to the sales counter where they totaled her purchase. The bill came to $206.57. As I looked on, Trisha took out her coupons, reward points, etc. The sales clerk refigured the bill and said, “That will be $0.77.” I’m not kidding; her total charge was 77 cents. She then went on to the Gap and bought $75 worth of clothing for $30. She was very pleased, I was happy, and we enjoyed a great dinner out that night. Yes, she did have an on-line coupon for the dinner.

The next day got even better for her. Before I share what happened, you need to know Trisha is a super sports fan. Football, baseball, NASCAR; it doesn’t make a difference, she loves it all. She also has special affection for certain athletes. Perhaps highest on that list is Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath. She loves his personality and “his smile.”

For faithfull readers, you may remember I met Broadway Joe last year in Florida. Trisha wasn’t with me and was heartbroken she did not get to meet him. Well, the day after her successful shopping trip, we went into the same grocery store where I had met Joe. As we walked in, she turned and jokingly said, “If you see Joe, let me know.” Obviously, the odds of that happening were not very good.

As we got to the back of the store, Trisha was pushing her cart down the main isle when I turned to get an item from another one. When I returned to catch up with her, I was stunned to find the man pushing a cart right behind her was none other than Joe himself. I almost busted. He then turned and headed up another isle as Trisha continued on quite unaware. I followed him hoping he would remember me and then said hello. He did remember me and we chatted for a moment or two. I then said, “Joe, you need to do something for me.” “What’s that,” he asked. At that very moment, Trisha turned a corner and was walking directly toward us. I said, “Joe, I want you to meet my wife.”

When she looked up and saw who I was talking to, she pushed her cart out of the way and ran directly toward Joe with her arms outstretched. Joe opened his arms and they embraced for quite a while. As her husband, it seemed really long. Not actually giving up the embrace completely, Joe then asked, “What’s your name?” When she replied, “Trisha,” I said, “You know Trisha, Joe doesn’t always get their names.” I was happy that for two days at least, she was into a really good cycle.

We all deserve a good cycle every now and then.

Trisha Florida 002

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The Greatest Play

As a life-long sports fan, I was recently watching a program showing videos of great sports plays. It got me to thinking about some of the great plays I’ve seen thoughout my lifetime. As I’m sure many of you have witnessed some great ones, I’ve definitely seen my share. But what was the greatest sports play of all-time? I believe I have the answer.

Now, I don’t want to get into a “my dog is bigger than your dog” situation, but I do feel I have excellent qualifications to make such an assertion. I played several sports growing up and my life’s goal was to be a professional baseball player. Eventually, while playing winter ball with the Los Angeles Angels, an arm injury ended that dream. My wife and I have three sons, all of whom are tremendous athletes, and my nephew whom we consider our fourth son is also an athlete. Our oldest son was a member of Pepperdine’s NCAA Championship Baseball team, our middle son lettered in four different sports, our youngest became a professional baseball player and is now a college coach, and our nephew was a pitcher at UNLV. Probably a little over the top, but getting a chance to brag about these four young men is always fun.

O. K., given my qualifications to judge, what is the greatest play? It happened several years ago when our youngest son was playing for a Little League all-star team at the Little League Western States Regional Championship in San Bernardino, California. You probably expect I will now regale you with some play my 12-year-old made in one of those games. It’s tempting, but I’m going to be very honest. Arriving early to get good seats, we were in time to watch a game being played by young boys from the challenger leagues. These are leagues designed for boys with physical handicaps that prevent them from playing on a regular Little League team. Watching this game was very heartwarming and actually quite interesting. At one point, a very spirited young man without the use of his legs and in a wheelchair came to bat. After striking the ball, he began yelling at he person pushing his wheelchair to go faster. He barely beat the throw to first and was safe. He was so thrilled and animated; he drew the attention of everyone watching the game. What happened next was “the greatest play.” The next hitter got hold of the ball and drove it to the outfield. As the ball was being fielded, the boy in the wheelchair was yelling for the pusher of his chair to go faster. He then made the decision to try for third base. He was yelling “third, third.” The pusher was trying, but pushing the wheelchair in the dirt was a difficult task. By now everyone was on their feet cheering him on. We could see the throw was coming and he was clearly going to be out. At that point, in desperation, the boy unbuckled his safety belt, and with just his arms launched himself out of the chair and flew head first into third. He was safe. It was an incredible moment. He was dirty and scratched up, but the smile on his face was unabashed happiness. The coaches lifted him back up into the chair, and when the next batter got a hit, the young man was pushed triumphantly down the third base line and crossed the plate with both arms outstretched with a broad victorious smile on his scratched and dirty face. His dive from his wheelchair into third base was no doubt the greatest play ever. I don’t think anything else could ever come close.

I’ve never forgotten that young man (I wish I knew his name), and in difficult times I still think about his enthusiam, courage, and effort. If I could meet him again I would say thank you for the inspiration. It’s a life lesson I will never forget.

Hey Joe

While we are on the topic of sports, here’s something you senior football fans might get a kick out of. On a recent trip to Florida while I was checking out at a local grocery store, I saw a gentleman who looked familiar walking out of the store. I rushed outside and said, “Hey Joe.” Sure enough, the man turned around and smiled. It was Joe Namath, legendary Hall of Fame quarterback for the New York Jets. I’m happy to report he was as friendly, funny, and personable as you might guess. We actually talked for several minutes and I snapped this picture of the two of us.

Me and Broadway Joe

Me and Broadway Joe

 

 Happy Thanksgiving

     My wife Trisha and I would like to wish you and you family a very heartfelt and blessed Happy Thanksgiving.

Trisha and John Parker

Trisha and John Parker