Out of curiosity...
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 02:12:36 -0400
When Harry Carey died, I had four or five of you suggest he would be perfect
for a SM minute. I sent back messages that EVERY reminiscence from players,
newspapermen, etc., in the local papers started with "I remember when we were
in a bar..." so I didn't see the man as that worthy of a SMM.
Now Jack Brickhouse dies and NO ONE suggests a SMM. So can I tell you a couple
you can twist and turn whatever way you want?
The first involves a friend of Jack's who had a child born weeks early,
weighing in at 2 lbs and change. Jack listened to this man weave his tales of
fear, how the doctors were concerned, how little chance the child had, etc.,
and so he told the man he'd take him to dinner the next day.
They go to a restaurant where Jack runs into another "friend" sitting waiting
for his own table. So Jack asks the "friend", "Say, weren't you born early?"
The "friend" replied in the positive and confirmed he ws a little earlier than
the other friend's new baby. "How much did you weigh?" The "friend" confirmed
he weighed almost exactly the same amount at birth as the other friend's new
child. "And how much do you weigh now?" The response was well over 200 pounds,
closer to 300.
The "friend" then got his table, the man with the baby was much better
emotionally and the child lived and grew well with the parents less concerned
about spending every minute worrying about how fragile the premature infant
Of course Jack never told the friend that the man they'd met was one of the
Chicago Bears linemen he had offered dinner to in exchange for the story of
his birth, so that he could accidentally run into him that night....
Amazingly enough, Harry Carey, Jack Brickhouse, and I all favor one charity.
Its the one good thing I feel about Harry, and I wonder about Jack and myself
because of it.
I don't know why the other two got involved, but the charity is a Catholic-run
home for youth here in the town I grew up in within stone's throw of a 747 as
it takes off from O'Hare (especially if its KLM). When I was about 12 or 13 I
had four cousins wind up assigned there for a couple years during a divorce
(mom's side is catholic, the divorce was rough, and at one point the soon-to-
be-ex-mom put one of the younger kids in a bathtub of scalding water and the
child was hospitalized for a long time, thus removing all children from both
parents for a while was seen as beneficial). In fact, my family was, in
essence, assigned to help watch over the kids, who spent more of those two
years with me and my brothers at a time when my parents weren't exactly high
on the hog themselves.
I am tied by emotion to that place. We would go pick them up - 3 girls and a
boy - mom would go help the girls get their stuff for the weekend, my dad and
I went to get the boy. Every time I was lectured until I finally started to
ask why certain things occurred.
Like "Why do we have to go to a locker room to get him?" He's only allowed his
books in his room, his clothes and anything else that could be stolen has to
be fit in that gym-sized locker every day. "He's only 8, why doesn't he have
toys?" Because anything he has that MIGHT make someone else jealous- including
having me visit - has to be separated from the other boys or else someone
might beat him up or steal it or both. Which is why we have to meet him in a
Priest's office. Which is why Dad gives him some spending money at home
instead of when we take them back after a weekend with us (Lord, how I realize
now what those weekends must have meant). On and on, I found out how hard it
was. At 16 I wanted to help the council start a Scout Troop there (they
were'nt interested as it would distract from what little study time was
available to the children).
So Harry, and Jack - an Episcopalian, I think, so I don't know why he was tied
to the home - and me - a Presbyterian with a UCC wife, all keep doing things
for the home. The first two raised lots of money, I steered my Catholic Eagle
candidates for five years toward the place as a recipient of Eagle Projects.
I'm sure I've done much less financially for them, but on the other hand....
Because they saw him at one of my Eagle Ceremonies one OA Lodge invited the
Priest who is second in command to talk to their banquet. He came in and
talked about trust, honesty, being willing to help, and the things Scouts have
done for the home. And what life is like there, for the 300 in attendance who,
for the most part, had never seen things like they might experience in that
home. He even brought up the one Eagle Project (The home's athletic supplies
were dwindling and so a Scout gathered things from the area that people
weren't using anymore - basketballs to tents - repaired as he could and
delivered them to the home. My oldest son Matt got his first taste when he
helped the candidate as kids trying to "acquire" some of the "new" things just
for themselves were offering to take stuff from the pickup truck that
delivered everything to the home).
So one Eagle providing what in essence were other people's forgotten sporting
goods brought knowledge of what life is like to the residents at the home to a
lot of boys from a rich neighborhood. They're going to grow up and go to
college and become the doctors, lawyers, and judges of tomorrow, all the
better they realize just exactly what their future findings, judgements, and
opinions could have on a kid.
And for that ONE thing, I'm more proud of being able to say I was there with
my cousins _when things were REALLY bad there_ (believe me, with all Hary and
Jack's fundraisers things are still hard, but not as bad as they used to be),
and that I've tried to help, and I count my small efforts as being as
important as those of the guys who hold the black tie dinners and raise lots
of cash for the place. They put up the buildings and fix them, my Scouts have
helped make them more of a place the residents can call home for a while.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City