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home : columnists : columnists June 25, 2016

12/13/2013 10:00:00 AM
Along the Way...

As a kid... did you ever hide a radio under your blankets at night in bed because you were supposed to be asleep... but you wanted to listen to a baseball game?

(Keep in mind that portable radios were clunky in size over 50 years ago!)

Our town only had a minor league team. But that didn't stop us from being passionate fans. In a book by Dave Mona, Beyond the Sports Huddle, I recall this radio sports talk show host explaining that some major league teams were only "liked" by their fans but the Minneapolis Millers were "loved" by theirs.

And when I e-mailed him and told him how I had secretly listened to the Millers in bed as a kid, he wrote back that he had done the same thing.

But Dave also wrote in his biography about so many other things that brought me back to those days in the 1950s.

You see Dave grew up a couple of blocks from my home. He was the little brother of one of my best friends. His sister Judy was actually a bridesmaid in my wedding.

But when we were teenagers, I rather ignored him! I was overwhelmed by her dad who was the basketball coach at an opposing high school. He taught me about coaching styles. (My school won the state championship.)

And Judy's mother made the best "sloppy joes" for a slumber party we had. I tried finding that recipe recently when we had company. I couldn't figure out why I was stressing out on this detail until our company came.

I mentioned my frantic search for the recipe and they explained that years ago they had worked with Judy and knew Dave! Who would have thought there was a connection!

But back to the memories. How as a 13-year-old I carried a newspaper clipping of the Millers team standings in my billfold. And how I was devastated when the New York Giants called our star player, Willie Mays, up to the Majors and would eliminate our chances in the minors.

Today, by living in our time period of computers, I could "google" a sports announcer of that day. And I could listen to Halsey Hall for one more time!

It was a coincidental moment when I read about Dave coming to WCCO for his first session of his present popular radio program with sports columnist Sid Hartman. Dave found he had been locked out of the station. It's broadcast on a Sunday and that was normal procedure. Dave had to find another business that was open to find a phone to call the station to let him in!

Many years later I came to the same radio station to do an interview and sit in on his broadcast. But I found myself also locked out!

They hadn't changed their policy I guess. But I had a cell phone and that helped me contact them to let me in.

Afterwards, leaving the studio and heading back down stairs to the entrance, I got lost. Found places like a remote bathroom, etc., and I got some interesting video of places you probably don't usually see.

Then Dave wrote about the time he flew with the Blue Angels... upside down!

I don't have any experience that dramatic. And I'm grateful!

But it reminded me of the "fun" of flying as a reporter. Depending on the group involved, I figured I would be put through tests. But once you passed it was great!

Like the time one pilot remarked, "Oh, you know better than to watch the horizon! And then with the Army - Company C manueuvers at Fort Ripley, the pilot commented, "The (other) reporter was throwing up at this point." I grinned (kind of) but made it!

And was treated like a friend.

And I am grateful to my friend's little brother for sharing that time period and memories with all of us.

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