Jim Schartung and I are friends and neighbors, and we both attend the same church, and almost every Sunday morning we are the first in the house of worship several minutes before the 8 a.m. service begins.
This schedule was established because Jim’s wife and my wife, both of whom passed away several years ago, were devoted believers in the prayer of the rosary before the service, and we participate in it for the good and in memory of our friends. .
Most Sunday mornings I’m at church a few minutes before Jim, and he always stops in my usual spot for a word or two.
I don’t know how we jumped on the subject of the shot at home plate last Sunday morning, but we did, and it became quite telling.
We both admitted to being lousy at the game and both also admitted to never having enough marbles to participate in games.
My brother Bob was one of the best shooters on the east side of Owensboro and amassed an incredible collection of marbles. When he volunteered for the US Navy in World War II, he left his little brother with hundreds and hundreds of little toys.
And before I could tell Jim what happened, he said, “Yeah, and you all lost every single one of them, didn’t you?”
I could go to school every morning with four pockets stuffed to the brim with marbles. And while the good, dedicated nuns who taught me didn’t know much about marble shooting, one of them wanted to know why I had bulging pockets of marbles when I walked into the school and come home with nothing but my hands in my pockets.
She only smiled when I told her I had holes in those pockets.
And when Bob came home for his first Navy vacation, one of the first things he asked was how I was doing with his marbles.
“Very well,” I said. “I didn’t miss any until about a week after you gave them to me.”
I had no idea my brother could learn to speak like a sailor so quickly.
Now let’s move from a very old sport to a sport capable of killing.
It’s true! Because of football, I died twice last weekend.
On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers, a team I own part of, fell victim to the San Francisco 49ers and sent me into a reclining semi-prone position. On Sunday, Kansas City was dead in the first half of the game with the Buffalo Bills and my comeback was dead again in a second half that defied reality.
And you don’t think I own part of the Packers?
In fact, I own part of the team and I receive an annual invitation to the shareholders’ meeting in Green Bay.
As for the next Super Bowl, I’m okay with losing both teams.