Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Referees Are Back

When I started this blog, I stated I was not going to get controversial in my posts, but since this is my blog, I guess I can break the rules if I choose to do so. I am about to go on a bit of a rant here, so be prepared.

As many of you know that follow the NFL, the NFL Referee's Union was not on strike, they were locked out by the Owners. From my understanding, there was a huge gap between their stand and the Owners' position. This lockout could have lasted a while. 

Then, Monday Night Football happened!

The replacement referees did not seem to be doing a very good job! Just ask the Vikings' head coach, Leslie Frazier, about the ref's giving San Francisco five timeouts towards the end of Sunday's game. Or, better yet, ask the Packers' head coach, Mike McCarthy, about the way their game ended.

I get a kick out of all the uproar from not only Packer fans in Wisconsin, but people all over the country are outraged at the fact we cannot get these union members to resolve their differences and get those good, union referees back on the job! I mean, come on people, we're talking FOOTBALL here!

Are they the same people that voted for Governor Scott Walker so he could bust the unions in Wisconsin for teachers, firefighters and police officers? I mean, come on people we're only talking about educating our children and taking care of the public safety here!

I do not see the national outrage over the way Walker handled those situations. I grew up in a teacher's union household. That union helped my dad and our family many times.

They went on strike once and things got tight for a short time, but with some give and take, the strike was settled and the teachers went back to teach.

Ultimately, the Owners got big-time pressure to settle their differences with the referees; now, we will be able to whine about the blown calls they make.

Of course, that is just my opinion. Feel free to leave yours.



P.S. There, I feel better after I got that off my chest. My next post will be back to what you usually expect from me. Thanks for letting me vent! Now, I am off to acupuncture. After that, I will not be able to put up this post. In fact, I will not be able to do much of anything!

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Trip Last Week

I went home twice last week and had many memorable moments. I saw lots of former classmates, teammates, teachers and coaches. I met new friends, had so many great conversations I cannot begin to count them all, relived experiences back to 1963, spoke a couple times and even rode in a parade for the first time since 1966!

We drove to Worthington on Wednesday and had a 5:00 am wake-up call to get to Edgerton where I had two classroom visits and an assembly for middle and high school students from four schools, Edgerton Public Middle and High School, Southwest Christian Middle and High School and several adults from the tiny town where I went to third, fourth and fifth grades. Included in the audience were my second cousin, Darlene Bailey and her husband, Bob, and Annabelle, Ernie and Trudy Schellhaas. Annabelle was the other den mother with my mom for the three years I was a Cub Scout.

I had to drive by our old house to see how much the trees had grown my dad planted. I was pleased to see the service door and handle were the original items from when our garage was built almost fifty years ago! They were proudly made in America. I spent about an hour with a former neighbor, Rick Vanderstoep, at his furniture store, which he co-owns with his brother, Curt, who played basketball, baseball and football for my dad. I drove around town and thoroughly enjoyed seeing houses, stores and points of interest I remembered as a young boy.

It was almost two hours after the school day had ended before I finally left Edgerton. I took a different route back to Worthington and found another quaint little town, Kenneth, population 67. There was a cute little antique store with a ramp. It is called The Backyard Antiques and More. I cannot pass an accessible antique store and not stop!

I found out from the owner the building was the former post office so it was newly remodeled, complete with a nice ramp and full of things I could not live without! Did I buy anything, you ask. Of course, I did, Silly. So did my attendant, Kelly. She had never seen anything like Kenneth and The Backyard Antiques and More. An hour later, we were back on the road to Worthington. It took us four hours to get forty-five miles from Edgerton back to our hotel in Worthington! I was in no hurry and this post will probably be the basis for a chapter in my next book!

Friday was a marketing day, so I spent it at a pep fest at the high school, sold a couple books to the media center, and made a couple other stops before going to Center Sports to make sure we were set for my book signing the next day. Then, the fun started! 

I stopped at The Cow's Outside which is a little leather goods store located in a cool, old 1901 bank building to see Bill and Lori Keitel who had played a key role in getting my book signing arranged in Worthington. Bill had already left the store to go home and prepare for friends coming over for dinner.

Since their house was only two blocks away, I drove down there to thank him, leave and get a quick meal before going to the high school football game. It did not happen like that! Bill was in the house working, saw me arrive, so we went into this well-sculpted back yard that was obviously built and maintained by two artists!

They were preparing for their good friends, Jim and Judy Brandenburg to come by. Yes, THAT Jim Brandenburg! I was privileged enough to spend the next two hours swapping stories with one of the greatest nature photographers of all time! He had great stories about his trips all over the world.

Brian Korthals was also there and he is a successful photographer in his own right. Jim is also one of his mentors. He is the third person in this picture:

Brian now has Jim's old job at the Worthington Daily Globe and has a history of taking my picture at Turkey Day. He also shot me the next day while I gave my speech. Jim insisted I hold my book, which has one of his photos in the background, and Tom Wallace, who is now a very successful photographer for the Minneapolis StarTribune, who was mentored by Jim Brandenburg, took the color photo. 
Click on the image to make it larger:

Those two hours were the highlight of many highlights on my trip to two of my past lives. Turkey Day was a whole other story!

Saturday started out with a quick speech at Mayor Alan Oberloh's Turkey Day brunch, then Kelly and I rushed to set-up for my book signing at Center Sports from 10:00 am to noon. We grabbed a quick bite and it was time to get me on to the stage with a front-end loader. That was a first! 

I rode in the parade tied down by the red straps you can see in this photo by Doug Jenkins:

Again, click on this image to make it larger:

After the parade, they set-up a booth for me to sell books and take orders since my publisher did not get my book order to Worthington until Monday. That was frustrating!

I spent several hours there, then moved out to the Nobles County Fairgrounds and got more orders there. I had very few times during the afternoon and evening that I went more than five minutes when someone came up and introduced themselves. 

I recognized many of the people, which surprised some folks who thought I would not remember them. I was having a great time! It was the fortieth reunion for the Class of 1972, so there were many friends I got to spend time with people like Lynn, Alan, Pete and Peg, Dale and June, Denny and Margaret, to name just a few. 

By 9:00 pm I was exhausted and it was off to the hotel. I had a great time and I would like to thank everyone who helped make my trip a success.

As always, I welcome your comments.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What do these people have in common?

Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Walter Mondale, Sargent Shriver, Nelson Rockefeller, Babe Winkelman, Andre Kirkwood and Liz Collin all share something in common. Do you know what it is? 

If you grew up or live in or near Worthington, Minnesota, you might know they are some of the people who gave the keynote speech at Worthington's annual King Turkey Day celebration. 

This Saturday, I get to add my name to the list! I will let you know how it goes in a post next week. And to think some people believe you cannot go home. I am going to do it twice in three days. Besides going to Worthington, I will be going home to Edgerton, Minnesota tomorrow.

Here is the link to the Worthington Daily Globe's article from today's paper: Just click here.

I look forward to your comments.



Monday, September 3, 2012

I Am One Today!

If you are a new reader to this blog, you may not know my feelings about the two lives I believe I have lived, and the third one I started one year ago tonight. So, today I am officially one! I am attaching a photo of my first birthday in my first life. You can see I was already using my left hand!

Click on the image to make it larger:

September third is always a rough day for me. I have a hard time believing it was forty-one years ago tonight when I broke my neck and started life number two. I do not know where the time has gone.

Is time flying by for you as fast as it seems to fly by for me? I remember when I was a child and time could not move fast enough. I could not wait to grow up. As a young child, I was a gym rat. I was in the gym whenever my dad was coaching basketball.

We always had a basketball goal in our driveway which got used a lot by a young boy with big dreams. Worthington was the eighth town and sixteenth different location by the time we moved there in February 1969, before I was fourteen! I wanted to be on the big stage and play on the Varsity football and basketball teams in the worst way.

Then, when I finally got my big chance, it was all over in about three minutes. Little did I know what those final three minutes were ending and beginning in an instant in time.

Last year I wrote about finishing my ebook and trying to come up with a name. A year later, I came up with a new name; I Still Believe In Tomorrow is now available online through my website and also now published as a paperback. It may be ordered through all the major booksellers or by sending me an email at

The book is starting to sell. I have two book signings lined up in the next two weeks, and two more in the planning stages. Several colleges are considering using it in their classes and I am trying to get a deal with a book distributor.

Most of the September third's that go by are pretty tough to get through. Today, and especially this evening because by now, I would have been in the ambulance on my way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the emergency room at Sioux Valley Hospital. That was the night my second life began.

I am finding some of what I have written is in the book, so I will stop here and invite you to buy the book. I am getting great reviews from readers on both the ebook and paperback formats. If you get it and like it, please feel free to let me know with your review.

I look forward to your comments.



P.S. You may read my post from last September third by clicking here. It has some good comments too.