We have some good eggs in this scenic little henhouse named after a fictional cowboy.
Today I pay tribute to just a few who registered high on my respect radar – pretty much the accepted yardstick for quality – as of late.
I’d be woefully ungrateful to omit a part-time resident who gave my life meaning last Saturday. I speak of Harry Block who made it possible for me to play in the Quake Golf Tournament. Along with teammates Lincoln Reese, nephew Jay and Greg Stenlund, we finished 25 out of 28 teams, but I’m not so naïve as to think the “honor system” precludes kicking balls away from trees and bushes.
I’d take a bullet for this fine man I’ve never met and didn’t know existed till the Olive Glenn brass informed me he had paid my $100 entrance fee and left a $25 bar credit to boot. Why would a perfect stranger put out that kind of money for me, I sense you wondering? First off, I never said he was perfect, but Harry was forced to withdraw for a health-related, unscheduled trip from his Wapiti, summer home.
Apparently, Harry feels he knows me from reading my column each week and has, not surprisingly, taken a shine to me. It does my heart good to know I’ve touched someone in a way that doesn’t get me on probation again. It’s purely speculation whether his middle initial is R, but if so the R in H&R Block surely stands for Remarkable.
I had the refreshing privilege to meet a most delightful family a while back, Russ, Diane and daughter Taylor Whitlock. Occasionally I’ll meet people for the first time and they immediately feel like family, which indicates I’d probably never be invited to dinner. Diane owns and operates Clairesfrenchbakery.com. Although I don’t eat many sweets because of an abnormal fear of acne, judging from the wit and warmth I encountered, I bet her goods are fresh and to quote Ned Flanders, “scrumpdidlyicious.”
A shout-out to Merv, that congenial Utah guy with the seasonal fruit stand just past Pizza Hut. Call me an oldies fanatic, but Merv, “I really like your peaches; wanna shake your tree.” Don’t even get me started on his tomatoes – as rosy and squeezable as a newborn’s keester.
What can I say about departing tennis coach Norm Sedig that hasn’t already been said? He’s known as “Coach Sea Dog,” but he’ll always be Gene Shalit to me. (Surely you remember the Today Show movie critic in the 70s with the big black handlebar moustache?) From the time decades ago I was introduced to Norm, wearing nothing but a towel in the locker room of Ev Diehl’s old Athletic Club, I somehow knew we’d be forever friends. It’s worth noting he had really hairy legs.
And goodbye to another friend, Robbie Russell. I hung with guys he hung with back in the day, and never met anyone so incredibly athletic, while so remarkably humble and just plain nice. His funeral is Sept. 12 and I’d estimate the tears and tributes to be incalculable. “Only the good …” the old song says.