AND NOW…THE NEWS…THE GOOD NEWS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Tyler Merrill

These past weeks have been trying…trying to kill us, trying our patience and trying to test our resolve.  Shoot – bad news was easy to come by even before COVID-19 hit us.  When is the last time you read a paper or watched the news and felt better afterwards?  My guess is it was sometime in the 80’s.  Which is why I want to devote today’s post to just that – people who give us something to cheer about.  I was inspired about a month ago, at the beginning of the virus outbreak, when I saw an interview with Tyler Merrill, the CEO of a clothing company, who stopped all production to focus on making medical grade masks for hospital workers.  He was appalled at the price gouging and competitive out-bidding going on and decided to take matters into his own hands to produce N-95 grade masks.  I was impressed by his generous effort.  His interview recalled something I know down deep – how good the ordinary, everyday citizens are in this country.  I felt bad that I needed reminding but it felt good to know that spirit still exists.  And then last week I discovered John Krasinski’s Good News Channel (or SGN as he calls it) on YouTube and my confidence is the goodness of people was solidified.

A Classic

In full disclosure, I have been in love with John Krasinski since his character, Jim Halpert, encased Dwight Schrute’s stapler in a mound of gleaming lime Jello on the first episode of The Office.  I’ve followed his career and enjoyed his personal high jinks, most notably his “prank wars” with Jimmy Kimmel.  If you need a laugh look them up on You Tube.  I’ve always enjoyed him and his particular brand of humor but I have new-found respect for him since viewing SGN.  In March he posted on his Twitter feed that we’d heard enough sad news and that he wanted people to send him some good news stories.  His feed was flooded with them in hours.  Which gave him the insight to know that people are really looking for positive stories and that there is no shortage of them out there.  So on March 29th he launched SGN.  So far he has produced five episodes.  “Produced” might be a bit of a stretch, as even he admits.  He is recording the show from his home office, with the colorful SGN sign his daughters drew as his only graphic.

John Krasinski on SGN

On each show he not only shows his humanity, but that of all Americans.  He lauds the front line health care workers, as well as other essential workers – transit drivers, utility workers, street sweepers.  He has surprised COVID health care workers in Boston with a trip to Fenway Park, complete with VIP treatment.  He has had Brad Pitt to do the weather and when he threw a prom for all high school seniors who are missing out on that rite of passage, he brought in the Jonas Brothers and Billie Eilish.  His interview with his old cohort Steve Carrell was both funny and touching.  But it’s his “Restoring Faith to All Humanity” segments that are worth their weight in gold because they feature ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  One episode featured a teenage cancer patient who celebrated her last treatment with a socially-distanced welcome home in her neighborhood that was so touching that I defy you to watch it without tearing up.  Another episode featured a young mailman who has 400 mostly elderly residents on his route, so he gave each of them a flyer offering to run errands or grocery shop for them in his spare time.  Most of them took him up on the offer.  I could go on and on with examples, but really, you need to watch the show for yourself.  I GUARANTEE that you will feel uplifted and optimistic afterwards.  There is also an SGN Facebook page that you can follow that features daily updates of good stories.  Watch SGN and you will be reminded that there are far more good people than bad out there and most of us are willing to pitch in and help without hesitation.  As one of the International Space Station astronauts said on SGN – “An Earth in crisis is still an Earth worth returning to.”

Finally, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo and I couldn’t resist sharing this meme.  I hope you all find a way to have a Corona without getting Corona!

“Music was my refuge”

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”                                                                                                                   Maya Angelou 

by Bob Sparrow

My friends, Martin & Taylor

Yes, I’ve been consumed mostly with music during this ‘house arrest’ we’re all experiencing.  I’ve been reading about it, as explained in my last blog, listening to it, trying to write it as well as play it on my 6 and 12 string guitars (named Martin & Taylor) – who have become my two closest friends these past few weeks!

Just prior to the pandemic I had a CD player installed in my car, much to my wife’s dismay.  “You have Amazon music on your phone, so you have access to virtually every song in the universe.  Why do you need a CD player in your car?”, she asked.  Well, it’s because, over the years, I’ve made somewhere around 100 ‘personal’ CDs – play lists of songs that can’t be found on Amazon, or anywhere else for that matter.  As well as a CD of songs that my best friend, Don and I sang in Atsugi, Japan in 1968 and a CD of us singing at our 50-year class reunion.

Her response: “What’s next, are you going to put an 8-track player in there as well?”

With Don, Naval officers in Japan – 1968          With Don at 50-year class reunion – 2011

While I thought that was pretty funny; I did think about that for a moment, but I’d have to go deep into the archives to find any 8-track tapes.  It would have been more logical to put in a cassette tape player, as I have a good number of cassettes.  I do have a cassette player in my office and I had the cassettes that Don and I exchanged while he was in Saudi Arabia, prior to the Internet, transferred to CDs – so I can now play those in my car.  Then there’s my vinyl collection, but I don’t think they make turntables for my car, so I’m content listening to them in my office (think, man cave).

As for playing my guitar, aside from practicing ‘Monday Knights’ band songs, our neighborhood has been doing some ‘Friday afternoon, driveway cocktail parties’ where we gather in a driveway, keeping our social distance, and having a cocktail.  A couple of Fridays ago, we hosted it and, knowing that everyone was really hard up for entertainment, I played and sang some songs from an anthology I put together called The History of Rock & RollChapter 1 is ‘The 50s’, where I gave some background of the songs and the writers, and played ‘Rock Around the Clock’, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Johnny B. Goode’, then threw in a couple of songs from the ‘Folk Scare’ taking place during the late 50s and sang ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ and ‘Scotch & Soda’.   At the conclusion someone mentioned something about not quitting my day job! Nonplussed, I’ve put Chapter 2 together, ‘The 60s’, but it’s not ready for prime time yet – heck, it’s not even ready for late night!

Vinyl collection

I’m also trying to write some songs and so have reconnected with former neighbor and song-writing partner, Doug Bynon.  I’ve got a whole bunch of lyrics rolling around in my head and he’s been pretty good at putting them to music.  We’ve done this before, creating song original songs – you’re not going to hear them on the radio, but it seems to scratch a creative itch in both of us.

While you may not want to sing, play or write songs, we can all listen to some great music.  I like what this next quote has to say about the music you listen to:

“Tell me what you listen to, and I’ll tell you who you are.” ― Tiffanie DeBartolo

If the DeBartolo name is sounding familiar to some of you 49er fans, yes, she is the daughter of the former owner of the 49ers, Ed DeBartolo.

So, if you’re running out of things to do . . . find some music you like and find out who you are!

I’M IN LOVE WITH PERRY MASON

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Raymond Burr, as Perry Mason

Well, here we are…still.  I hope you are all doing well and haven’t killed your spouse yet.  Okay, that might be a bit drastic but I’ve been influenced by crime TV during my “staycation”.  Specifically, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Perry Mason, the TV show from the 50’s and 60’s.  Some things have not changed much in the intervening years – just as with ther current show, Dateline, the spouse is almost always the perpetrator.  Hopefully, you are still experiencing wedded bliss and Keith Morrison won’t be knocking on your front door anytime soon.  But…back to Perry.  I stumbled across the series as I was surfing our 450 channels for something to watch.  As it happens, Family Entertainment TV (don’t worry – I’d never heard of it either) was starting the series from the beginning.  What the heck?  I figured out that to watch the entire series from beginning to end without any breaks takes up 10 days. Heck, I don’t have anything else to do.  Plus, I relished the idea of taking a trip down memory lane recalling those wonderful Saturday nights when I watched the show, intrigued not with Raymond Burr, who played Perry, but with his “confidential secretary”, Della Street.

William Talman, sad sack Hamilton Burger

It has been interesting watching the series as an adult. Obviously, beyond the tail fins on cars and the lack of cell phones, the biggest change has been the role of women. There was a woman judge in a few episodes but no female attorneys. Mostly, women played murderers or victims. But still, it turns out that the show influenced a good share of women.  Sonja Sotomayor, the Supreme Court justice, was one.  In her autobiography she says she was hooked on the law when during one episode Perry asked the prosecutor, Hamilton Burger, if he wasn’t troubled that he had spent so much time prosecuting Perry’s client only to find he was innocent. “My job as a prosecutor is to do justice,” Sotomayor quotes the prosecutor as saying. “And justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not.”

That prosecutor was Hamilton Burger, who lost all but three cases to Perry.  Makes you wonder how the guy kept his job.  Turns out that William Talman, who played Burger, didn’t keep his job.  He was fired by CBS March 18, 1960, hours after he entered a not-guilty plea to misdemeanor charges related to his presence at a party that was raided by police for marijuana use. Back then they did not consider marijuana an “essential” business.  The shooting schedule was immediately juggled to minimize Talman’s presence on the show.  CBS would not relent, even after the charges were dropped.  In December 1960, after millions of fans protested, he returned to the show where he would remain until the end of the series.  Now that I’ve watched three seasons of the show I think I’ve figured out why he was so inept – every week he used the same line when objecting to Perry’s questioning of his witness: “Your honor, this entire line of questioning is incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial”.  Really, every frigging week he says the same thing.   Wouldn’t you think he – or the writer’s – could come up with something else?  No wonder he lost all those cases.

Della Street and Paul Drake

Paul Drake, Perry’s private detective, was the most fun character on the show.  He did all the dirty work – sneaking into office buildings, tailing a suspect or flying somewhere to gather background “dirt”.  Each week he seemed to get in and out of some perilous situations, often involving a beautiful woman.  Drake was played by William Hopper, whose mother was Hedda Hopper, the famous gossip columnist.  He was a big hunk of a guy and I always suspected that Della was torn between her crush on Perry and him.  Or maybe that was just my youthful imagination.  But back to Della.  She was played by Barbara Hale and I idolized her when I was growing up.  She had wonderful clothes, was smart as a whip, and she always got to stay in the room with Perry when a client spilled their guts.   I thought she had the perfect job.  Of course, now I realize that she was probably grossly underpaid, especially given that she seemed to be at Perry’s beck and call at all hours of the night.  Which makes me wonder how she afforded all those fabulous clothes. Nevertheless, Della was not just a secretary, although she fetched her share of coffee, but someone who Perry listened to and who often gave him the logic or clue needed to solve the case.

I just read that HBO is coming out with a new Perry Mason film in June, starring Matthew Rhys as Perry.  It will focus on the early days of his career, before he became a high-priced defense attorney.  I’ll keep an open mind, but I don’t know how it can possibly be better than the TV show.  No Hamilton Burger, no one in the gallery shouting “I did it!  I killed him.” at the last minute, and most importantly, no Della Street.  Somehow, that just seems wrong.

 

 

 

Music is the Moonlight . . .

by Bob Sparrow

“Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life.” Jean Paul Richter

Not that life is gloomy right now or anything, it’s just that it’s . . . different.  We find ourselves looking for things to do around the cell, er, house; things that will help us keep our sanity while in solitary or familial confinement.  We’ve completed most of those DIY ‘projects’, at least the ones that we were actually capable of completing, not the ones like fixing that leaky hot water heater valve or rewiring that electrical box.

So, let me suggest something that has helped me ‘pass the time’ – music.  Like me, you have probably found some solace in listening to  music, singing in the shower or watching (and re-watching) concerts on TV; and I say keep doing those things, but I’m proffering some additional literary therapy and documentary escapism.  Over the past few months, and particularly now that reading is one of my more athletic activities during the course of a day, I have found three excellent books and one Netflix documentary that I would recommend to any pop music lover.

The Wrecking Crew by by Kent Hartman

Flyleaf notes: “A sweet and wistful meditation on the early days of the music business, full of little gems and wonders fit for serious music fans and a commendable, long-overdue tribute to the legendary Wrecking Crew – the ridiculously talented, go-to guys behind so many hits. This book will make your head spin.”  You think you know who played the music on most of the hit songs you listened to?  You don’t!”

The Song Machine by John Seabrook

Flyleaf notes: “There’s a reason today’s ubiquitous pop hits are so hard to ignore―they’re designed that way. The Song Machine goes behind the scenes to offer an insider’s look at the global hit factories manufacturing the songs that have everyone hooked.”

Goodnight, LA   also by Kent Hartman

“The rise and fall of classic rock – the untold stories from inside the LA recording studios.  The music scene in Los Angeles was dominated by rock ‘n’ roll. If a group wanted to hit it big, L.A. was the place to be.”  Let the in-fighting begin.

Echo in the Canyon Netflix

Echo In The Canyon celebrates the popular music that came out of L.A.’s Laurel Canyon neighborhood in the mid-60s as folk went electric and The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas cemented the ‘California sound’.

If you enjoy popular music, and by that I mean songs that were popular from the 60s to present day, you should enjoy the myriad of stories about the lives of people who made it all possible.

 

                                                                                           

“If music be the food of love, play on.”  William Shakespeare

Stay well!!!

GROUNDHOG DAY

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Happy Monday!  It is Monday, isn’t it?  I get so confused these days.  Usually I awaken each morning and before emerging from my bed I think about what day of the week it is and what I have scheduled on the calendar.  It’s sort of a memory test, plus the results dictate whether I’m happy about my day and bounce out of bed or whether I’m having a root canal and decide to languish for a bit longer.  These days, I am really struggling.  With everything on my calendar pretty much wiped out, one day just runs into the next.  It takes me several minutes to figure out the day and – sadly – many days I am wrong.  But I can hardly be blamed.  Just like Bill Murray, every day is Groundhog Day.

As an “at risk” person due to my age, I need to stay home unless I require food, medicine or money.  Frankly, I’d love to know where I could get some money.  I made the mistake this morning of looking at our brokerage account.  I know that the market has been bad but after looking at our balance I almost wish that our broker had absconded to Mexico and was spending our retirement money on pina coladas.  At least then someone would be having fun with it.  But…back to my “staycation” routine.  My first decision of the day is what to wear.  This used to be a fun activity, sorting through my clothes and putting things together. Now I’m down to deciding which color of sweat pants to wear.  I try to save the black ones for formal occasions – like when the Amazon delivery person is coming. After breakfast we take Dash the Wonder Dog on a walk and then I begin my anti-Covid 19 immunity response.  Right now I’m taking Vitamins C and D, a tablespoon of Sambucol Elderberry Syrup and a packet of Emergen-C.  I have NO idea whether any of that is doing any good but I figure it can’t hurt.  And, I haven’t gotten sick so, fingers crossed, hopefully it’s working, even if it’s all in my head.  Once fortified, I begin on my activities for the day.  I am maintaining my 10,000 steps/day routine.  It’s fairly easy this time of year when our weather is beautiful.  If the virus hangs on until summer and our fitness center remains closed I think I’ll be wearing holes in our rugs marching around the house.  Or, by then, the insane asylum.  But that’s a worry for another day.

All that takes me to about 9 o’clock.  That’s a whole lot of time to kill for the rest of the day trapped inside the house.  I saw a segment on the new-found popularity of jigsaw puzzles on CBS Sunday Morning last week and that reminded me that I had some puzzles stashed away.  I broke one out and started to put the edge pieces together only to discover that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.  Several of the pieces that I put together did not actually fit correctly but I couldn’t see that so I had something of a jumble on my hands.  It’s still sitting on our dinette table and as this staycation drags on I’m sure I’ll get bored enough to take up the task once again.  Hopefully with better lighting.  My knitting friends and I have discovered (along with the rest of America) the magic of Zoom, the internet meeting app.  So on our regular knitting time on Wednesdays we meet up.  It accomplishes two things – first, it proves that women of a certain age can still master some new technology and second, it puts something fun on the calendar.

Alas, I have to admit that once I’ve cleaned the house for the umpteenth time, watched a few episodes of Grace and Frankie,  and then knit for a couple of hours, I resort to playing Candy Crush on my iPad.  It truly is amazing what a time suck it is.  On the other hand, it keeps me from looking at the latest coronavirus stats and worrying about the health and safety of those I love.  It’s only April 6th.  I know that we all can get through this.  I just hope that it ends before I’ve mastered all 6365 levels of Candy Crush.

The Lost Resort

by Bob Sparrow

Timeshare salesman

This week, every year since 1993, our family has vacationed in our timeshare at the Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert, and we should be there now, but as everyone knows, the world has turned upside down.  When we bought the timeshare 27 years ago, Linda and I both had pretty good jobs, two young kids and very little savings, which is why we accepted the Marriott’s invitation to come out to the desert, spend two nights and play two rounds of golf.  The only caveat was that we had to listen to a 90-minute presentation about a timeshare, with a tour of the property including a boat ride on the man-made lake that goes inside and outside of the hotel.  We decided that since we didn’t have any ‘extra money’, we were a safe bet to resist the high-pressure sales tactics that we knew took place during those 90 minutes.

Taking a ‘boat tour’ of the Marriott facility

So we packed up our two kids, who were 7 and 9 at the time, threw in our golf clubs and left the frigid January southern California 68 degree weather, for the balmy 80 degrees in Palm Desert.  We walked into the timeshare presentation with kids in tow feeling pretty smug.  They immediately shuffled the kids into a fabulous playroom, designed to keep them fully occupied while their parents were being given the ‘third degree’.  The presentation was very convincing, but we knew we were safe because we were broke and nearly gagged at the price to purchase a timeshare week – $32,000!!!  At the end of the presentation, we thanked them and started to get up and said we just couldn’t afford it at this time (we were actually thinking, or AT ANY TIME!).  They then mentioned that, with a small down payment, we could pay over time, with ‘low, easy monthly payments’ (I thought they were going to throw in some swamp land in Florida too).  We looked at each other and sat back down.  “Just how small is the down payment and just how low are those easy monthly payments?,” we asked.  I don’t remember the numbers, but it was something we thought we could afford, so we bought, hoping we wouldn’t have ‘buyers remorse’ as we drove home.

“Are we there yet?” Yes!!!

As it turned out, it was one of the best purchases we ever made.  As mentioned in the opening, we’ve spent a week there every year; we’ve never changed the time of year or ever tried to exchange it for some place else.  We loved it! Our kids loved it.  Our friends and family that we invited out to stay with us, loved it.  What’s not to love? Great accommodations, great golf courses, great restaurants and great weather.  The best feature of all might be the fact that we didn’t have to get on an airplane to get there – we could just throw stuff in the car, drive for and hour-and-a-half and we’re truly in a whole different world.

The kids brought friends out, played in the pool and park areas, rode the shuttle back and forth between the villas and the hotel and later enjoyed meeting kids (some of the opposite sex as they grew older) around the pool and as they got much older, at the night club on site – Costas

Since that time, several of our friends have also purchased timeshare weeks at Marriott Desert Springs – at a more reasonable price on the ‘Black Market’ I might add.  So we’ve continued to enjoyed getting together out there for golf and socializing and the kids still make an appearance with their own families.  Up until last week, we were hopeful of spending our 27th year there in spite of all that is going on, as the timeshare villas were open and available as was, first, both courses at the Marriott Desert Springs, then just one.  We decided that if that golf course stays open, we could just as easily sit in our villa there, wash our hands and have an opportunity to get out in some fresh air and play some golf.  But alas, the other course, along with virtually every other golf course in California, closed.

The sun has set on the Marriott Deserts Springs Resort for most of 2020

We’re told we won’t lose the week as they may let us switch it for a week in August when the temperature there is typically north of 100 degrees. So, this week, instead of enjoying our 27th year in the desert, we’ve resorted to watching movies and washing our hands at home.  I knew this timeshare thing was a scam!

So our 26 year streak is broken, but we’re hoping that next year we’ll start another one.

Stay well!

PANDEMIC PLANS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

 

Well, it’s been quite the week, heh?  Last week at this time I had all sorts of social engagements and golf games on the calendar.  Today, I think of a trip to the grocery store as a major outing.  Mind you, an outing the warrants rubber gloves and endless sheets of Clorox wipes.  Who ever thought that going to pick up some rutabagas would become a life-threatening excursion?  When they first told us to watch out for the elderly I envisioned the folks that Dash the Wonder Dog used to visit in the retirement care center.  To my horror, I soon discovered that I’m considered elderly and, therefore, in a high-risk group.  Our paranoia about the virus has resulted in some changes around here.  We’ve begun to look at our friends in a whole new light – do we really think the Smiths wash their hands as thoroughly as they should?  Is Sally going to the grocery store and then not wiping down her countertops?  And what about those Johnsons?  They had their kids and grandkids in for spring break last week.  Surely they are swimming in germs over at their house.  Just to make it easy, we are not only socially distancing – we are socially hibernating.

The other change is that we now spend a fair amount of time figuring out what to do.  Normally, each morning when we walk Dash we talk about our plans for the day.  Now, with nothing on our calendar, that conversation is a little stretched for content.  My husband’s main “job” is to play golf.  His secondary job is to watch golf and hockey on TV. But now our golf course has closed down and all sports have been suspended so he’s out of work.  I’m not sure that the new relief package is going to cover his “unemployment”.  But we may need it.  His occasional pastime is watching the stock market but we’ve had to put an end to that as well – his heart just couldn’t take it anymore.  I usually knit a couple of hours a day because I enjoy it and it’s a calming activity.  But now that I have all the time in the world and no place to go, my knitting feels like a time-filler, which is sadly true.  Yesterday I tackled some ironing I’ve been putting off and I cleaned the kitchen for the n-th time and then I ran out of ideas.  Now I’m wishing that I hadn’t spent so much time last year organizing my closets.  Damn that “sparking joy” craze.  My spice rack is alphabetized, the sock drawer is neat as a pin, and all of my pantry items are resting in their designated baskets. I’m looking for other activities to keep me entertained, and – this is important – refrain me from killing my husband. My friends and I joke that among the 30-somethings we will see a baby boom in 9 months, while some of us older folks may well end up in the hoosegow for murdering our spouse.

We’re only 8 days into the 15 day “distancing” suggestion and I’m already antsy.  I’ll get over it.  Really, it’s not much of a sacrifice to sit on the couch with Dash, watch trashy TV and knit.  When I think about what the front line people at hospitals are going through it gives me shivers.  I can’t imagine their stress – not only the anticipation of a coronavirus tsunami, but the risk they take for themselves and their families working so near the disease.  I worry about all the small businesses that may be lost because we all have to stay home – businesses that have provided our communities with so much diversity and character.  But I am optimistic that we will all get through this.  I’m cheered by some unusual bi-partisanship in Washington and how citizens of all stripes are pulling together.  For every stupid college student on the beach in Florida saying they don’t care if they infect others, there are 10 great kids who are volunteering to help the elderly and needy.  It’s uplifting and perhaps just what we needed to remind us that we’re all Americans.

I hope that in two weeks time when I’m writing this blog we will be through the worst of it.  But according to this website https://covidactnow.org/  we may just be at the beginning.  So just in case, does anyone have the name of a good bail bondsman?

How Terribly Strange to Be 70

by Bob Sparrow

“How terribly strange to be 70”  Old FriendsSimon & Garfunkel

Steve, Terry, Ken, Kent & Ed using ‘aiming fluid’ at Top Golf

We came in the mid-1960s as young men, boys really, to Westminster College, a Christian college that sits at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains on the East Bench of Salt Lake City, for only one reason . . . football. We just wanted to play the game.  While our destination was the same, our paths were quite diverse.  Some came right out of high school, some came after a year or two of junior college, some came from a Division 1 school where they were never going to play and some came because they knew they were never going to play anywhere else.  And while we all came for the game of football, we left with great friendships, great memories and a college degree that positioned us for success later in life.

The ‘we’ is a group of 11 Westminster graduates, all 70-something, who gathered in Las Vegas two weeks ago for an informal reunion put together by my old college roommate and running back on the football team, Ken Poulsen.  You may think that 11 isn’t very many people to gather for a reunion, well, actually only 9 were football players, but that still represented nearly half of our team!  The non-football players, but still successful graduates of Westminster were Dave Chally, who was a fan and a friends to us all, and John Soltis, our ‘spokesman’ who played basketball for Westminster.

Chally & Hall awaiting instructions from Ken

While Ken had planned a number of activities for us – Top Golf, bowling and attending a comedy club show, most of the entertainment came from the recalling of stories and antics from our college days.  Listening to them would make one wonder if or how this group ever made it through college, much less enjoy any success after it, but indeed this was actually a very accomplished group:

Ken ‘Little Poison’ Poulsen – running back; after graduation joined the Marines, was a Bombardier/Navigator in a A-6 jet during the Viet Nam war.  Earned Master Degree in Education and ultimately became Superintendent of Schools in the Sacramento area, now retired with two homes in Arizona, one in the desert, one in the mountains.

Terry ‘TC’ Callahan – tight end; after graduation he was drafted into the Army and became a combat medic seeing lots of action in Viet Nam.  After the service he earned a Masters Degree and worked as a Probation Officer and did background investigations for the Department of Defense. Retired, he now has two homes in Utah, one just south of Salt Lake City, the other in St. George.

John Soltis addressing us at our ‘Awards Banquet’

Joel ‘Herbie’ Hall – running back; joined the Marines after graduation and flew helicopters  (Huey gun ships) in Viet Nam receiving 28 air medals.  He then had a 32-year career with the 3M company.  Now retired in the Atlanta area and has a second home in Jensen Beach, Florida.

(Editors note: I wrote a previous blog on the above three guy after we all met in Vegas in 2017 – here’s the link in case you want to read more.  https://fromabirdeyeview/?p=6648)

John ‘Tiger’ Horan – wide receiver; after graduation became a Navy officer and was a Bombardier/Navigator in an A-6 jet and remained in the Navy retiring after 23 years as a Lieutenant Commander.  John is retired and living in Kanab, Utah and teaching a high school aviation technology class.

Mickey ‘Mick’ McBride – lineman; received Masters Degree in Educational Administration, was a teacher and coach and ultimately retired as high school principal

Steve ‘Hands’ Harmon – wide receiver; Steve transferred to Cal State Hayward where he earned a Ph D in Public Health and now teaches at the University of Utah and works for the Veterans Health Care Administration in Salt Lake City.

Ken, Duffy, Horan & Mick ‘telling lies’

Ed ‘Coop’ Cooper – running back; graduated with a business degree and went on to earn a Masters Degree from the University of Utah.  Ed  worked for Martin Marietta for 38 years, the last 25 has a Regional Sales Manager.  He is now retired in Salt Lake City.

Kent ‘Kicking Lawyer’ Holland – lineman; after graduation became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, then attended law school at the University of Pacific and continues to practice law in Salt Lake City.

Dave ‘Electric’ Chally – friend & fan; after graduation he worked for NECA (National Electric Contractors Association) in northern California, where he grew up, then moved with the company to Spokane where he became Executive Director for the Pacific Northwest for NECA; he is still working for them in Spokane.

John ‘Duffy’ Soltis – basketball player and orator; graduated with a degree in Sociology, which he didn’t know what to do with so ended up going to law school in San Diego and returned to Utah with his law degree and worked in various positions with the Salk Lake County District Attorney’s office.

A pretty impressive group if you ask me!  And that doesn’t include some Westminster ex-players who didn’t attend the reunion, like:

Parsons at the ‘First Supper’

Craig ‘Doc’ Wilkinson – receiver; graduated with mathematics major and minor in physics and chemistry, joined Army Reserves with the 328th General Hospital Unit, went on to earn medical doctor’s degree from University of Utah and has practiced general and vascular surgery in Salt Lake City for 35 years.

Steve ‘Sugar Bear’ Kazor – lineman; BS degree from Westminster and a Masters Degree from Kansas State.  Coach in the NFL for the  1985 Super Bowl Chicago Bears and continues to work in the NFL in player personnel.

Scott ‘The I’ Iverson – basketball player; served in the Marine Corp prior to coming to Westminster, where he earned a BS degree and then a Masters Degree from BYU.  He taught and coached high school in Utah and Arizona.  He is now retired in Utah

I’m holding my Worst Bowler ‘Stay with Football’ Award’!

But the three nights in Vegas weren’t about accomplishments, it was about hilarious stories and the rekindling of old friendships that could never die.  I came away with pride of being a member of this group and with a big smile on my face thinking of the stories about our days as the fighting Westminster Parsons.

Not so terrible to be in your 70s!

 

 

MARCH MADNESS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

If you live in a sunbelt state you would know what month this is without looking at a calendar.  The tip off is increased traffic, a shortage of dinner reservation slots and thousands of white legs in Bermuda shorts.  All that adds up to one thing, it’s March – the month of Spring training for baseball.  Both Florida and Arizona get swamped with visitors this month and then – like magic – they dissapear on April 1.  Last year more than 1,737,975 people attended Spring training games in Arizona’s Cactus League!  Oh sure, some die-hard fans may have attended 20 games or more, but still, that’s a LOT of people coming to the desert in a short period of time.  According to the official Cactus League stats (and isn’t baseball just full of those?), the biggest number of fans visit from Chicago to see their beloved Cubbies.  More than 16,000 people showed up for just ONE game last year.  And who can blame them when the average temperature here is 75 and back home…well, they’re putting on six layers of clothes just to walk the dog.

Baseball is not the only event that March brings.  Seemingly every school in the United States is on Spring Break over the next four weeks.  Normally Arizona is not as inundated as Florida, given that we don’t have sandy beaches or a long history of hosting drunk college students.  But this year it seems there are more kids visiting grandparents in our community.  Maybe with the corona virus people have cancelled trips to Disneyworld or Atlantis...who knows?  Grandma and Grandpa’s house sounds like a good alternative – it’s free and less germ-ridden than your average hotel room.  I expect that for the next month our community pool is going to need extra chlorine for those youngsters who confuse the pool with the restroom.  Our gym will also be packed – mostly with college-age kids who run on the treadmill at speeds that I could only dream about.  God, they make me feel old.  They will also be talking on their phone and – most disturbingly – not wipe off the equipment after they use it.  When they leave at the end of the month we will have been exposed to every virus currently circulating in our institutions of higher learning.  Personally, I’m skipping the gym this month – I can’t find a hazmat suit to fit me.

Finally, for some reason the golf clubs around here have conspired to schedule all the big invitational tournaments this month.  Okay, granted, I don’t have to play in our club’s event, but it’s really fun and at least it’s an outside activity.  Plus it’s always fun to bet on the same people who win every year.  In the golf world these people are known as “sandbaggers”, meaning they artifically inflate their handicap and and then shocked – SHOCKED! – when they shoot an unbelievely low score in the tournament.  So betting on them to win is the only way to feel good about these people – they are so reliable that every year there is money to be made on their shenanigans.  I’m just hoping that my score isn’t so bad that I’ll wish I had been quarantined with the corona virus instead.

The good news is that this March will bring two great events – this week we will be hosting brother Bob and his wife Linda and next week is St Patrick’s Day.  It’s fortuitous that these two events will happen so close together because not only are we excited to spend some time with Bob and Linda, but just to add to the anticipation, my brother is the only member of my family who will share a Guinness with me in salute to the old country. That almost makes up for all those white legs we’ll be spotting this month.  On my visit to Ireland I was told that Guinness is considered medicinal, packed with vitamins and minerals.  That’s probably a lot of blarney.  Still, maybe the CDC should put it on their “recommended” list, right up there with hand sanitizer.  After all, it’s probably just as effective and it’s a heck of a lot easier to find.

Macklin Makes Dramatic Debut

by Bob Sparrow

Wednesday, Feb 26,2020

The Borrelli Family pre-Macklin

5:45 a.m.  Daughter, Dana Borrelli, 39 months pregnant, checks into Huntington Hospital in Pasadena to be induced

7:35 a.m.  Linda and I call Dana to see how she’s doing.  She says not much going on, she feels fine, contractions are still far apart

8:30 a.m.  We ‘Face Time’ Dana; she’s resting comfortably, still no urgent contractions.  We tell her we’ll be coming up to check in on her later this morning

10:45 a.m.  Linda and I, along with Addison, Joe & Dana’s two-and-a-half year old daughter, whom we’ve had for the evening, depart Orange on our way to hospital in Pasadena

10:57 a.m. We get a call from Dana’s phone, but it’s not Dana, it’s husband, Joe.  He says he’ll call us right back, that there is “Something’s going on”

We’re now in panic mode, not knowing what this ‘something going on’ is

11:05 a.m.  Joe calls us back to tell us that 10-12 hospital personnel just rushed in and quickly wheeled Dana into surgery, with one nurse holding in the umbilical cord that was ‘presenting itself’ first.  The umbilical cord coming out first is not good – it is a condition called ‘umbilical cord prolapse’ and can cause significant complications during a delivery if the cord is pressed and collapsed by the baby’s head, thus compromising the oxygen supply to the baby.  Joe is not allowed into surgery, he tells us, “This is not good”.

We are now past panic mode and are still about 30 minutes away from the hospital.  We tell Joe to give us an up-date as soon as he gets one.  He nervously agrees

Macklin Carmine Borrelli

11:37 a.m. Joe calls to tell us that Macklin is here; born at 11:11 a.m. and that both he and Dana are fine, that an emergency C-section was performed.  We were told later that because of the speed with which the surgery had to be done, that Dana lost about 2 liters of blood.  As a point of reference, an average adult has a total of about 5 liters total in their body, although pregnant women can have around 7.5 liters.  Still a lot of blood loss made Mama Dana look a bit pale.

11:45 a.m.  Linda, Addison and I arrive at the hospital and wait in the waiting room about 30 more minutes before Joe comes to get us to see Dana and Macklin.  Dana, always the warrior, says, with a smile, that all is good, and Macklin, while smaller than anticipated at 6 lbs 7 oz, is healthy.

Linda and I give a big collective sigh of relief that mother and baby are healthy and happy.  The birth of a child, I have always believed, is one of the most special miracles ever, even though it sometimes come with a little too much drama.

A special thank you to the amazing staff at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, who sprung into action immediately to save the day.

Whew!!!!  All’s well that ends well!