The Foosball Story

While attending the aforementioned party at Amy’s, I found myself standing across a foosball table from my soon-to-be-19-year-old daughter. After slamming a few balls past her poor goalie, she remarked, “what? …how? …when?” I wanted to answer, “you mean give you another example of how I wasted away my youth?” But, instead, I told the story. First, remember, if you’re talking to anyone under the age of 25 or 30, it’s incumbent upon you to remind them that during the summers there was no cable TV, no video games, no computers or internet. Sure, we watched our fair share of regular TV, but that was quite limited in comparison. So… There’s a small store-front on the corner of Bates & Colorado across the street from Woodward Elementary School (where four generations of Hudsons attended) that has seen many different incarnations in its day. In my youth it was a small pinball hall run by a old Greek guy. Inside were a few pinball machines and a few foosball tables. Now, the real game was pinball, and early on, we wouldn’t be caught dead playing foosball. I’ll tell the pinball story another time. After a summer or two though, the team aspect of foosball began to call us.

Russ and I have always been inseparable, but during those summers, especially so. We ended up being a team. He played back, I played front. We got pretty good; spent a lot of quarters, but never good enough to compete at the Electric Palace up at 44 & Hampton. That place was for pinball.

One memorable day stands out among the others during the little store-front era: It was a slow day at the corner, nobody there, just Russ and me. It wasn’t unusual to just sit out on the stoop in front and that’s what we were doing this day. In those days, the 1st District Police station was on Colorado & Holly Hills, so cop cars would go up and down Colorado all day long. This time, one stopped in front, the cop got out and told us that we weren’t allowed to sit out there. Loitering, you know. I was incensed. I remember a strong feeling of violation. This was my neighborhood, my school, my street. I can sit out on my street if I want to! So, we uttered an early form of “whatever,” and went inside.

The next day, same situation. We were sitting outside. The same cop pulls up angrily and starts coming towards us. We get up to go inside as if to say, “We’re inside!” Gus, the old Greek guy, bless his heart, who could barely speak English came over to our little crowd saying, “these good boys, these good boys!” But, to no avail. The police officer was…well, he was downright rude. So, after he threatened us with hard time, we left. We sulked around the house for the rest of the afternoon until my Dad came home. We proceeded to tell him the whole story and the cosmic unfairness of it all. Then, he did something that only in hindsight could I appreciate; he called the police headquarters and asked the cop who yelled at us to stop by the house to talk! (We had taken his name from his badge, you know.) Well, anyway, he didn’t let us talk to him. After a private conversation, Dad came back to tell us what they talked about. “Look boys, they’ve had some trouble with kids at that corner, they can’t tell the good kids from the bad kids by looking at them and he’s asked you politely not to loiter in front of the store. So what are you going to do?”


The SBD and me

SBD and MeLovingly called Slow But Deadly, the SBD Dauntless Dive-bomber saved the world on the morning of June 4, 1942. I’m not quite sure why I’ve always had a penchant for this little airplane. I guess because of the unlikely story. And then when it was replaced online mid-war, nobody liked the new planes, they wanted to go back to the Dauntless. This is in Pensacola and I go see it every time we go down there. It saved the world you know.

23 years ago today

Young Couple23 years ago, on a day just like today, in the hot, muggy St. Louis weather, we were married. And since Annette was 22 years old on that day, she has officially been married longer than she’s not been married. Strictly by calendar years, my turn comes next year. I bought an iPod Nano for an Anniversary gift. Since we’ve been working out every day now, we thought we could use one. By the way, this photo is not from the year we were married, but about 1989 or so while we were in Pensacola. Upon gazing at the photo, Emily made the comment “I don’t know those people.”

Today, everybody headed out to Cousin Amy’s house to welcome home her son Eric. He’s been in Iraq and will have to return there soon. Eric is in an Air Force Special Unit, but don’t ask me what he does. As close as I can tell he “goes and gets people and brings them back.” As I sat and watched him rough-house with his small cousins, I couldn’t help but think of a blog post I’d written two years ago. Soldiers put their lives on the line daily. They do this with the unspoken hope that the little ones we see at play today won’t have to. Yet, it is not up to them whether this happens or not. But they go. They go anyway.