June 9, 2014
Getting lost at one of the biggest summer festivals in a city known for it's summer celebrations might be a scary and terrifying thought, For me, it was just another day. On a family outing to Summerfest in downtown Milwaukee, my family and I unintentionally parted ways. While this might have scared other young children, I apparently took advantage of this freedom and made a new friend. While I remember little about the actual separations and the adventure that happened during that nearly two-hour excursion from my family, I do remember getting found. In a sea of people on a bright sunny day, who would find a lost little boy? An employee? Nope. A police officer patrolling the grounds? Not a chance. An elderly woman on a motorized cart. You got it! I recall being asked if I was lost, but not being concerned that that my answer was yes. Moreover, I remember sitting on this stranger's lap cruising around on the electric scooter searching for my family. I remember finally meeting up with them and being more upset that I had to leave my new friend and the scooter than excited about the reunion. Who says strangers are all bad?
June 3, 2014
Everyone has their one crazy uncle, but I challenge anyone to find one crazier than mine. Uncle Johnny, or UJ, as we affectionately call him has been quite an influence. His stories are legendary. Ask him about cockroaches in the sewers below Mader's in downtown Milwaukee. Remind him to tell you about how Lew Alcindor owes him a quarter. Ask him about his unplanned wedding and how that led to an altercation with Big Momma, or about his job at the newspaper and what he inserted into Bibles to give church-goers a surprise. Besides his amazing stories, he can instantly recall musicians and the year of specific songs without any hesitation. I'm not even talking about big hits. I'm talking about Gimme Dat Ding and Waterloo. If you're not sure about these songs, ask him. During our annual UJ weekends, he'd offer up interesting and usually offensive theories about life while sharing advice about the opposite sex that would make many adults blush. He always talked about being a perfect role model. Just do the opposite of him and you will be fine. While that may be valid, I'm blessed to have him and all his intricacies in my life.
My uncle is a collector and a hoarder. While he has a number of collections, there doesn't appear to be an organized way to showcase his quite unique taste. When my cousins and I visited his very cluttered apartment, we were excited to come across a drawer full of basketball cards from the 60's and 70's. Being avid sports fans and card collectors ourselves, we were very excited to hear that he would let us have a few cards to add to our own collections. My cousin, Tim, who was lucky enough to come across this drawer of cards went first and walked away with a Lew Alcindor and Julius Erving card. His younger brother Luke came next and was pleased to find an Oscar Robertson and Pete Maravich card. Seeing my two cousins walk away with cards of four hall of famers and legends of the game, I couldn't wait for my turn to look through the collection. As I began to search through the cards, my heart raced, That excitement quickly fluttered away as I was "lucky"enough to walk away with a Jon McGlocklin and two Dave Debuscherres. We all still talk about our "luck" to this day.