Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye Grandpa

Me and my Grandpa in 2007

My Grandfather died on Saturday, October 24, 2009. When Grandpa was in his 70’s and 80’s I did not want to lose him. I asked God to let Grandpa stay around a while. God answered my prayers and let Grandpa live till he was almost 102. Better yet, God let Grandpa stay mentally strong, so I was able to converse with him for most of his remaining time.

I spent a lot of time with Grandpa and Grandma over the last 20 years. I would drive down from the Twin Cities to their rural, small town home, and would sit and visit with them for hours. They would take me out to supper, and we would return home to watch the six o’clock on channel 12. I would leave to sound of the words “Thanks for Coming!”

Once at the restaurant we were eating at, an older waitress told me I would be thankful for taking the time to come down and visit with my Grandparents. She was right. I will always cherish those times and I am very grateful to had them.

Grandpa had a dry sense of humor. When I would go down to visit him he would often greet me with the line “are you lost?” I was not lost of course, and come to think of it I am not lost in my life either thanks in part to Grandpa whose strong Christian values and moral strength helped shape me for the better.

I will remember the line “are you lost” because it was how he greeted me when I went to see him on Thursday, Oct 22nd. He was starting to fade badly. Those words were the only real words other than “yes” and “no” that I got from him. I told him how much I loved him, and thanked him for all he had done for me. I did not know if I would ever see him again.

I did see him again that Saturday, but this time it was obvious it would be the last time. He could not respond to me, he did not have to. Grandpa had done enough for me. I will now do something for him. This Thursday I will help carry him to his final resting place. It is the least I can do for him.

Grandpa spent years telling everyone he disliked funerals where the dead person was endlessly praised as a great person. Grandpa would always tell my Mom and Dad that he wanted a simple funeral with little fuss made over him. Therefore I will end this post by not gushing about how great my Grandpa was. I will only state that I enjoyed my time with my Grandpa, and I am thankful to God for granting my wish that my Grandpa live for many healthy years; years I could spend with him and will always remember fondly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goodbye Metrodome

I have attended many Twins games at the Metrodome. My first game was in 1983. I attended 41 games in 1984 – most I would ever attend in one season. I attended anywhere between 5-20 games a season from 1985-1994.

1994 baseball strike alienated me from baseball. When the Twins threaten to move if they did not get a new stadium I was alienated all the more. I did not attend a game from 1995 to 2001. However, my love of the Twins had not died. When I read the now famous Sid Hartman Star Tribune column announcing the Twins were going to be contacted (eliminated) by major league baseball, I rose to my team’s side.

I returned to the Dome in 2002. A new group of players had made the Twins competitive again. I also returned to collecting autographs again, and made Twinsfest and Twins player appearance not to be missed events. For me the Twins have always been and will always be my number one sports team in Minnesota.

The Metrodome has been the home of the Twins for 28 years. I have so many memories. Among some of the more interesting:

  • I nearly ejected by the Minneapolis Police from a game because I was smoking (no smoking is allowed in the Metrodome!). Only one problem I have never smoked in my life. I was with a group of friends that day and they could not stop laughing at the thought that I – last person in the world anyone would think of as a smoker – was not only accused of but nearly ejected for smoking. To this day whenever I see one of those guys they bring this up and we laugh pretty hard about it. Of course, it was not funny at the time.

  • I saw Carlos Silva set the major league record in 2005 for few pitches thrown in a complete game. I actually did not know he set the record to till I got out to my car and listened to the postgame show on the radio. I did remember thinking during the game that Silva was really having some short innings. Indeed he was.

  • In 1985 I saw Kirby Puckett hit his first career home run. At the time no one, including me, had any idea how great Kirby Puckett would become. What a great thought to know I was there to see this legends first home run.

  • I saw Joe Mauer go 5-5 against the Dodgers in 2006. I realized then how good this guy was going to be.

  • I went to Game 2 of 1987 ALCS. It is the only postseason game I have attended. I have tried going to others, but either I could not get tickets or I could not get off work to go. Still I will always cherish this experience. I heard on the day of Game 2 that single tickets remained. I going to the University of Minnesota at the time and after class I walked all the way over to the Dome, and was surprised to get a ticket. I sat next to two obsessed middle aged female Twins fans. I loved every minute of the game. I can still hear the sound of the after game chat in concourse of “Sweep!”

This year I went to two games. The first was on a whim. I went alone, and was able to secure the best seat I had ever gotten. 15 rows right behind home plate. The game was against the Mariners. I went early and got to see the legendary Ken Griffey Jr. take batting practice. He did not disappoint putting on an impressive power display. The game was a big Twins win. I saw Justin Morneau crush a home run. I had a great time.

The second game I went to was an afternoon game. I went with my friend Joel. He prefers going to afternoon games, and we have attended many such games together. We sat in left field, which where I have sat many a time. We were on the end of the row just on the fair side of the foul poll.

Twins have photographers who go a around before the game taking fans pictures. You can go view the pictures on the Web. One of these photographers took a picture of Joel and me with the field in the background. The Twins won that game. I have that picture of Joel and me. I printed it out and my mother frame it. It sits in her living room.

I thought about going to one of the last game at the Dome, but decided that the game I attend with Joel would be my last at the Metrodome. Too many things went right that day. I decided to make my last Twins game at the Dome one with happy memories.

I liked the Metrodome because I always knew there would be game played. The Dome was easy for me to get to. I always was able to find affordable parking – sometimes even free parking. The sight lines left something to be desired, but the Dome was always a comfortable place for me.

I have attended outdoor baseball games in Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Houston. I look forward to outdoor in Minnesota. Still I will miss the Dome. It was the place of the Minnesota Twins greatest moments – World Series wins in 1987 & 1991. I will always remember the Metrodome not for it flaws, but for the good memories. Win Twins!