Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Truth hurts most from the mouth of babes

September 9, 2004

I can't say I wasn't warned.

I arrived at Friday's football game about an hour before kickoff. Seeing a number of toddlers tossing a football, I decided it was a photo opportunity. My reward was a request from a little red-headed girl, perhaps 3 years old.

"Can you take my picture Grandpa?"


No, make that:


I have a young niece and nephew who call me Uncle Elbow and whom I amuse with rowdy play and silly conversations. So I can imagine myself as avuncular.

But my mind's eye, which kindly drops 40 pounds and 10 years, is not prepared to accept grandfatherly.

The youngster must have planted a seed, however, because I awoke the next morning with an intense pain in my hip that I carried with me to the De Soto Days Festival.

For some, walking the pathways of the festival was a chance to meet old friends. For me, it was a chance to update past stories. There was Chris Dabbs, home from Fort Campbell, Ky., with a dislocated ankle. He spent a year in Iraq but was injured in a training exercise.

I also saw Pam and Mark Kreutzer. Their son Mark Jr. was home from Iraq briefly in July for the birth of his son. He can rejoin his wife, Amanda, and new son permanently when his deployment ends sometime between November and January.

I caught up with Kansas University freshman Kody Willnauer, whose senior year at De Soto High School was so hyperactive that he seemed to be the subject of weekly stories last spring. He's loving college, playing in a wood ensemble, but too busy to be in marching band.

My stay at Miller Park was extended because of my commitment to take a turn on the dunk tank. Although there were many politicians in town for the parade, there is no truth to rumors Kay O'Connor was spotted emptying a De Soto ATM on hearing that Sharon Zoellner was scheduled for the tank, or that Annabeth Surbaugh brought a sack full of softballs to dunk David Anderson.

Still, those two local leaders and other earlier victims had taken most of the juice out of the crowd by the time I ascended the wet seat. In truth, I did so 10 to 15 minutes later than scheduled because I didn't want to deny the family and friends of the young man ahead of me the chance to dump him. I can be very generous.

Those who missed the chance to dunk me won't get another.

My baptism to dunking confirmed what I suspected. I'm too old for such fun and games. I took four or five soakings before letting some eager kid take my spot. I wasn't making the park committee any money anyway, despite Barry Thierer's unappreciated attempts to drum up interest.

That's not surprising. Who would want to dump Grandpa?

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