Extra Points: Giving Thanks
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
It's been almost two years since I joined Karen in the wonderful world of retirement and it's been nothing short of awesome.
Creating this Extra Points Blog allowed me to keep my hand in journalism, along with my guest columns on 97.3 ESPN's web site and ShoreNewsToday.com. I've also enjoyed my stint as the golf columnist for At the Shore and Atlantic City Weekly and look forward to teeing it up on our outstanding local courses in 2022.
Hopefully, you've enjoyed my "Tequila and Touchdowns" podcast, though you no doubt cringe at my crooning at the end of each episode. For maximum enjoyment, it's best to listen after joining me for a shot of Patron.
Your responses to my columns have been overwhelming. I received dozens, if not hundreds, of comments from readers about stories such as tributes to late Middle Township High School coaches Paul Yerk and Will Mendo; a challenging trip around Cape May for rowers Marty Franco and Ralph Atwell; a special reunion of the Lower Township/Cape May Whalers; and the tragic passing of teenaged lifeguard Norman Inferrera.
Many thanks to my advertisers, who have remained steadfast supporters for the last two years. And a special shoutout to all of you who have read my columns and listened to my off-key songs. Whether we have known each other for decades or have only met through social media, I consider all of you my friends.
The columns, podcasts and radio spots have left me plenty of time to engage in pleasures like cruising across the harbor on my SUP, bike riding through Cape May, running/jogging/walking/crawling on the Boardwalk - it doesn't count unless you touch the pole at the Cove - but more importantly playing with grandsons Hampton (5) and Graham (3).
Pretty soon, 3-week-old Nixon will be joining in the fun.
It's been a wonderful year, full of special moments that will stick with me forever. One of the most touching memories occurred last May, when Kyle and I took Hampton and Graham to their first Phillies game. Seeing the sheer wonder and awe in their eyes when we got Citizen Bank Park took me back to the 1960s, when dad took me to my first game at Connie Mack Stadium. And to the 1990s, when we first brought Ashley and Kyle to the Vet.
Of course, their favorite part was watching the Phantatic while eating ice cream out of a miniature batting helmet, most of which wound up dripping onto their new Bryce Harper t-shirts.
Good thing I was wearing sunglasses to hide the tears.
Later today, they'll be coming to our house for a lot of fun and a little turkey. As always, dinner will include an unopened bottle of Manischewitz as an homage to Karen's late mother, Shirley Newton, a slab of butter shape like a turkey, and the retelling of legendary family tales.
One story has made the rounds since 2007, the year Stormin' Norman passed away two weeks before Thanksgiving. While delivering his eulogy 14 years ago, I mentioned that one of dad's favorite things during the holiday was to eat the neck of the turkey. At the end, I said, 'Happy Thanksgiving, Dad, and we'll save the turkey neck for you."
Two weeks later, while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, Karen screamed from the kitchen while getting ready to pull out the neck and giblets.
The turkey had no neck.