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Hunker Down with Kes

Luke Figures Out Mind Boggling Mystery

By Kesley Colbert
Posted 1/24/23

We were sitting in a local restaurant over the Christmas holidays. All of us! I was enjoying having the entire family together. It is a rare occasion when Josh, Jesse and their respective clans all come at once.

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Hunker Down with Kes

Luke Figures Out Mind Boggling Mystery

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We were sitting in a local restaurant over the Christmas holidays. All of us! I was enjoying having the entire family together. It is a rare occasion when Josh, Jesse and their respective clans all come at once.

Javier (Javi to his friends) Arreguin, wearing his perpetual smile, leaned over to take my order. I listened intently to all the specials before deciding on my usual hamburger. He was shaking his head and laughing his way towards the kitchen, not knowing he had reminded me of another Javier….

“Manuel Julian Liranzo Javier was a second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1960’s. He came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Pittsburg Pirates. We had to give up one of my favorite pitchers, Vinegar Bend Mizell to get him.

“I was a might upset when it happened…until I saw Javier go from first to third on a base hit up the middle. He was the best I ever saw doing that! He wore number 25 and he turned out to be a great fielder. He had the good, soft hands, an accurate arm and excellent range. He helped us win three pennants and two World Series in the ’60’s…..”

I trailed off before I got to the homerun he hit against Boston in the ’67 Series as I saw some very blank stares from six grandchildren. And Cathy was kinda grimacing from the other end of the table.

Josh broke the silence. “Dad, what did mom get you for Christmas?”

“Uh….well….give me a minute.” Gosh, it was something I needed I’m sure.

“Pajamas.” Cathy sprang to the rescue.

As the kids laughed at my short memory, “The House of the Rising Sun” sprang softy out of some unseen speakers.

“Most folks think Woody Guthrie wrote that song back in the Thirties. Actually, it had been around much longer than that. Woody did have a great recording of it.”

I was off and running in another direction, “Guthrie grew up in the Dust Bowl era in Oklahoma. He is best known for writing ‘This Land is Your Land.’ It is a classic, but my favorite is one he penned with his cousin Jack, ‘Oklahoma Hills.’ Actually, I think Woody wrote the song, Jack just changed a few words when he sang it to fit his country and western style.

“Woody wrote a couple of more I really liked, ‘Hard Travelin’’ and ‘Jack Hammer Blues.’ His real name was Woodrow Wilson Guthrie.”

When I paused to catch my breath, Luke, our oldest grandson, asked why I always ordered a hamburger when there were much better things on the menu.

“It reminds me of the City Café when I was a young boy about your age. They had the best burgers. And you would have loved the place. The multicolored Rock Ola Jukebox played nothing but country and rock ’n roll. Red and white vinyl covered chairs, with matching booths along the walls, were the order of day.

“You could sit anywhere you wanted, And Mr. Jim Stavely, the owner, treated us like grownup customers! We’d gawk at the giant jar of pickled pigs’ feet on the counter, but we never got up the courage to try one!

“Jack Cantrell and Red Melton were always there, smoking, drinking coffee and arguing about something. We’d linger over our burgers because we didn’t have anywhere else to go and we liked to hear Cora yell, ‘Order UPPP!’

“Mr. Jim had a sign on the wall behind the cash register, ‘I have a deal with the bank. They don’t make hamburgers and I don’t cash checks.’ Butch Dickson was the Café’s ‘coolest’ customer. You should have seen his ducktail haircut and his motorcycle boots with those half-moon taps—”

Cathy’s cough cut me off in midsentence.

Josh brought us back to the present by telling Jess about a golf shot I had hit the day before. “What club was that dad?”

“I don’t remember son, I think an eight iron. But it might have been a seven. The shot reminded me of a nine iron I hit just like it on the 18th hole at Carroll Lake Golf Course in a tournament in 1972. It was uphill over a giant sand trap to a green that leaned off the planet—”

“KK,” I couldn’t believe it, Luke had interrupted! “I think I have figured out your memory problem. You can’t remember what you did today, or what happened last night or what you received for Christmas two days ago…. I think a person’s brain is just so big. And you have cluttered yours with sooo much trivia from the 1930’s through the 1960’s and 70’s….that you don’t have any room left for today’s stuff!”

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes,
Kes

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