I drove from Munster to Hammond, to Crown Point to Schererville to north Hammond to Portage to Highland and back to Munster. In between, I talked to more than 100 people. It’s the life of local radio.
The day culminated with Alexis and I having dinner at Tradition’s in Highland. We ran into seven different groups of people that we know, all of whom listen or watch the show. That’s pretty cool. It’s just how it goes.
- I stopped at my mom’s grave between pit stops. It was a perfect September day. Sunny, warm, slight breeze. There are flowers on about a third of the graves at the Chapel Hill Cemetery in Schererville, Indiana. They must be from Veterans Day last week. I don’t why – it wasn’t planned – but the words, “I still miss you, mom” emanated from my throat, like a groan. It has been 29 years since she died, and since I had a half hour to kill between stops, I visited my mom’s brass plate in the ground. And I’ll be damned if the same words that gurgled out of my throat 29 years ago didn’t surface again – “Miss you, mom.”
- On another stop between events, I visited the Coffee Cabin. That’s the place on US 30 just east of US 41 that looks like a real life log cabin. I Facebook Lived with Dana Conti, the owner. I even Facebook Lived with a woman in the drive-thru holding a Chihuahua on her lap. The woman played along well, telling the camera where to go to adopt a Chihuahua. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s radio. The Facebook Live video has 4,000 views.
- Alexis received an award for being a role model in the Hispanic community. US Senator Todd Young preceded her in giving a speech. Alexis told about growing up in Gary and East Chicago and not speaking English until she went to kindergarten. Todd Young said something that was a little surprising in that he is a conservative Republican from downstate Indiana – “We should not deport kids.” If you’re following the DACA controversy, it may make sense why this is surprising. Alexis almost cried in her speech when she said something to the effect of –
“As some you know, I haven’t been on the radio with my husband in a while. And I won’t be doing it in the future. That’s because I am closing my law practice and taking a job in the Lake County Superior Court, juvenile division. I’ll be the referee for Judge Tom Stefaniak.”
It’s what Alexis has wanted for a long time. Just as when I stopped at my mom’s grave today, I could have cried a little when Alexis announced it. I didn’t cry either time because I am a wisecracking hard guy… but I could have.
I also drove to Portage where the chancellor of Purdue gave a speech about PNW being ranked higher than ever before by US News and World Report. Or is it USA Today? I can’t remember.
I also at one point dropped in on the Hard Hat outing in Crown Point. That’s when union people get paired up with contractors and they drive around playing really bad golf. I have a lot of union support for what we’re doing at the radio stations.
I did miss an opportunity to drive around with Kurt Witham of the Ross Group. Last year, Kurt and I drove around from group to group and I would hit a free shot with whoever we came upon. I guess I’m a minor celebrity. Instead of actually playing in the golf outing, I can ride around drinking and making fun of people and then I can hit a putt with a group and drive away.
I didn’t see Kurt as all the carts pulled away, so I left. A few minutes later – while I was standing at my mom’s gravesite, actually – Kurt called:
“Jim, are you still here at the outing? I thought we were gonna drive around.”
Bad communication runs rampant in my life. It happened again later at the Portage Meeting Center of Purdue when I asked the chancellor if he and I were gonna maybe stop for a beverage afterwards. He went into a long story about having to go directly to Chicago to meet with some people from the AAFCB or something like that. It’s an organization that certifies business schools.
“I’m sorry. I was just being polite in asking where you’re going. I really don’t give a shit. I just wanted to know if we were gonna get a cold one.”
By the time I said that inappropriate comment, I could barely hold my thoughts together. Even though I didn’t do the morning radio show, I had still driven about a hundred miles in heavy traffic with ten different stops. And when you shake enough hands in a day and have enough conversations, you literally start to lose your mind. I’m not kidding.
… I did get an email from one of the three or four of you today. Do you want to read it? I won’t tell you who it’s from. Let’s just say he’s very opinionated.
Good morning Jim,
I am one of the "three or four of you" who regularly reads your blog. I find it an interesting and worthwhile read.
However...regarding the "three or four of you" phrase that permeates all your writing. In today's blog, the phrase or an offshoot of the phrase was used twelve times. That was nowhere near the record set in the Buncich (sp?) blog. I know it part of your shtick, or at least I think it is.
Had an interesting conversation… the other day and we were talking about raising the bar here in NW Indiana. Hopefully there are some aspiring journalists and/or business owner types reading and listening to you, because if they are, they can learn something. I just wonder what message is being sent when an intelligent Cal grad uses a phrase repeatedly in every single piece of his writing. Is that helping to raise the bar? Maybe you just don't care, I'll write whatever the heck I want to write. It's my blog and my radio station. If that's your thinking, who am I to argue?
I'm certainly not a former English major, that's for sure.
But.I do feel better having written this.
This is just one of many surprising interactions today. You know who else called me? – Lake County Councilman Jamall Washington. He wanted to debate me on something I said on the air. I made the observation that there is no youth movement in the Democratic party.
“I’m involved. I’m using social media to tell the truth.”
“Oh yeah. And how old are you, Jamall?”
I stand by my comments. I see no movement among youth to come to the Democratic party. Zippo, especially on college campuses here. It’s an extension of a debate that started with Verlie Suggs on Tuesday on the air. Part of it is that there’s a lot of people long in the tooth who are hanging onto their positions and don’t really give a shit about recruiting anyone else.
Actually, in terms of political involvement among youth in Lake County, there may be more action on the Republican side. I could go into why, but then again I really don’t care and, most likely, neither do the three or four of you. So let’s call it a night. It’s exactly midnight and that’s a good jumping off point.