I left the Infiniti at the Bakers' and drove to the station to make sure there was enough in the account to cover the car. Dan McNeil and Vandy were getting ready for their show. We talked for a while in the parking lot.
Then I went to the BMV and registered the Infiniti and got a temporary plate. I ran into Mark Kozy. He runs Olympia Lanes in Hammond. He asked why we didn't televise the Times bowling tournament, which just ended. I didn't have an answer for that. We should have.
Then I drove to downtown Gary to give Alexis her phone. She had forgotten it on the counter.
Then I drove to Staples in Munster, where I bought printer ink. I've been printing out old journal entries from the 1980s and it takes a lot of ink. I stopped at Same Day Cleaners to pick up 14 long sleeve dress shirts, which take medium starch.
I had to stop at Peoples Bank in Munster at Fran-Lin and Columbia. Then I went to Lansing Cleaners to pick up my suit. When I got home, I started thinking about the Infiniti sitting all alone at the Bakers', so I walked there and picked it up. It took over an hour. Nice sunny day, not too humid. I may have gotten a suntan.
When I got home, it was already 3:45 pm. Time to meet Alexis, who was on her way home from work, at Ray Elbaor's wake at White Funeral Home in Griffith. It was sad. There was Ray laying in the coffin. And there was Sue, his wife, and their two children - Derek and Brittney. In the corner, a dozen of Ray's co-workers from BP told Ray stories. They laughed a few times and got dampening eyes. Like the men and women of BP, I can't believe our friend is dead. I'll have to stop writing to you soon so I can go to his funeral.
After the wake, Alexis and I skidaddled home and put our Sunday bests on for the Beaux Arts Ball, a black tie affair at the South Shore Arts Center. For dinner, I sat next to attorney general Todd Rokita. Like me, he went to St. Thom's and Munster High. Unlike me, he moved away to Indy a long time ago.
"So am I still a Region Rat?" the attorney general asked.
"Hell no. You're an Indy guy now. You're probably even a Colts fan."
Which brings us back to Ray. He was a huge Colts fan. He grew up on the East Side of Chicago. His dad was a cop. As Dave Kusiak said yesterday on WJOB - "You didn't have to listen to Ray more than 10 seconds to tell he was from the East side." Ray has several brothers. They were all at the wake shaking their heads.
"We grew up a year apart from each other." brother Kenny said. "His friends were my friends." Kenny motioned with his hands... like all East siders do.
Ray coached football at Griffith while Russ Radtke was there and won state in 1997. Ray coached at Andrean in 2004 when they won state. He reffed basketball (adequately) and football (really well). He was a weightlifter concerned with keeping your legs strong.
"Squats," he would yell at anyone who would listen. "You need to do squats."
I hate doing squats. Ray lived a couple houses away in Griffith and we would sometimes go on a run. He'd stop halfway and make us both do dips - step, dip, straighten up, repeat.
"I effing hate these, Ray."
"Squats. You gotta do squats," he would say then turn us around for another set of dips.
That should do it for this morning. I'm gonna put my suit on - the same one I wore last night to the Beaux Arts Ball - and before we go to Ray's funeral, I'm gonna go in the back yard and do a few squats. I might split my pants... or fall over. But no matter. Ray would like that. As long as you're doing squats, it's all gonna work out.