It's Sunday morning and quiet as could be except for a few birds chirping about the arrival of Spring. It was right about this time on a quiet Sunday morning 44 years ago that my friend Mark Porter lit off a pack of firecrackers in our basement on Madison Street. Porter was sleeping over. My dad came running down the stairs -
"Are you f---ing nuts? It's Sunday g--damn morning," my dad yelled. He rarely cussed. He still rarely cusses. When I had him on the radio on Friday morning, I didn't have to worry like I do with some people that he was gonna cuss, which would be a violation of the FCC code.
It was cool to have my dad on the air. He remembered the starting lineup of the Morton High School 1957 basketball team. He's set to turn 80 this summer and we'll probably have a party. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, he plays full court basketball.
On Tuesdays, it's at Elliot School in Munster. On Wednesday, it's Merkley school in Highland. On off days, he goes to a dome to practice with his buddies for the upcoming softball season. They travel the country looking for other 80-and-over teams to play.
White Castles and
sweat smell kind of
the same the next morning
in your car parked sideways
on the driveway.
I'm sure that my dad knows by now that Mark Porter died. The Porters live about halfway between where I'm sitting now and where we grew up on Madison behind Munster Lanes and Arby's. That's where Porter lit off the firecrackers. When I popped up from a deep sleep, I saw him laughing so hard that he was keeled over on the stairs. That is how I'd like to remember Mark Porter.
Alexis and I were driving southbound on I-65 last night on our way to the American Heart Association gala. My phone dinged. It was Dave Kusiak -
"Sorry to tell you but Mark Porter passed away."
You need some new
This reaching under the
covers after the news
is getting old.
The texts kept coming all night long. I attempted to hold up my end of the small talk bargain, but it didn't really work.
... In other distressing news, I sat through the sentencing of a domestic terrorist this week. It was in the federal courtroom of Judge Joseph Von Bokkelen. A guy by the name of Eric Krieg mailed a pipe bomb to a local attorney named Dave Westland.
Attorney Westland gave a victim impact statement to make you cry. He described in detail what it was like for his four kids to live for 35 days not knowing who wanted to kill their dad or why. His daughter took a cop to dance class.
Dave's wife, Nicole Bennett, is, as she said in her impact statement, "not only Dave's wife but also his business partner." I don't know what to do with this other than to tell the three or four of you that this family for 35 days lived under horrifying conditions. Then police arrested Krieg, an engineer at the BP Whiting refinery.
The Krieg part of the story is equally distressing. He built a pipe bomb in his basement and on his lunch break drove to the East Chicago post office and mailed it to Westland's home. It blew up in the post office, injuring a pregnant woman.
Krieg also mailed a bullet to a guy who works for the city of Hammond.
"The next one's for the back of your head," the note read.
Don't try, he said,
laughing in his
grave burping. Don't cry, she
said, standing at the bed
I have been trying to make sense of the Krieg bombing since it happened in late 2017. But I can't. Nobody can. One day Eric Krieg is a seemingly normal guy living in Munster with a wife and three kids going to work making a hundred grand at BP. The next day he's a pipe bomber, a domestic terrorist, sentenced to 29 years in prison. This story will haunt me til the day I die. You too, probably.
.... My nephew Alex Kovachs and his dad, John-Mark, came in from Northport, Long Island, this week to visit Purdue. Alex has narrowed his choices to Purdue and Michigan. We are a Purdue family. Two nights in a row the Dedelow-Foreit clan got together in the kitchen where I'm writing this to you to eat huge meals and convince Alex to become a Boiler. It is a beautiful thing when my brother's family and my sister's family and all their kids, along with my dad and his wife Kalli, get together for easy mid-week dinners. Eventually these get-togethers will wind down. Kids will get older, start their own families, move away. These days will be gone. I miss them already.
That's about it for now. I am stunned about Porter. I am stunned about a domestic terrorist in our midst. I am pissed that Purdue didn't play last night in the final four. Instead, Virginia moved on in miraculous fashion once again. They had all but lost the game when Kyle Guy, who is from Indiana, got fouled with no time on the clock. He hit three free throws to win 63-62. It could have been Purdue. It should have been Purdue.
One face to the
world, one face
to yourself. One dream to
unfurl, one dream on a
shelf. This is all.