before it’s too late and
you wind up standing
in the kitchen
holding a dishrag.
Rubuff your enemies.
Tell them to leave you
alone so you can fall
flat on your face
without their help.
in the backyard
that hasn’t been opened
Without you, there is no
Now. The world will
continue to careen through
space at a million miles
But it would do so at
its own peril. Who would
be there to get the mail
in his underwear?
Remember your mission,
as soon as you figure out
what it is and fix the
It’s a Sunday morning and before the sun comes all the way up, I wanna write something to the three or four of you. I wanna tell you something insightful and meaningful about My Radio Life. That’s why we’re here, right?
There must be magic in that black microphone
Sitting on the counter, waiting for words.
Without its existence, there would be no blog.
Last night, the Dedelows and Foreits got together to celebrate niece Maddy Foreit's 17th birthday. We gathered in the backyard around a table and sang “Happy Birthday.” I got to see my dad, my two brothers and one of my sisters. My wife Alexis and daughter Jackie came, and there were dozens of nieces and nephews, spouses, a few family friends. It was one of those moments that you don’t think about now as being so special, but you will when you get old and you shuffle instead of walk.
I wanna get old
I wanna have trouble
wiping my own ass.
I wanna look back
and not be so afraid
all the time.
I wanna get old.
I wanna belch without
I don’t know if this is a typical weekend of My Radio Life or any radio life, but it is a weekend.
Friday – As you know, I spent Friday being celebrated in my hometown. I walked from my house to the high school across Ridge Road and then into a big hall where my high school yearbook picture had been blown up and posted. This is a weird feeling. I forgot that I had once been young.
A senior named Connor escorted me to a welcome room where there was a ton of fruit and lunchmeat. Then we toured the school and wound up in the auditorium. That’s where I and others gave a speech and all that I could think of was what my buddy Billy Baker had said.
“This is a really big f---ing deal. Take it seriously.”
He’s right. If he hadn’t bugged the shit out of me all week to take it seriously, I would have shown up in faded jeans, possibly unshaven, with a really whippy attitude to make fun of all of my nieces and nephews in the school and maybe even the concept of a Hall of Fame itself.
Without Billy Baker’s admonition, I would have gotten up to the podium and just cracked one-lines to 1500 teenagers and then have been done with it.
There was an assembly at the school in the day. And then there was a formal induction dinner at the Arts Center. That’s where a bunch of my high school teachers and coaches showed up, including Steve Wrobliewski, who nominated me for this Hall of Fame, along with Bob Shinkan. Wrob, as he is known, coached football. Shinkan coaches baseball. Without the pre-warning of Billy Baker, I would have taken the podium at both places and just made fun of them.
Instead, I thanked them, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to call them two of the largest coaches Munster has ever had.
Something weird happened, also. Baker had been calling me all week –
“You can’t just get up there and crack jokes. You have to bring something serious.”
Okay, Billy, I get it. And I brought it.
At the official induction ceremony, with people in suits and a low clinking of glasses, I did my perfunctory one-liners. I mentioned coach John Friend – “he’s my high school football coach. When I ran into him in the bar, he said that when he saw that I was getting inducted he thought it was a misprint.”
When I finished my one liners, I turned serious. And it is this moment that has me weirded out all weekend. I talked about my mom.
Now this is a story that I never tell. I never talk to the three or four of you or anyone else about the long and winding death of my mom. It’s just something that never comes up and it’s something that I still don’t understand. But Billy Baker said I better bring something serious, so I went really, really serious.
“Now I’d like to offer up a thank you that is long overdue. And part of it happened right over on that football field we’re gonna walk across in a couple of hours.
“My mom suffered from cancer. And two weeks after she walked on that field as my little sister was selected as homecoming queen, my mom died. It was horrible. She left five kids and a husband.
“And to top it all off, we were broke. An American tragedy.
“But this community came together and supported us. It helped us find a place to live and supported us in many ways. We rebuilt, and in Region hillbilly fashion, we now all live in the same neighborhood and have sent our kids to the Munster schools.
“The community came together. And my getting into this Hall of Fame is a redemption of sorts. And for all of this, I just want to say thank you.”
Of course, this is a condensed version for the three or four of you. When I delivered it, there were a couple of pauses in which I had to take a deep breath so that I didn’t sob. This was surprising to me. I’m pretty sure I haven’t cried in a number of years, at least not in public. Emotions, as they say, washed over me. I was exposed. There is pain in my background, and it surfaced unexpectedly at the Arts Center on Ridge Road.
Luckily, I brought our video person, Christina Cortez, to capture the moment. One day I’ll watch it when I’m not so embarrassed. That won’t be soon.
In the meantime, as if to confirm that the five kids and the dad have rebuilt, we gathered for Maddy’s 17th birthday. My sister who won the homecoming queen three decades ago couldn’t make it. She lives in Long Island with three kids and a husband and big house. The kids have started school and she just couldn’t make it.
She probably would have come in for my induction if I had asked her to. But, as mentioned, I didn’t know it was such a big deal until Baker started haranguing me this week to take it seriously. Sorry, Allison (that’s my sister’s name), I would have made you come if I would have known that the whole thing was such a big deal and that I would tell our painful story.
Anyways, at Maddy’s birthday party, a few dozen of us Dedelows and Foreits gathered around a table in the backyard and sang “Happy Birthday.” I looked around. Little kids pushing each other, old people singing off key, my wife and daughter smiling, my brothers swigging Old Style. It was a moment of redemption. Clear and present redemption.