She's lying on the couch, still in her Cubs tee-shirt. I'm sitting on the leather chair typing to the three or four of you while Chuck Todd talks on "Meet the Press." It's a ritual. Alexis makes eggs over medium with bacon (don't tell daughter Jeanie) and I make whole wheat waffles on the iron that I got for my birthday.
Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. The most important topic around here though is that the Cubs won the pennant last night. Kyle Hendricks unexpectedly out-pitched the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs' Wilson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo homered. And Wrigleyville went crazy on TV. Alexis shed a tear, and one tear may have roamed down the side of my cheek to the pillow.
Cubs win. Cubs win. Here's the lead from Andrew Seligman of the Associated Press this morning:
"Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series."
I wonder if my dad shed a tear at his house a couple blocks away when the Cubs turned an Addison Russell to Javier Baez to Anthony Rizzo double play to close out the game. I wonder if my aunt Debbie and uncle Danny did, and cousin Phyllis and my sister Jennifer. Almost my entirely family on both sides is Cubs fans. Many of us have lived and died a whole lifetime without seeing a World Series at Wrigley Field.
And I'm pretty sure that's how it is with most Cubs families in northwest Indiana. How many people have lived and died between World Series at Wrigley Field? You can expand the question to - How many people have lived and died Cubs fans in northwest Indiana between World Series victories?
That's everyone the three or four you know who lived and died. The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. No one I know and no one you know and no one who calls the radio station was alive then and could remember it. We used to have a caller named "Elephant" who claimed to be there for the "homer in the gloamin" by Gabby Hartnett in 1938. He died a couple of years ago. Elephant's recollection was as far back as any caller has ever gone with Cubs memory. No one knows how to act. We miss our relatives who have lived and died without ever seeing a World Series victory on the north side. That's every relative who was a Cubs fan that you have who lived and died. Sad.
That became apparent to me this morning... and for the most mundane of reasons. I woke up before 5am as always and took the dog for a walk around Wicker Park with the sun rising over the golf course. That's about as beautiful and ethereal as it gets in the Calumet Region. There's this one guy who walks around like me and the dog before sunrise. It's in the dark. He carries a flashlight. He's tall, black, smiles at me every time we pass. I call him the "unknown walker."
I came back and fired up the waffle iron and threw some bacon on the fryer... and went to crack some eggs. Oops. No more eggs. Gotta go to the store.
Now I know what you're thinking - "You went to Strack & Van Til's, JED. They're one of the strongest supporters of your radio station WJOB."
I'm gonna confess right now. Instead of driving the extra few blocks to Strack's, I slipped into Jewel undercover. Like "the unknown walker," I pulled my hoodie over my head so no one could tell that I was shopping at the competition. At checkout, there was an Anthony Bryant tee shirt that I almost bought until I flipped the price tag over. $24.95. I'm not kidding. Everybody must cash in.
On the way out of Jewel, where I shopped many times with my mom, who died in 1988... there were "Cubs bouquets." Red and blue carnations in a bunch. Fresh. Someone got up really early and delivered Cubs bouquets to all of the Jewels in the Chicago area. Dedication. Gratitude. Capitalism.
I had this flash - "Buy a bouquet, pick up your nephews and go to your mom's grave in Schererville and do a Facebook Live video. Here's what you can say -
'I know this is gonna look a little bit morbid. But I want you to think of what we're about to do as a way of getting closer to a Cubs fan who died way too early and without ever seeing a World Series at Wrigley Field.
'Here, Jack, you place the flowers on the grave.'"
And in this imaginary Facebook Live video, we - Jack, Alan and I - get down on our knees and place a "Cubs bouquet" at the grave of my mom who died nearly 30 years ago never meeting grandkids Jack and Al or any other grandkid. It's a way of connecting. We are connecting, in this imaginary Facebook Live video, across generations, death, rebirth and the Cubs. It's beautiful and sad.
If I buy two Cubs bouquets, then we could drive to Hammond a couple blocks from the radio station to a cemetery that holds my grandpa Dedelow. We could play out a similar scene at his gravesite and do a similar Facebook Live video. My nephews would do it. They're young enough to still think that I'm one of the coolest guys in the world. They wouldn't even judge when, at my mom's grave and my grandpa's, my eyes moistened up and a single tear dropped on the red and blue carnations.
Do you think that I'm the only person talking marmsy about the Cubs winning the pennant? Not a chance. All sorts of people openly wept on national television as Joe Buck commented on it on Fox, which got a real bonanza by the way as the Cubs won the pennant. The Cubs winning and the accompanying outpouring is not something I expect you to understand if you have always lived outside of the 8-million strong in the Chicago metropolitan area.
While Alexis and I watched the celebration on our couch, daughter Jackie who lives a few blocks from Wrigley Field texted that she went down to the celebration but didn't stay. Just too many people. Too many people celebrating an event that was 71 years in the making. Another Thousand Words in 22 minutes. Nice.