I turned 35 last year. For those who don’t know me all that well, 35 is my favorite number. Thank you, Frank Thomas!
When I started posting on the high school sports message boards (20 years ago!!!!) #35 became the “handle” that I used as my message board name on NCIpreps, EdgyTim, Turk’s, the Peoria Journal Star boards, etc. So when #35 turned 35, I heard a lot about it.
Turning 36 is a weird one. I’m closer to 40 than 30. I’m closer to 50 than 21.
But you know what? Every friend that I have met through all of those years of message board posting STILL consider me to be a kid at the ripe age of 36.
I got an early birthday gift that wasn’t meant to be a birthday gift, but it sure felt like one! I covered a baseball game Tuesday between Sterling and United Township, my first spring assignment of the season, and one of the now-rare, non-football sports assignments I help the sports staff with, due to my magazine work commitments. It was great to be back “in the feel” of covering something, being attentive to the game, chatting with sports friends, etc. Thanks, Ty, for the opportunity.
I do miss covering sports and the interactions with everyone. I’d attend events, but 1) Most nights I get too tired to do anything at night, and 2) – and most importantly – when people see me somewhere, they are going to automatically assume that I am covering it (and get confused when they don’t see my byline the next day).
I’ve been busy trying to put the next edition of River City Living together, and I’ve been having to make changes to my plans often. I will have made probably 7 or 8 trips to Clinton in the last 3 weeks, which doesn’t happen often.
Indeed, something came up where I had to make a trip for a small something on my birthday. That’s disappointing, yes, but I turned it into part of the birthday mini day-trip experience.
I planned to go to Clinton and Davenport to shop for some more baseball cards. My stop in Clinton ended abruptly when the place I get cards from was closed due to inventory counting. Bummer. This meant I took lunch earlier than I expected, and that was at a place in Albany that I had to revisit to tie up a couple of loose ends for the story I’m working on about it.
Then it was off to Davenport, where I had visited a couple of card shops recently. If you read my posts, you would know that I didn’t feel all that well after my last trip – and it was my fault for not being prepared correctly. However, I changed up my approach and was able to work well with them to search for what I was looking for.
One place resulted in a pair of List finds: a 1955 Bowman Mickey Vernon and a 1963 Post Cereal Maury Wills. The Vernon inches me closer to completing his “career team arc” (1 card of a play for each team he played on), and the Wills documents the incredible 1962 season he had as the first player in MLB history to steal 100 bases. Wills’ rookie card technically is in this year, but he has a very strange history with baseball cards (another post for another time). Also picked up were my first cards of Hall of Famers Casey Stengel (1963 Topps, as a Met), and Enos Slaughter (1959 Topps, as a Yankee). There were a couple of others that I found, but decided to hold off until another visit when I have more money to spend.
The other place has cards deep in boxes in the back room of some I may be looking for, and I’ll plan some stops for a few hunts. This one resulted in four List finds. Two of them were a 1980 Topps Bobby Bonds and a 1970 Topps Tommy Davis. The other two were in the oddball SSPC set from 1976: Willie Davis and a Duke Snider card as an Expos coach. The SSPC box was an interesting find, I plucked a couple of more cards from there, but apparently someone else snared the No. 1 card in that set that I was looking for, the Harmon Killebrew Royals card. I’m hopeful that I can clean up on some commons and semistar finds there in next visits.
When the baseball card searching was over, I had some daylight time to check out the Fort Armstrong historic site at Arsenal Island. Afterward, I visited the grave site of a friend of mine in East Moline – a former colleague on the Illinois High School Glory Days website that I help out with. Another stop was to the front of the Quad-City Times building, where statues of Davenport icons stand – including one of longtime “noosepaper” man Bill Wundram.
It got late, and I wanted to take a stroll on the Davenport Sky Bridge, a long walkway over a couple of streets with an inside and outside that lights up in different colors over the night. Unfortunately it was closed for repairs, so I didn’t go up there. I did get the pic above, though.
Not all birthday trips are going to be perfect, and that’s alright. The best part of it all was getting away from all of the things that stress me out and I could do what I WANT to do, as opposed to what I NEED to do.
Back to work today. I have to write up a story on a baby boutique in Fulton today, and then spend Saturday back in Clinton for research on another story. June’s Lake Lifestyle work begins on Monday, and planning for the Lee County “small town” magazine and another Business Journal will commence next week as well.
When’s my next vacation?