Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My, how times have changed. I checked Twitter this morning, as I often do in the morning, to see what's trending.

In Britain, they weren't worrying about #Brexit. Instead, Brits were bemoaning their men's soccer team loss to Iceland (yes, Iceland) in the Euro tournament.

But what caught my attention more was the outpouring of thoughts and support for Pat Summitt and her family.

Summitt coached Tennessee women's basketball for what seemed like forever as she was only 22 when she was hired for the job. Her accomplishments in the sport are almost without comparison.

But she was forced to step down several years ago when she was diagnosed with early onset dementia - Alzheimer's type. She passed away overnight at age 64.

My mother, Loverta, was about Pat's age when she began showing symptoms of the same disease. In fact, my sister Julie and I can confirm first realizing the severity of the illness when mom attended the 2005 NFPW Conference in Seattle with us.

Of all things, I had scraped my leg on the rope playing sand volleyball and the scrape had become infected. I don't know how many times I told mom that it was a scrape from volleyball, but she kept insisting it was poison ivy. This happened repeatedly during the trip.

Before we left for Seattle, mom had loaded one of those weekly pill containers to take on the trip. Fortunately we noticed it had disappeared and packed another one before leaving for the airport. To this day, that set of pills has never been found. We don't know where mom put it; we had even checked the trash cans throughout the house.

My mom passed away in 2012 at 74 - far too young - and the same is true of Summitt, a great lady and a great coach.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Memorial Day weekend 2016 was memorable for me in more ways than one.

First, my sister and I took Thursday and Friday off work. We spent Thursday flying to Charlotte, N.C. As our flight left Omaha late due to storms, we arrived at Chicago Midway in time to dash from the B Terminal to Gate A4A in the A Terminal. If you've never been to Midway, this gate, and Gate A4B were Southwest Airlines' solution of how to fit more gates into an airport where there is no more room to do anything. Southwest's flight attendants even felt the need to explain why the pilot hit the brakes so hard when we landed ... it's OK, we get it - short runway.

On Friday, we toured the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which was delightful. As fans of NASCAR since cable TV brought the races to all segments of America, and not just the South, in the 1980s, we were thrilled to tour the Hall. Even if you are not a race fan and find yourself in Charlotte, the tour is well-worth the $20 or so admission price.

On Saturday, we rested up so that Julie would have enough energy to last for 400 laps during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Sunday, we were treated to lunch with two of our favorite NFPW friends, Meg Hunt and Rebecca West, who made the drive up from South Carolina. We let them select the restaurant, and they did not disappoint.

Peace -N- Hominy, http://www.peacenhominy.com/, provided just that as well as some delicious BBQ. If you're in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend stopping by, but be aware that the post-church crowd on Sunday will fill the joint.

It was also a reunion of sorts for me with Meg and Becca as I first met them at the 1995 NFPW Charlotte Conference when I was a first-timer. They became lifelong friends after agreeing to take me to Charlotte Motor Speedway while they were out running errands one evening even though they aren't race fans. And they had just met me. Yet I was privileged to meet Meg's sister Susan and nephew Jacob, a mere babe at that time, during one of our stops.

That has made them my lifelong friends, even if I have never been able to convert them into race fans!