Where my love for sports came from
Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013
This time of year with Veteran’s Day just concluding, high school football season just wrapping up and high school basketball season on the horizon, my thoughts go back to my late dad whom I inherited my love of sports from and my late Uncle Tom who was killed in Salerno, Italy, in World War 11.
Although he had to drop out of school in the eighth grade to get a job and help support my grandmother and two aunts in his native state of New Jersey after my grandfather, for whom I am named, was killed in an accident at a very young age, my dad was smart and well read.
When I was growing up in Cairo, dad owned and operated a drive-in restaurant called Crine’s Drive In. My job was to make milkshakes and dip ice cream cones and my brother Tom, who served four years in the United States Air Force, cooked hamburgers and prepared chilidogs.
Dad passed away in 1974. From time to time, people still come up to me and tell me how much they thought of him and how much they enjoyed his hamburgers, chili dogs and milkshakes.
Dad was older than the fathers of most kids my age growing up. Born in 1898, he was 43 when him and my dear late mother got married in 1941.
He loved all sports, but like me, baseball was his favorite. He saw two late New York Yankee greats, Babe Ruth and Lew Gehrig, play at Yankee Stadium.
He also loved his country, but because he was born just before the dawn of the 20th century, he was too young to serve when World War II broke out and too old to serve when World War II broke out.
Uncle Tom was my mom’s brother. Although he died before I was born, mom and dad told me many wonderful stories about him. He was their hero and they wanted to make sure my brother Tom and I knew what a great guy and hero he was.
Getting back to my dad for a moment, many of my most fond memories as a child were of attending major league baseball games and college football games with him. He provided the inspiration that allowed me to go after my goal of becoming a sports writer in a great place like Bainbridge.
The World War II generation has been called the greatest generation, and they truly were. My dear late friend and Climax native Mr. Clifford Wells was wounded in World War II. He, Uncle Tom, and the other veterans of World War II were true heroes and I salute them all.