Today's thoughts

Category: EULOGIES (Page 1 of 3)

Sad departures

Old Sport Shorts: Knight’s Out #2428

Bob Knight came to Bloomington to coach basketball just after I did, at an age only 11-years older. I watched many of the specials on his life after his death yesterday. The most touching moment was his return to Assembly Hall for the first time in twenty-years to be honored at half time of the Purdue game in 2020. I was watching from a Las Vegas Casino, just before Covid shut everything down. Otherwise, it may never have happened!

I only talked to him twice in my life. The first was a short exchange during the 1998 Maui Classic that my wife and I attended. The last was a fairly lengthy conversation at a private affair in the kitchen of a Texas politician that he supported back in 2012. It was the night that Neil Reed died, and his speech was abruptly interrupted by that urgent phone call. He quickly left the event without an explanation. A friend of mine who played for him remained close after graduation and attended several reunions with him and his teammates. He credits Coach Knight for getting his career started. 

He was adamant with his players about attending classes and ultimately graduating (most did), supported the I.U. library, and numerous other educational causes. He was both tough and personally supportive of those around him. He threw a chair, supposedly head-butted a player, and was involved in previously mentioned choking incident. It was hard to defend these actions, whether true or not. The public perception was that he was a bully with a quick temper, but privately he was much loved. He expected to win, but never crossed that line of inappropriate recruiting that was too often fashionable at the time. 

He was a winner and a brilliant basketball strategist and described by most as larger-than-life, although he did not appear that way at that only Assembly Hall public appearance. He looked fragile, as my father did later in life. as he tried to shake his fists to fire up the crowd. His complexion was ruddy and voice a bit hoarse, but it was still a great moment. We all knew that he wouldn’t be with us for long, and now just three years later he’s gone. He apparently made some Mike Woodson practices, spent time with Gene Keady, and began to show signs of dementia. We were lucky to see him again in Bloomington after the way he was treated during the firing. It should have been handled differently and, if so, it would already be Bob Knight Court with a statue out front that would all have been celebrated with him. Instead, it’s Simon Skjodt Arena, with videos of Knight’s numerous achievements, and the players now wearing a RMK uniform patch. 

Many more Coach Knight tributes will obviously come as time passes, but the last few decades have been miserable for me without his presence. These are honors that I care more about than he probably ever did, giving all the credit to his players while drawing all the attention away from them to allow them focus on winning, as they did a lot! We’ve gone through coaches like sand through the hourglass, have lost our winning edge, and can no longer find our way in even in the BIG Ten Conference, let alone become a factor in the national picture. Hopefully, Coach Mike Woodson, one of his numerous prodigies, can channel his presence and return the Hoosiers to former glory. He’s the future – Rest in Peace Coach -Knight’s Out!


Diary of an Adoptee: Edna #2386

Any remaining mysteries in my life have now gone to the grave. Sadly, I never got to meet either of my bio-parents, whose brief interactions brought me into the world 72 years ago (1951). I do feel a sense of loss, but it’s not like I have any memories. Cecil Banister was the father and I’ve been in the creek-side, log cabin home that he built in Scipio, Indiana. I’ve met his wife, daughters, and two grandchildren. They were responsive to my DNA results and have become part of my family. However, on Edna’s side my letters and texts have gone unacknowledged. I could probably go to the funeral and meet them all, but it was apparently not what she wanted. She was entitled to her privacy, obviously embarrassed with my role in her life. I was clearly a teenage mistake, but grateful for the life she gave me. 

I never really felt like she owed me anything. She made many sacrifices for my existence. First of all, she gave up attending high school and never graduated. She may have experienced some heartbreak from her relationship with Cecil when he went off to the Marines and soon married one of her classmates. She undoubtedly felt the wrath of her parents, fellow students, friends, church members and relatives regarding their disappointment with her promiscuity. We also don’t know how secretive this all was kept, as many young women in her position were shamefully hidden from those around them.

Maybe her parents never forgave her? Fortunately, for me, abortion was not a legal option, so the Suemma Coleman home put me on the right adoption path and quickly connected me with my loving Johnston parents.  Perhaps the pregnancy ordeal caused a rift in the Banister family since the couple were distant cousins from the same small town. Her side could have been pushing for marriage, while he might have never admitted to their affair. She was certainly not secretive as to his identity in the adoption paperwork that I have. He was apparently nowhere near the area when I was born, likely in San Diego, so there is also the possibility that he never knew I existed. I’ll never know if she had any regrets in giving me up after birth or ever thought of me on my birthday. These are a few of the many mysteries that died with her.

The following obituary gives a few more details about her life. Neither of her two husbands are mentioned – Poole or Davidson. I have no plans to attend the funeral but will be there in spirit, as I have been her entire lifetime. After reading this, I will also never see another carnation without thinking of her. Rest in Peace!

Edna Faye Davidson April 9, 1933 – September 4, 2023:

Edna Faye Davidson, 90, of Seymour passed away on Monday evening, September 4, 2023, at Covered Bridge Health Campus in Seymour surrounded by her loved ones.  She was born on April 9, 1933, in Shelbyville, IN the daughter of Ivan “Pete” Ruby (Taylor) Banister. 

Edna is survived by two children, Janet Davidson of Indianapolis, IN and Jerry (Patti) Poole of Seymour; eight grandchildren, Michael A. Davidson, Rachel Cravens, Justin L. Davidson, Jason Poole, Scott Poole, Tammy Poole and Ronnie and Rebecca Schroder; sixteen great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.   She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

Edna was preceded in death by her parents; two sons, Gary Lynn, and Larry Joe Davidson; three brothers, Charles Ray Banister, and Rex Banister, and Elmer Banister; and four sisters, Helen Barker, Evelyn Simpson, Eva Ferguson, and Wilma McDaniel. 

Edna worked for Jay C Plus Grocery Stores in Seymour for over forty years in the bakery department, retiring in the early 2000’s.  After retirement she enjoyed reading, tending to her flowers, especially her carnations and spending time outside watching the hummingbirds and squirrels.  Her greatest joy though was being able to spend time with her family especially her grandkids, great grandkids, and great-great grandkids.  She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Seymour. 

A celebration of life for Edna will be held on Monday, September 11, 2023, at 1 p.m. at the Voss and Sons Funeral Home.  Inurnment will take place at Riverview Cemetery in Seymour.  The family will greet friends from 11 a.m. until the time of services at 1 p.m. on Monday September 11, 2023, at Voss and Sons Funeral Home. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or to the National Scleroderma Foundation. 

Funeral arrangements for Edna have been entrusted with the Voss & Sons Funeral and Cremation Services of Seymour. 

To send flowers to the family or place a tree in memory of Edna Faye Davidson, please visit our Tribute Store.



Retirement is not without Hassles: Being Seventy #1783

This morning I’m waiting on the painter to do some touch-up work.  When you’re a home owner it’s always something. In this case, they’re covering the spots left by the drywall contractor yesterday. My neighbor is adding a lanai in their back yard, while two other homes are under construction diagonally across the street. A concrete truck is usually blocking the street, so there’s always a lot of activity in the neighborhood. By next year, it will be quiet at last with all projects complete on our block. Our next undertaking is the driveway and entryway paver additions that will take place next month. 

The first tune I heard this morning on my run was by the Rolling Stones. I guess it was to remind of yesterday’s death of drummer Charlie Watt. He was ten years older than me, but by turning 70 in a few days, I’m now in that danger zone. Hopefully, I’ve got at least a decade left in me. After all, Charlie led a substance abuse lifestyle that most people could only imagine. He survived 50 years as a Rock Star, joining the Stones in 1963 and was a heavy tobacco smoker. Mick Jagger is now 78, Ronnie Wood 74, and Keith Richards 77 going on 100. They have all defied the laws of Rock & Roll longevity. Rest in Peace, Charlie!

I’m looking forward to seeing some other aging musicians in the near future, including Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, and Jackson Browne. These are the artists of my generation who partied hard yet rarely let an audience down. They’ve now survived the pan-damn-ic and are on the road again. On the other extreme, I’m also buying tickets to a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood exhibition. It’s an animated children’s television series that is a favorite of my granddaughter. We’ll drive her to Tampa to see it next week, after my weekend birthday festivities are over. From old to young, there’s a lot to look forward to in my first month of being seventy. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Margie #1777

The Cubs finally broke their 12-game losing streak last night with a victory over the Reds. Happ made it happen with a 2-run home as Hendricks earned his league leading 14th victory of the season. The White Sox won their 70th game by beating the A’s. I’m headed to Tampa on Sunday to watch them play the Rays. However, my son may not join me due to a death in the family. We got together last night at Donato’s for dinner to discuss his plans to drive back to Indiana.

It’s difficult after a divorce to decide what is right. I haven’t gotten together with my ex-wife’s family for nearly 23 years. Her father remarried a woman affectionately known as Margie that was always a joy to be around. She had a son of her own but quickly became a step-mother to five daughters and somehow managed to win them all over. She was also very gracious to her husband’s first wife, the girls’ mother, often spending vacation time and holidays with all of them together. Margie made us all feel comfortable. Even though I haven’t seen her in several years, I will continue to miss her, just as I miss my ex-wife’s mother who is still alive. 

The fact that the funeral is so far away makes it easy to avoid. I will probably buy a tree in her honor and have it planted in remembrance. I feel bad that our good relationship ended because of a messy divorce. I haven’t been part of their family for over 23-years but still have many fond memories. The only thing I still don’t understand was why my son, their eldest grandson, was not part of their lives when they lived so close together here in Florida at least half of the year. I doubt that this was Margie’s doing. 

When you divorce your wife you also divorce her family and friends. Sadly, I now live in Florida near the area where we all used to get together every year. None of them came this year, while I watched the Fourth of July fireworks on the beach. They will all now be at a funeral that I will not be attending. This is my choice but I still wish I could see them all. Margie had the last few years of her life taken away by poor health. Rest in Peace. When I last saw her she was still filled with energy. This is the way I prefer to remember her. I’m sorry, dear Margie, you had to leave us so soon and I never got to say good-bye. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Rest in Peace #1560

We finalized the arrangements for the Florida home down payment yesterday, so expect the Stock Market to go up today and in the near future. We also got a call from the builder, promising to send photos this week and scheduling a video inspection with us this Friday. Things are slowly coming together for our cross country move. I naturally made a detailed list of things that need to be done. In addition, our trip plans for Russia were completed this morning with a small deposit refund coming our way. So far, it’s been a good week, with even a basketball victory last night.

I need to get out the apartment in the next few days for a haircut and to work with a notary on some financial paperwork. The move to Florida will save considerably on state taxes with these recent stock transactions, but we need to arrange for long distance signatures. On the fun side, a Zoom Leadership Meeting is on my agenda for Friday noon just after the builder meeting. This is our only option these days instead of traditional lunch beers together at Buffalo Wild Wings.  At least, as my friend noted, we won’t need to wear pants.

Sadly, my baseball buddy was in touch last night with news of the death of Vince Pesky at age 99. We were at his last two birthday parties before Covid interrupted this past year’s celebration. All three of us were a week apart in birth dates, but generations apart in age (99, 69, 52). Vince’s brother, Johnny, is famous for the Pesky Pole at Boston’s Fenway Park. The family is from Portland and Vince was the last living sibling. I also lost an 81-year old cousin in the last few weeks while his funeral was yesterday, so not all news has been good. He passed on Christmas Day. However, it’s a good life if you reach eighty, let alone nearly one hundred. Rest in Peace, my friends. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Shaken Not Stirred #1495

Old age is demoralizing. “Not for sissies,” as my mom used to quote Bette Davis. My hands shake badly, and with the added adrenaline of running, I have trouble typing every morning. Gravity is my worst enemy as extra weight settles into my waistline and jowls. Wrinkles and age spots pop-up everywhere and voices often sound like they’re whispering. My legs somehow managed to get me through run #4325, but it takes longer and longer to cover 3.1 miles every day. 

Losing your parents and friends is one thing, but when James Bond dies it really strikes a sour chord. He survived villains like La Chiffre, Mr. Big, Sir Hugo Drax, Jack Spang, Rosa Klebb, General Grubozaboyschikov, Dr. No, Goldfinger, Colonel Von Hammerstein, Hector Gonzales, Aristotle Krisatos, Milton Krest, Emilio Largo, and Scaramanga -to name a few – only to succumb to old age. He was only 90 – just 21 years older than me – Sir Sean Connery. He was also Indiana Jones’ dad, but hasn’t appeared in a film since 2003. I saw him once in the lobby of the Grosvenor House Hotel, his residence at the time, long before it became a Marriott property. I was the one wearing the tuxedo on this particular occasion, an awards presentation for my first wife. 

As far as I’m concerned, Sean Connery was the only one with a true license to kill, although the other talented actors that followed him were also entertaining. Daniel Craig stars in the upcoming Bond film, “No Time To Die,” that was originally slated to debut six months ago, but like everything else has been delayed by the Coronavirus outbreak. The delay has already cost MGM $30 to $50 million, as the movie business’ pending demise mirrors the film’s title. 2020 was also no time for the original Bond…James Bond….to sadly die. I’ll turn back the clocks in his honor tonight and have a vodka martini – shaken not stirred!


Retirement is not without Hassles: Here Comes The Sun…Again #1281

As I was writing yesterdays blog entry (#1280), I was reminded of a concert I went to in Bloomington, Indiana back in the early 70’s. It was in Indiana University’s 10th Street Stadium, home of the Little 500 bicycle race and where the popular film, Breaking Away, was filmed. Although my memory is foggy, perhaps the result of my “hippy-like” ways, I fondly remember a performance by Ritchie Havens. I could find no record of the show, making me suspicious that it really ever happened. Ritchie was the opening act for Woodstock in 1969, with a stirring rendition of Freedom. For some reason, I recall his memorable version of Here Comes the Sun on a rainy college Saturday. Did this really happen or was it a hallucination? In my mind, it was!

This alleged event took place nearly 50 years ago and remains a mystery after several Google searches. It had been raining most of the morning and there were doubts if the concert would ever take place. The draw for me was probably not Ritchie Havens but rather some other band on the docket. I wish I could tell you who that was! At any rate, Ritchie took the stage with dark skies above and began to play his acoustic guitar. When he got to “Here comes the Sun,” it miraculously appeared from behind the clouds. Needless to say, the crowd went nuts!

According to Wikipedia, “Here Comes the Sun” has been recorded by many artists, with the first cover versions appearing soon after the release of Abbey Road. In 1970, Booker T. & the M.G.’s included the song, arranged as a jazz piece with a Moog intro, on their Abbey Road tribute album, McLemore Avenue, as did George Benson on his album The Other Side of Abbey Road. A recording was issued as a single in 1970 by English singer Paul Monday, who later became the glam rock star Gary Glitter.

In 1971, Richie Havens’ version of the song peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, giving him the highest-charting single of his entire career. Following the singer’s death in 2013, Wook Kim of Time magazine described the track as a “wonderful mid-tempo interpretation” and included it among Havens’ six “essential performances”. Among the other most notable covers, according to music critic Richie Unterberger, Nina Simone recorded “Here Comes the Sun” as the title track to her 1971 covers album.

Somehow I can picture Ritchie Havens singing for sunshine on that overcast afternoon. Regardless of whether or not I can find a record of the concert, I will cherish the moment. I do know for sure that it wasn’t George Harrison, Booker T, or George Benson. Another great artist from that era passed away from virus complications yesterday, John Prine – “humidity built the Snowman, sunshine brought him down.” I was fortunate to see him in concert and hold a ticket stub as proof – I think. He joins Bill Withers and George Harrison on heaven’s stage. “Ain’t no Sunshine” since they’re gone, as we remember their warm lyrical contributions to our lives. RIP -“Rock in Peace.” Perhaps they ordered some much needed sunshine for us?  The forecast for the next few weeks looks optimistic. We all need a little positive lift in these times of isolation. Thankfully, “Here Comes the Sun”…again.


Retirement is not without Hassles: Ain’t No Sunshine #1276

One of my favorite musicians was recently eloquently eulogized by Rolling Stone Magazine writer Andy Greene:

Bill Withers, the soul legend who penned timeless songs like “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” died Monday from heart complications in Los Angeles. He was 81.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” his family said in a statement. “A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other. As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”

The three-time Grammy winner released just eight albums before walking away from the spotlight in 1985, but he left an incredible mark on the music community and the world at large. Songs like “Lean On Me,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Use Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lovely Day” are embedded in the culture and have been covered countless times. While many of Withers’ biggest songs were recorded in the Seventies, they have proven to be timeless hits. “Lean on Me” emerged once again in recent weeks as an anthem of hope and solidarity in the time of COVID-19.

I regret that I never saw him in concert, but I get the impression that it didn’t happen very often. Perhaps it was the stutter that he struggled with as a child? He did a live performance and album at Carnegie Hall in 1972. His last five tour stops were 1982 and 2011 in L.A., Paris in 2018, and two shows in the U.K. in 1988. He apparently lost his passion for the music industry back in 1985 and never signed another recording contract, but was finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Stevie Wonder in  2015. Here were his humble words of acceptance: “What few songs I wrote during my brief career, there ain’t a genre that somebody didn’t record them in. I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with. I don’t think I’ve done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia.” Thanks, Bill!

I can’t tell you the number of times I walked down the streets of New Orleans and heard a Withers’ hit covered by bar performers, particularly Ain’t No Sunshine. It became a personal anthem for me, but I honestly knew little about him until his recent death. Sunshine is a rare commodity here in Portland at this time of year, and self-quarantine only adds to my lack of it. If Bill had performed anywhere near me, I would have made a point to go. I’ll try to find a copy of the 2009 documentary, Still Bill, a reference to his 1972 album by the same name. It was produced by Damani Baker and Alex Vlack, covering his service in the Navy, work as a toilet assemblyman for Douglas Aircraft, father of two, singer, and song writer. There certainly ain’t no sunshine since he’s now gone! Rest in Peace, Bill!

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away.”

“Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away.”

“And I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know,
Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t…”

Retirement is not without Hassles: Tax Break #1225

For some reason, we’re getting a tax break this year. I honestly thought that I would break even like last year, but instead there’s a pretty substantial refund. Out of disbelief, I double-checked it several times. It will help with cash flow these next few weeks, without having to withdraw from the 401k funds that once you dip into disappear fast. Extra money always puts me in a good mood, but will it be enough to get me through the nationally televised I.U. at Michigan battle later this morning?

A tax refund only covers some of the sadness I felt this morning regarding the death of a former client and friend, John Bachman. I read his obituary on the Facebook group “I Grew Up In Elkhart, Indiana” just before I left for my morning run. He was instrumental in my life for two reasons. First, he made me look good in my first radio sales job and gave me life-long confidence to preform successfully in my career. His shop was my favorite call every week, sometimes daily because I enjoyed his companionship, as he purchased almost everything I suggested in the way of advertising and sponsorship that our small market station offered. He was my first experience with what we called “Co-Op,” as Panasonic paid for most of his advertising, making him like my personal Budweiser, who sponsors everything nationally! His business, located in a small cluttered garage, taught me to never judge the book by the cover. Most of his revenue came from the Recreational Vehicle industry and audio installations that he performed. He would benefit from all the Panasonic purchases he made on their behalf, which in turn became a massive advertising budget to promote his business that was three letters – maybe ACG (Audio Communications Group)?

The second personal “favor” John did for me was relieve the debt of my first wife’s small flower & plant business by subleasing the mall space that we had contracted for another year. He then opened his own audio store called Car Tunes, while we eventually sold-off Hall of Ivy for a heavy loss. At least, we were out of the retail business, and I was no longer working weekends and holidays in addition to my radio sales job. John was a year older than me in high school, but his future wife was in my graduating class. I had not seen either of them in well over 45 years, but have fond memories. I believe it was John’s advertising investments that helped us win a team sales contest and got me to Las Vegas for the first time. It’s sad and ironic to me that his death came just after we returned home from “The Strip.” I will be forever grateful to have known and worked with him, as I got my start in the media business. Rest in Peace, my friend. 

The I.U. basketball game is about to start, and I’m hoping for a rare away-game conference victory to go along with my tax break. At least, there was a break in the weather with some blue skies this morning. It’s good to be home from Las Vegas and have another day to “relax,” even though my blood pressure will be through the roof as I watch the game. My wife had suggested that I bet against the Hoosiers at the Sports Book, knowing that if we lost there would at least be a pay-out. I think I would bet against them today, despite their hot-shooting performance against Iowa. I’m not sure money can buy happiness when it comes to sports, but I do love a tax-break!



Old Sport Shorts: Ode to Sherm #1189

Poetry comes to me in streaks, and today was one of those days. As I was organizing my collection of memorabilia around the playing career of Sherm Lollar, I was somehow inspired to write this tribute. As I frequently go to baseball card shows, everyone talks about Mickey Mantle or Honus Wagner and how these players are the investment cornerstones of a great collection. Not everyone can afford to collect these gems, so I’m one to encourage starting with those who bring back personal childhood memories. Sherm Lollar was my first baseball hero and I honor this with cards, photos, and memorabilia that probably mean nothing to anybody but me. You don’t always have to make everything a financial investment, if it brings you a sense of joy:

Ode to Sherm

I never knew him,
But saw him play.
Have never forgotten him,
To this very day.

He was a catcher,
Wore number 10.
A perennial general,
Of the bull-pen.

He played with Nellie,
Luis, and Minnie.
Golden Gloves,
He earned many.

In the World Series,
Nineteen Fifty-Nine.
He hit a home run,
Became a hero of mine.

I watched on TV,
In black and white.
But the Sox fell short,
Of the Dodger might.

I wore his number,
It was lucky for me.
But the Hall of Fame,
unlikely to be.

Defense was his game,
A leader behind the plate.
But overshadowed,
By Yankees’ Number 8.

Not every team player,
Can be in the spotlight.
But some are admired,
For the things they do right.

He played in Chicago,
For eleven years.
And like me,
He had big ears.

I’ve written Cooperstown,
On behalf of him.
But hitting .264,
His chances are slim.

Over seventeen years,
Sherm’s glove was his force.
When it came to fielding,
None better, of course.

I maintain a collection,
Of his photos and cards.
I have his Rawling’s mask,
But no shin guards.

I can’t always afford,
To dabble in Honus.
But with Sherm Lollar,
The memories are bonus.

Copyright 2020


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