Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

We’re all breaking out our Cubs stories after the ending of the century old dry-spell for baseball’s lovable losers (although the tone of the recollections may be a little different when told by Cleveland fans). For a game that has been criticized lately as slow-moving or less than dramatic – the Game Seven win by Chicago could have been written as a suspense-filled last chapter.

Except for a few folks who admitted to giving it up in favor of a good night’s sleep when the grounds-crew rolled out the rain tarp, a surprising number of our lunch guests today were still excited at having stayed up to watch the end.

cubswin

By now, you’ll have heard how the Cubs got off to an early lead and then squandered it all away. It was enough to see the faces and gestures of the many on-camera Chicago fans at Wrigley, elated then agonizing over the score – as Cleveland came back to tie.

Extra innings. But first, a rain delay.

Almost like a Hollywood script, the Cubs score enough to win, except Cleveland is to have the last at-band. Two outs, then a walk. Then a run.

Then an out – the final one, and the end of the Curse of the Billy Goat. (But that’s a whole ‘nother story…)

As for my own Cubs story, it was enough to be at Wrigley on a beautiful afternoon, seats along the first base side, during the summer of the battling bats of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Some folks only remember the corked bat accusations and performance enhancement issues from that time, but it seemed to me all those home runs brought back some of the magic of the Big Leagues.

We got to see Sammy hit one out of the park on that afternoon. Not just out of the playing field. It soared over the ivy wall, over the bleachers and out onto Waveland Avenue. Granted, the old park is smaller than most, but still – it was an epic shot, and one of those things assigned a permanent memory spot.

Then after the game, a deep pan pizza from a nearby landmark, where I saw an epic-sized rat. (Or maybe it was one of the world’s smallest pizza employees. But that’s a whole ‘nother story, too…)

My guess is, after the immediate shock of the win wears off, Cubs fans are going to miss the annual groaning and moaning, that whole “we just can’t ever win!” lament that was as much a part of baseball’s storied history as the Bambino, Mickey Mantle, and Build-it-and-They-Will-Come.

There will still be Cubs fans.

They just won’t be those same down-trodden, lovable losing North-siders. Because now, they’re World Champions.

Hold Your Burger Up.

The Internet. Where one thing always leads to another, and I found myself listening to Hold Your Head Up (Argent, 1972). Somebody had made a video to go with the song.

There weren’t official music videos back then, so whoever uploaded the music added pictures of people in bell-bottom jeans, peace symbols, and assorted old-timey stuff. A hamburger stand image popped up, and I thought – Hey!

It was one of the long-time ago memories, and I wasn’t even sure I was remembering correctly – but when I saw the name Sandy’s I immediately thought of Scottish plaid and a young woman in a kilt. Couldn’t figure out why those things would come to mind, so I had to look it up.

As I said, the Internet, where one thing always leads to another.

sandysburger

Even after the research, I can’t recall where it was. Maybe Stillwater. It was back in the early days of hamburger franchising, and I guess the Sandy’s folks were doing a McDonald’s (Scottish) knock-off. 15¢ hamburgers. Milkshakes. Speedy (and mostly counter-only) service.

And one thing leads to another.

I’m reading about Sandy’s and spot another burger joint picture. This one I know. The Burger Chef was in Tulsa, on 41st near the Skelly Drive on-ramp.

sandysburgerchef

That was during a time when I was impoverished bicycle mechanic (haven’t come too far since then, have I?) working at the Bike Mart on South Sheridan. We got paid weekly and the paycheck was an amount that didn’t make it past Friday. Since the checks were handed out after lunch, I could never afford to eat on Saturday.

Most of my money was already spent on car and rent payments, so there wasn’t much left for food. When I discovered that Burger Chef offered a build-your-own-burger bar, I realized it was cheaper than buying bread and bologna. They had the cheapo Puny-Burger that – after visiting the condiments station – became a Whopper filled with as much lettuce and pickles as I could balance between the buns.

My visits were so regular that when I stopped in on a flat-broke Saturday lunchtime with enough change for a Coke, the young clerk asked me why I wasn’t getting my burger. After explaining my financial embarrassment, she reached back and grabbed a burger and put it on a tray for me.

I was a lot thinner in those days, and would have been more so if not for her kindness – which carried me through to my first job in radio. Not a lot more money, but enough to pay for my own lunch on Saturday.

Speaking of lunch – Chef Dustin prepares it every day but Sunday. Serving 11am to 2pm, so…

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow, OK!

Comedy. Civil War Era Yuk-Yuks.

Hard to imagine rowing a boat from Greece to Ireland, but a fellow named Pytheas captained a ship that made the journey.

Back in 325 BC.

pytheasship

He was obviously an adventurous sort. And he was traveling back in the time when there were not a lot of visitors to northwestern Europe, much less tourists from the Mediterranean.

Pytheas and his men would have had to navigate that sea, sailing south around the boot of Italy after leaving the Sea of Crete. He’d edge past Spain and Portugal while passing through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Atlantic. Once they cleared Portugal, it would have been a fairly straight shot north to Ireland. About three-thousand miles.

If they could row at 10 knots (slightly more than 11 mph) the Greek sailors would have been at sea for nearly 12 days – if they knew exactly where they were going and never were drawn off course. That’s the whole exploring thing. They DIDN’T know where they were, or where they were going.

About a thousand years later, the Vikings paddled around the same area, but they managed about 2 mph – and the Norse ships were built for speed.

That’s why it’s hard for me to imagine Pytheas out at sea, an early tourist without a camera, a McDonald’s, or a roadside turnout. According to that bastion of facts, Wikipedia, Pytheas is the first known scientific visitor and reporter of the Arctic, polar ice, and the Germanic tribes.

And he called Ireland – Hibernia. It is thought to be a doubly-translated version of a Celtic word that meant “abundant land.”

The point of this whole history lesson?

Well, the caption on the Harper’s Weekly cartoon from 1867 uses the names Hibernians to describe the typical Irish drinking joke. (It was always so, apparently.)

hibernianpic

Since it may be difficult to read the nearly 150 year old printing, here is the transcription to accompany the image:

Young Hibernian. “Jolly day we had last week at O’Donohue’s Wedding. Capital Champagne he gave us, and faith it was justice we did it, I tell you.”

Ancient Hibernian (who prefers a drop of Whisky). “Widdings is well enough at yer time o’ life, but give me a good Ould Wake.”

And that’s how the knee-slappers went back in the Civil War era. Still, a lot of interesting items in a stack of 150 year old Harper’s Weekly pages that popped in the front door today.

Never know what you’ll find in your friendly neighborhood bookstore – except from eleven to two, when you know you’ll find some delicious lunches. Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!