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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Mother of a Sox Fan!
by Hal Vickery

Anybody can make a mistake. Some are just bigger than others. My faux pas wasn’t exactly one for the books, but it was one that had to be remedied. After all, you don’t just skip out on Mother’s Day, especially when your mother is eighty-eight years old.

Several months ago when Sox tickets went on sale, I was looking for at least one afternoon game relatively early in the season, and May 13 looked like a good date. That far removed from May you don’t really think about when Mother’s Day might be. Okay, at least I don’t think about that. So I bought the tickets.

Then a couple of weeks ago I started hearing ads on the radio reminding people that Mother’s Day was coming, so I checked a calendar. “May 13! Oh [expletive deleted]! Okay, what can I do?”

A phone call to my mom didn’t help. “You don’t really need to come down,” she said understandingly. Of course being a longtime son, I had an inkling that that probably meant, “So, you think more about baseball than you do about your own mother!”

I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. We talked about a later weekend in May, but left it hanging. That just didn’t seem quite right to me, but May 12 was going to be pretty busy. I already had an appointment with my dentist to put in a temporary crown for a tooth I had broken about a month ago.

I knew I needed to get a haircut before next Friday’s graduation. Our faculty attend graduation, but we don’t wear the mortarboard. We just go bareheaded, and my hair was already looking too shaggy. So a haircut was definitely also on the agenda.

So I gave it some thought. “Okay, the dentist’s appointment is for 9:00 a.m. I really don’t know exactly how long it will take, so I’d better schedule the haircut for early afternoon.” So I put my wife to work. She secured a 1:00 p.m. appointment for the haircut.

That did it! Now I could free up the time and we could drive down to the Kankakee area after the haircut. I called my mom. “Would it be okay with you if we came down Saturday afternoon?”


“I’ll take us out to dinner.”

“Sounds good.”

“Great! We should be there sometime after 3:00.”

I’d already talked to my wife. There was no way she was going to wait at the barber shop for me to get a haircut. That was no problem anyway. After I get a haircut, I need to wash my hair. Ever since I was a kid I haven’t been able to stand the feeling of cut hair on the back of my neck. So a quick shower and we could be there by 3:30 at the latest.

Even the Change Oil light going on didn’t bother me. I could get my ten-minute oil change between the dentist and the barber.

Saturday came. First to the dentist: out by 10:15. Next to the ten-minute oil change place: out by 11:15. Then there was some free time until the haircut. I was out of the barber shop and in my car by 1:18 with plenty of time for a quick shower.

After finishing my shower I asked my wife if Buster T. Beagle had been out yet.

“No.”“Okay, then you’d better do that while I get dressed.”

When I finished dressing, I asked if the Buster was back in the house yet.

“Not yet.”

I walked by the patio door and saw him on his lying side working on his tan. My wife called him. I shouted, “Get in the house.”

No response. Buster was content, and when Buster is content, he can be very hard to move. My wife’s calls did manage to get him into a sitting position, though, and that was all I needed.

I stepped outside and said, “Get in the house.”

“What are you, nuts?” he said. Or at least that’s how I interpreted his facial expression.

I knew Buster was not about to move on his own. So I went out to the patio and walked behind him. Being a nice guy I gave him one last chance. “Get in the house.”

He kind of half looked up and said, “I don’t think so.”

“Okay,” I said. “You asked for it.”

I then wedged one foot between his rear end and the patio and pushed while lifting my foot.

“Well, if that’s the way you’re going to be about it…” he said, and then he stood up and trotted into the house. The only time he ever moves faster than a trot at his age is when we say, “Come get your treat.”

We got to the Kankakee area and by that time everybody was hungry. My mom has gotten into the habit of having her big meal in the mid-afternoon. So we didn’t’ spend much time there. We piled into the car and headed for the restaurant.

We decided to go to an Italian place. I decided to order linguini with white clam sauce. Little did I know that the plate would be one of those spaghetti plates that is half bowl. All the sauce had sunk to the bottom, so every time I tried to roll the linguini up on my fork and lift the fork to my mouth the sauce would splatter.

Fortunately, the only person I hit was me. Unfortunately, the color of my shirt was white, and by the time the meal was over it looked as if I’d taken a shower in white clam sauce. But the food was good, and in an unusual twist, the clams were actually served in the shell. They were delicious.

After eating we had a nice visit before we headed home. My mom seemed to like the candy we gave her. I think she now has about fifty pounds of the stuff stored in her freezer, but there are no more candy days until Christmas, so she should be running out just about then.

The upshot is that I can now go to today’s game without any feeling of guilt or remorse for missing Mother’s Day. And I think my mom showed precisely why we celebrate this day. Here’s her adult son forgetting about Mother’s Day and buying tickets to a ball game (and no, she wouldn’t have wanted to go because she’s not a baseball fan at all).

Did she make me feel neglectful? Not a bit. Any guilt trip was imposed by me on myself. She was glad to see us and to have us take her out to a place that she likes to go to, and she was glad that I was still able to use my tickets to today’s game.

And that, dear reader, is precisely why we celebrate Mother’s Day.


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at

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