Saturday, October 22, 2016

Elwood and Stella

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”  Elwood Blues

The first things that come to mind hearing the names Elwood and Stella are the movies “Blues Brothers” (1980) and “A Named Desire” (1951).  “Joliet” Jake Blues (John Belushi), whom Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) picked up outside prison, responded, “Hit it.”  In “Streetcar” Marlon Brando as Stanley keeps yelling, “Hey Stella” until Stella (Kim Hunter) finally comes outside and embraces him.
C. Elwood Metzger and wife Stella, below, holding Mary Virginia

My brother sent along Midge’s photo album, featuring shots of my grandparents C. Elwood and Stella Metzger.  Stella, a dress designer, died of pneumonia when my mother was a kid. When in high school, I’d pick Elwood up on Sundays in Chesnut Hill and bring him to our place in the Philadelphia suburb of Fort Washington.  He’d be looking dapper carryng a cane and wearing a suit with vest.  He’d bring huge jars of jelly or other items purchased at a discount (he was once a department store buyer).  At days end I’d get a 50-cent piece if I’d behaved.  He insisted on helping me pick out wedding rings for Toni and me along Philadelphia’s jewelers row and took me to where he formerly worked, as a security guard.  When my dad died at age 50, Elwood was suffering from cancer.  When told about Vic, he said, “I wish it had been me.”
 Terry Jenkins; below, daughter Melissa Bollmann-Jenkins
Best friend Terry Jenkins is undergoing chemo, but you’d never know it.  His daughter, artist Melissa Bollmann-Jenkins, who survived harrowing health problems as a child and is strong as steel, is providing updates to friends.  I told Ter she is not going to let you die. Melissa wrote:
  Chemo treatment No. 2 (protocol is called “Gem-Cis”) was completed today, without issues! Side effects have been minimal, and attitude is Terry-like positive. For now, life as usual, whining and dining (oops, wining). His treatment team seems terrific at the University of Pennsylvania, thus far. Chemo is two weeks on, one week off, for a total of 3 rounds (9 weeks). Following the 9 weeks, he’ll have a one-month break, then the surgery, which will probably land around the new year.

In my journal (see Steel Shavings volume 40) I wrote on November 9, 2007:
  Shortly after retiring in the summer of 2007, a battery of tests unearthed a mild form of prostate cancer.  Now there’s something to write about.  Not! – as Mike Myers in Wayne’s World would say.  A seed implant procedure has taken care of the problem. Even had my inflated PSA number not been discovered, I’d probably have lived 10-15 years without ill effects.  ’Nuff said.

I don’t believe I’ve written about my prostate cancer (in remission) since except in veiled references to frequent bathroom trips and visits to oncologist Jeffrey Quackenbush. I vowed not to be one of those senior citizens who talks incessantly about the ravages of aging.  Maybe I’ve gone too much the other way.
 Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend at Desert Trip

WXRT’s Lin Brehmer introduced what he called the greatest song of all time - “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who, recently performed live at Desert Trip, also featuring the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Roger Waters and nicknamed Oldchella - it took place at the site of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.  During the instrumental parts Brehmer added nonsensical quotes by Donald Trump.  The final lyrics:
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Among the tunes I recognized on a WXRT show about 1977, the year Elvis died, were “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, “So Good to See You” by Cheap Trick, “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac, and “Heroes” by David Bowie. Rolling Stone asked Democratic candidate for vice president Tim Kaine his favorite musical groups.  He mentioned The Replacements and The Dave Matthews Band.  Matthews is from the state Kaine represents in the Senate, Virginia. Referring to Kaine’s aggressive performance in the debate with Mike Pence, Bill Maher compared him to a man opening the door on Halloween wearing a mask.

Driving through Hobart I enjoyed the many Halloween yard displays and appreciated the political signs supporting Democrats John Gregg for governor and Lorenzo Arredondo for attorney-general.  I saw none for Gregg’s opponent Eric Holcomb, who became governor when Mike Pence agreed to be Trump’s running mate.  I bowled a 424 series, slightly under average, as I’m still figuring out how to go after spares with my new Nitrous. Engineers took two games and series to edge above .500 for the first time all season. While James was bowling at Inman’s, a four-team women’s collage tournament took place hosted by Valpo University.  The “National Anthem” brought everyone to their feet.
 Chad and Jeremy in 2005

George Van Til invited me to a Chad and Jeremy concert at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan, not far from the Indiana border. Both 75, the duo are a British version of Neil Simon and Art Garfunkel.  Their two biggest hits were “Yesterday’s Gone” (1963) and “A Summer Song” (1964).  Henry Farag’s musical “The Signal: A Rhapsody” has drawn big crowds at Three Oaks.

Samuel A. Love posted a cartoon drawn by a Steel City Academy student.  Wife Brenda called it an accurate presentation. Katie Terry pronounced it to be epic.  Gene Coleman noticed Sam was looking left.  Proud mama Pamela Roorda Barnett wrote: “I love how kids relate to ‘Mr. Sam.” You have a special talent for that, my son.”

Kyle Hendricks outpitched the BPOP (best pitcher on the planet) Clay Kershaw in a 5-0 game-six victory, saving longtime Cub fans the trauma of a seventh game with ghosts of Billy Goat, Bartman and other jinxes lurking.  Two 6-43 (Russell to Baez to Rizzo) inning-ending double-plays were things of beauty.  The 2016 National League champs will play in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Missy and Marianne Brush and Bob Heckler celebrating in Wrigleyville

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