Good morning from Edinburgh, Scotland (where s**t be really cool but also expensive). The cover photo is from the most recent German Father’s Day. The Germans do it right in this case, celebrating Father’s Day on one of their gazillion religious holidays (Ascension Day in this case). What do the Deutsch dads do? They fill up their wagons with booze, walk into the woods and drain the lot. Now, if that doesn’t sound like the best way to spend a day, you’ve lost me.
Back in blog land, since there’s still precious little to talk about in terms of Washington State Cougars sports, we’ll spend the remainder of this space talking about two great dads. Ok I don’t know if they were great dads (you’d have to ask their kids), but I know they were two incredible granddads.
We didn’t call them by any fancy name, they were simply Grandpa Novak and Grandpa Kendall. Grandpa Kendall came to mind a few times this week as we ventured from Ireland to Scotland, because the family paid a visit to the home of golf, St. Andrew’s, Scotland. Grandpa Kendall was a big golfer, belonging to the Spokane Country Club for a time after he retired from the Air Force and kicked all eight kids out of the house. He’s also the guy who tried to teach me the game, and even though I stink at it, I still like it quite a bit.
He and my Grandma Kendall owned property on the Pend Oreille River many years ago, and when my brother and I would visit during the summer, he’d take us to some courses around the area for 18 holes. He even set up a portion of his property as a mini-driving range, where you’d tee off, hit the ball over (or into) a patch of high cattail bushes, and hopefully land it near the boat launch.
He was also one of the funniest people I have ever met, with one of the most wry senses of humor you’ll ever see. I will never forget the time we were playing at the Priest River 9-hole goat track, and I was away. I hit such a bad putt that it went so far past the hole that I was still away. Without hesitation, he said, “Well look at that, you didn’t lose your turn.” The next putt was awfully tough to hit because I had tears in my eyes.
The part that kind of stinks is that, except for those couple weeks each summer, I rarely got to see him since they lived mostly in Arizona or on the west side. But despite that, and despite the fact that I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I look back at those days and think about how lucky I was to have a grandparent who dedicated so much time to teach my brother and me the game.
Luckily, I did get to spend a lot of time with Grandpa Novak, who always lived nearby. He and Grandma Novak raised six kids after he left the Army following World War II. While he wasn’t a golfer, he was a bowler (which may be part of the reason that The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite movies). Every now and then, mom would drop me off at his bowling league nights. The funny thing is that I don’t recall ever watching a frame. That’s because Grandpa Novak (like all good grandfathers, probably) had a seemingly bottomless pit of quarters, which he would produce upon request so I could play Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong or pinball for hours on end.
Grandpa Novak also took my brother and me for haircuts, one of which ended in him yelling at me for the only time I ever remember. Apparently I was slumping over in the chair, which made it difficult for the barber to cut my hair. That resulted in an ass-chewing on the way back home, and as most anyone with grandparents would attest, if grandpa is pissed at you, you really screwed up. Needless to say, I never slumped in the barber chair ever again.
Grandpa Novak was also a big baseball fan, and he took me to my first ever Mariners game many years ago. The only things I remember are they were playing the Yankees, they lost (of course), and Ken Griffey, Jr had a great game (of course). Up to his dying day, the one reliable thing we could always talk about was the lousy Mariners. Some things never change.
He was also an amazing baker, to the extent that everyone my parents knew would request one of his cakes for a special occasion. They became knows as “Leonard Cakes.” He also helped me through a pretty crappy time in my life. When I was a freshman in high school and didn’t get on well with the rest of the guys in my carpool, he took the time to drive me to school more times than I can count. As you can probably infer, the time spent in the car with him was a million times better than anything I’d have talked about with a bunch of fellow 14 year-old rubes (myself included).
Both grandpas were never satisfied with retirement, always staying busy. Grandpa Kendall would spend most of his days either on the golf course, out in the yard or tinkering with a car’s internal components. Grandpa Novak “retired” like four times, only to work in the Fred Meyer bakery until his body wouldn’t let him anymore. This is where I question whether I’m really related to them, because I have zero desire to do anything like that.
That’s what makes them so great. After raising a multitude of children (14 in all) on working class salaries, nobody would have batted an eye if they’d sat in the easy chair with a cold one and watched the tube until the Lord came calling. Both did the opposite. For those and many other reasons, both grandpas will always be two of the greatest people I ever knew. And next month, when I’m watching the Open Championship from St. Andrews, I will think about the times I watched that same golf tournament with Grandpa Kendall, and I’ll relish the fact that I was able to stand on the famous Swilcan Bridge with my own boys.
As for their grandfather (my dad), whom they call “Boom Boom”, they think he hung the moon. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy Father’s Day.
Another commit! Hooray!
California offensive tackle Noah Dunham commits to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder out of Yuba City High announced Friday evening that he intends to become the sixth member of WSU’s class of 2023.
Cougs in the NBA
Once Klay Thompson is done with that basketball stuff, maybe he can catch on with the folks at Freezing Cold Takes. My man does not forget.
Klay Thompson calls Grizzlies' Jaren Jackson Jr. a 'freakin' bum' over an old tweet - CBSSports.com
Thompson was referring to a tweet from back on March 28, after the Warriors took a 123-95 beating from Memphis.
Well this is a bummer.
Washington State baseball standouts Kodie Kolden, Jake Meyer enter transfer portal | The Spokesman-Review
The two Cougar standouts have entered the NCAA transfer portal, according to reports from Joe Doyle of Prospects Live.
This Week in Parenting
Most time when we travel, I like to make arrangement by which the kids exist and sleep in a separate room from Mrs. Kendall and me. Our room in Scotland is one big one, and sweet Jesus I had forgotten how bad young boys smell. We leave for an entire day, and when we return, the damn room still smells like gym socks died inside a used jockstrap.
It also makes for some decent material, though. Such as the time the 10 year-old was singing Eddie Money’s all-time great hit “Take Me Home Tonight” while showering. Makes me feel like I did something right.
Earlier in the week, we paid a visit to one of beer’s Meccas, the Guinness Storehouse. There’s a wishing well along the tour, and everyone took part. I asked the 10 year-old what he’d wished for. Health? Good grades? A fun trip? Oh no. He wished for a dog. Why couldn’t it have been something I can agree with, like winning the lottery? After Dublin, we took a 2-day bus tour to western Ireland (HIGHLY RECOMMEND). The bus was sparsely populated (hooray!), and the 10 year-old decided to move seats. Mrs. Kendall said she would move as well, prompting him to ask, “You’re not going to sit next to me are you?” One of his parents was not amused.
Finally, we were sitting down for dinner the other night, and I offered to share some of my fries with the table. That prompted the teenager to say, “Pass the weed, spread the wealth.” Let’s just end things right there.
Catapult | Getting Sober Again | Natalie Lima
My two years of sobriety were gone in less than the length of a song.
A Harrowing Journey From Cornell to Addiction to Prison - The New York Times
In her memoir, “Corrections in Ink,” Keri Blakinger writes about her determination to improve the criminal justice system.