Archive for May, 2014
Muny tickets go on sale tomorrow. Normally this would elicit a shrug from me, but this year I’m actually excited about one of the shows. Hello, Dolly! is playing in August and it is one of the few musicals that I actually enjoy. I was in the chorus for my high school’s production back during my freshmen year in 1993, and I’ve had a soft spot for the show ever since. When I heard the 50th anniversary production was coming to St. Louis this year, I was mildly interested. That was until I saw the cast billing.
My high school theater director, Richard Pisarkiewicz, is in the principal cast! I loved Mr. ‘Zark back in my theater days, and think it would be a blast to see him on stage at the Muny. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, and Meg and I are planning on buying a pair. Anyone want to join us?
Today is a day that I have been dreading for a while. May 29th is the first anniversary of the death of my cousin Chrissy. I’m so profoundly sad at such a tragic loss that I still struggle to find the right words to convey my grief. Last year I spent some time here writing about my anger and depression over Chrissy’s overdose and it really did help me deal with some of those emotions. So I thought writing about it again might help me deal with some of that sorrow. Because it is still more than I can handle sometimes.
While I am still deeply sad about Chrissy’s death, my anger is gone and has not returned. Chrissy was a victim, not a criminal. What happened to Chrissy is happening all over America right now, as cheap and powerful heroin invades our cities like the black plague. I am just sad that it managed to steal someone that I love. And while that sadness is no longer engulfing my life, it is still a constant presence. I’m not dwelling on her death in my mind anymore, but thoughts of her absence are still almost a daily occurrence.
The only way I’ve been able to cope with my sad thoughts is to combat them with happier memories. And luckily I have plenty of happy memories of Chrissy. My childhood and teenage years are full of happy memories of my loudmouth little cousin that I treated like a sister. So I thought I would dig out some old pictures and reminisce about my beautiful cousin that I loved so much.
Here is Chrissy playing dress up with her brother Jimmy in 1990.
Way too cool for you losers. I was always impressed with her ability to hide her insecurities. Everyone in my family seemed to struggle with a lack of confidence in our youth, but Chrissy usually masked hers well enough so no one knew it. Fake it till you make it. Never let them see you sweat.
Here she is with our Grandfather Harold in 1994.
As you can see here, Chrissy was always willing to do whatever if family was involved. She looks less than thrilled to be wearing that elephant trunk, but she knew it would make Harold happy so she agreed. She had a real love for her family and she wasn’t afraid to show it from a very young age. Our mutual family love is what really made us bond when we were kids. My blood is your blood, for better or for worse.
Here she is with my brother Paul at the Zoo in 1998.
Chrissy always had a way with kids, even from a young age. Children flocked to Chrissy her entire life. Her unassuming manor and her excitable nature made her a real magnet for kids. My little brothers were always thrilled when Chrissy was their babysitter. When I think of Paul and Charlie as little kids, I often picture them on Chrissy shoulders. She had an instinctual way with kids that I always admired.
Here’s Chrissy with our Grandma in 2002.
The love between these two was powerful. They could fight like cats and dogs, but they were fiercely loyal to each other. Chrissy loved to do funny impressions of my grandma, but she would not allow anyone to say a bad word about her grandma. The intensity of their love for each other was apparent to everyone that knew them, which made it extra difficult to lose both of them in such a short period of time. Their bond is something that I will never forget.
Finally here’s a picture from a family X-Mas party in 2008.
I didn’t really know Chrissy that well in her adult life. As I saw Chrissy less and less, I was determined to take lots of pictures every time the family got together. Having all my family in the same room was a rare delight and I treated it as such. I remember forcefully demanding that my sister come over and take a picture with our cousins, as you can see from the expression on Cathie’s face. Feeling that family connection between us was such an enjoyable sensation, and I’m grateful for the handful of times we shared over the past few years.
On a final positive note I can say that Chrissy’s death has really brought my family closer together. Losing a member of our clan made everyone realize the true importance of family. I’ve spent more time with my family and had more meaningful conversations with them in the past 12 months than I have in years. It was an important lesson that I wish I would have learned a few years earlier. Nothing can bring Chrissy back, but her memory will live on with me for the rest of my life. Rest in peace dear cousin.
Man do I wish that David Lynch would have agreed to direct Return Of The Jedi.
Today was the game that I’ve been anticipating for months, Cardinals vs Yankees! There is no one better to heckle than the most overpaid team in the major leagues. I gathered the Tuesday Nite Heckle Club for a hell of a game, but first we made a trip out to East County for a little Horse Hooky. My man D and I caught a few races out at Fairmount Park.
We won big on a horse named PinkChampagneOnIce after he took 1st place. As you can see, I was pretty excited.
I think most of the people at the track were like us, just killing time before the Cards-Yanks game. Like this guy in a Derek Jeter Farewell Tour t-shirt.
About half the people I saw on Tuesday were trying to get a peek at Jeter, which made it all the more fun to heckle his overpaid ass. My grandmother is famous for her hatred of Derek Jeter, whom she refers to as “Pretty Boy.” So in her honor the heckle club moved as close to shortstop as we could and let him have it. We booed the entire Yankees club, except for starting pitcher David Phelps. He graduated from my high school, so he got a free pass.
Luckily for us we were given plenty of material for yelling as the Cardinals beat up on the Yankees 6-0. Suck it New York!
After the game we kept the party going at Ballpark Village. My brother rode the bull at the PBR Bar
And we caught a ride in a bike cab.
With this drubbing of the Yankees it brings the Tuesday Nite Heckle Club’s record to a spiffy 3-0 this year. We are belligerent difference makers.
Like most of America, I spent my Memorial Day weekend eating a ton of greasy food. But this year the food was a rare treat, as I was in Kansas City for a wedding. My buddy Lucian married a gal from here in St. Louis, Martha, on Sunday. Here’s a picture that Captain Mike took of the lovely couple over the weekend.
Meg and I made the trip across state for the ceremony, which meant lots of time to enjoy the local cuisine. On the way into Kansas City we stopped for some Taco Johns.
Meg had never been to Taco Johns and was quite interested in my description of it as, “like a better version of Taco Bell.” It did not disappoint.
The wedding reception had lots of good food too, and plenty of Visinata. If you’re not familiar, Visinata is sour cherry brandy from Romania. It tastes sweet and packs a real punch. Here I am with the groom and Captain Mike toasting with some Visinata shots.
I also took a whole bunch of video from the wedding, but it will be a while till I have time to edit and post it. The whole event was a lot of fun and made for a memorable weekend.
Before leaving town on Monday morning Meg and I were determined to enjoy some BBQ for lunch. According to my friends on social media the best BBQ in town is now Oklahoma Joes. We made plans to stop by a restaurant by our hotel for lunch, only to discover they were closed! What kind of self-respecting BBQ joint is closed on Memorial Day?! Instead we went with the tried and true place for ribs in Kansas City.
We ended up at the Gates on State Line Road, my frequent stopping point when I would visit Captain Mike back in the day. And the ribs did not disappoint. Thanks to KC for a great weekend!