Another Great Passes On
I don’t want to do two blog homages in a row, but I felt it fitting to honor the life of a great Ohioan who passed away recently. Since moving to Chicago, trips to his restaurant have become few and far between thanks to the abhorrent lack of his red with white trim sausage houses… his yellow signature glowing in the night, beckoning travelers and locals to grab a barstool and a cup of his freshly brewed coffee. What’s that you say? Biscuit or roll? Why, biscuit of course. A little honey would be just fine.
I had a chance to meet Bob Evans the summer before my senior year in high school. I was attending some summer camp at the University of Rio Grande near Gallipolis, OH, and Bob stopped by – wearing a cowboy hat and a Texas tie, of course – to share some stories from his early days as an entrepreneur. He told stories of getting into bar fights with Colonel Sanders (no joke) and talked a little about how ticked off he was with the direction his family took the restaurant chain after he retired. I know, you’re really jealous right now. All I wanted to do was thank him for his cinnamon hot cakes, which most likely were a creation inspired by all that is good in the world.
All that to say, Bob, you will be missed. Our encounter was brief, but you gave me an answer to the imposing group ice breaker question of “name 5 weird facts about yourself.” You also gave me a restaurant that I can take both my grandma and my girlfriend for a nice lunch, or an almost home-cooked dinner. When I’m back in southeast Ohio with my family and the question of where to grab a meal together comes up, they already know my answer thanks to your legacy, Bob. I hope God lets you open another restaurant in Heaven, because surely that is where your cinnamon hotcakes belong.
(this is what it will look like in Heaven when Bob is making me fresh cinnamon hotcakes)
God Speed, Mr. Wizard
My high school Advanced Bio teacher once told me that I had a “mind for science.” Regardless of the fact that I was carrying a B- in the class (and that was with Sally Spencer as my lab partner!), my teacher saw something in the way my mind worked that apparently translated to “Dave should be doing better in my class.” At least that’s how my parents interpreted the thoughtful comment.
I think I owe a lot of my fascination with science and the way the world works to a show on Nickelodeon in the mid to late 80′s. Before Bill Nye even thought about growing grass on a car, Mr. Wizard was showing me how to blow things up. That stunt of dropping candy into soda and making it erupt? Mr. Wizard probably discovered it first. He was that good. Sure, he would make the kids put on safety goggles so the exploding light bulb didn’t blind them all, but he was still cool – goggles and all!
Mr. Wizard, or Don Herbert, passed away yesterday from bone marrow cancer. He was 89. It can be tough to watch a childhood icon pass on, but Mr. Wizard will always have a special place in my heart.
No Shame in my Obama Fanboy Game
Three years ago, I watched in awe as the Junior Senator from Illinois delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention that connected with me unlike any politician or national leader has ever done before. I remember flipping channels and catching C-SPAN’s coverage of the convention, most likely during a commercial break for something much more entertaining. I had heard the name Barack Obama, but I was living in camp-world with Minnesota on the brain – not Illinois.
I remember being challenged to have hope – the audacity to believe that we should be optimistic and that we should take on overbearing issues like unemployment, health care, education, and every other pressing issue that had been ignored for far too long. Watching Obama speak, I felt like I was watching John or Robert Kennedy and became a little jealous of my grandparents. It must be at that point in the cycle when an entire generation needs a leader that can inspire hope, and I remember thinking that Obama may be the man to do it.
I became a Barack Obama fanboy.
Now, as I read through his recent speech at a Ministers’ Conference, I feel more than ever that this is the time for a leader like Barack – someone who can inspire an entire generation and lead our nation into a progressive future.
Here is the speech he recently gave – give it a read when you get a chance. If it brings you into the Obama fanboy fold, let me know.
Also – do your part. Get involved. Make sure you are registered to vote now so when the primaries roll around, you can decide who your party puts on the ticket!
A few excerpts that gave me goosebumps…
If we have more black men in prison than are in our colleges and universities, then it’s time to take the bullet out. If we have millions of people going to the emergency room for treatable illnesses like asthma; it’s time to take the bullet out. If too many of our kids donâ€™t have health insurance; it’s time to take the bullet out. If we keep sending our kids to dilapidated school buildings, if we keep fighting this war in Iraq, a war that never should have been authorized and waged, a war that’s costing us $275 million dollars a day and a war that is taking too many innocent lives — if we have all these challenges and nothing’s changing, then every minister in America needs to come together — form our own surgery teams — and take the bullets out.
We have been told that our mounting debts donâ€™t matter, that the economy is doing great, and that peopleâ€™s anxieties about rising health care costs and disappearing pensions arenâ€™t a big deal. Weâ€™ve been told that climate change is a hoax, that our broken schools cannot be fixed, and that we are destined to send millions of dollars a day to Mideast dictators for their oil.
And when it comes to faith, weâ€™ve been told that all that matters is what divides us – Evangelicals from Mainline Protestants, the Black church from the White church, Catholics from Protestants from Muslims from Jews.
And when we try to have an honest debate about the crises we face, whether itâ€™s from the pulpit or the campaign trail, the pundits donâ€™t want us to find common ground, they want us to find someone to blame. They want to divide us into Red States and Blue States, and tell us to always point the finger at somebody else – the other party, or gay people, or people of faith, or immigrants.
Thoughts from a 26 year old
I wish I could find the energy and time to write relevant and provocative essays, but instead I’m just going to blabber on a little about life. Yesterday, as I celebrated the beginning of my 26th trip around the sun, I learned quite a bit. Here’s a short list:
1. Grease catches fire. Cheap ground beef creates lots of grease. Therefore – grilling cheap ground beef can lead to large flames all over the grill and charred burgers with rare insides. This is not ideal.
2. Although .99 cents a pound for ground beef sounds like an awesome deal, suck it up and just pay the extra $2 a pound to prevent grease fires.
3. Bucket mixing is ok. Repeat it with me… bucket mixing is ok. Having friends from multiple circles is ok. In fact, I’d recommend it.
4. Enjoying a couple of beers on a warm June evening is great. Adding a glass of red wine right before bed sounds like a good idea. It’s not.
5. A girlfriend that, despite her love for the Pistons, creates my favorite cake with a Cavs theme is a great girlfriend, fo sho.
6. Thursday night softball this summer is going to be awesome. More bucket mixing, but I think the mixture is a good one.
7. When a ton of people descend on the house, there are always a few that end up cleaning the mess that is left – and somehow it looks better than it did before. I’m not sure how this happens, but I’m really not going to question it.
8. How do I always overestimate the amount of hot dogs people want? I have like 5 packages of hot dogs sitting in my fridge right now.
9. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are amazing. I discovered this at Potbelly’s a while ago, but last night I had my first homemade version. Simply amazing.
10. I need a squirt bottle of some kind when I’m grilling. Jud is so smart.
11. Nobody really thinks I’m 26. I think the average guess people had for my age was 30. I’m not sure what to think about that.
12. I’m blessed more than I imagined with an amazing group of friends here in Chicago. Two years ago I knew 1 person, and now I have more than I can grill for.
…and thanks to Naomi for snapping some pics and uploading them already! Check them out here.
I think this one is my favorite -
Ok – really, this one is my favorite…