last night a handful of my friends from high school met me at Wrigley Field for my annual pilgrimage to the Friendly Confines.
i was very fortunate in high school that i knew so many cool people and it was great to be reunited with them, a couple of whom i have only seen a few times in the last 20 years.
the day began with thunderstorms and rain – two things this Los Angeleno hasn’t experienced in nearly 20 years and i didnt know how to handle it.
but the midwest is a wild place, thunderstorms in the morning and afternoon doesnt necessarily mean a night game rain out. in fact last night it meant just the opposite: beautiful weather, clear skys, clean streets, green grass, gorgeous ivy, and memorable times with friends who have always remained in my heart.
my mom drove me to monica and her hunky husband’s amazing dream home. patrick is a master with iron and monica’s dad is a talented and skilled contractor who used to build stairs in their summer home that lead to nowhere for fun.
i imagine that once his oldest daughter owned her own home he was thrilled to use his master craftsmanship and love for her in beautiful ways, and i gotta say, i have been in some o the coolest homes in LA, and Herr Troesken blows them away.
also i loved that nearly everywhere i looked in the home were Cubs memorabilia on walls, atop tables and even as nightlights.
patrick drove through the rush hour traffic and monica and i gabbed like two ladies at the hair dressers.
when we arrived at Wrigleyville we took a stroll around all the new development which gave me mixed emotions because they sure are building up the place that used to be quaint and authentic and old school, almost like lalala oh theres a baseball stadium right in the middle of town? look at that!
soon it will look more like oh theres a city surrounding the baseball complex? weird.
after several beers, pulled pork sandwhiches, wine, and trips to various bars we all met at the Harry Caray statue and congregated in the Left Field bleachers. thanks to the rain a lot of the fair weather fans stayed home which meant there was plenty of room for our large group to move around and do our thing in about the fourth and fifth row.
Bob, the real MVP of the night, bought the tickets for us, and even made tshirts to celebrate the evening. he is my oldest friend, i first met him my first day of Kindergarten and even though we havent lived in the same time zone for quite a while, i will never forget sitting in the left field bleachers when we were in junior high along with our other grade school pal Todd – and later our high school bud Keith. Hopefully the next time we are all at Wrigley those General Managers can come too.
other MVPs include high school friends Laura and Julie who took the train from the far out in the sticks to join us. Laura is a school teacher and librarian who invited me to teach her class next September which i gladly accepted. and Julie is one of the few remaining cattle farmers of Northern Illinois and one of my closest friends from school. She told me she made a binder of all the notes I passed her in school which she saved for when I get famous. I apologized for letting her down, although now I’m very curious about those notes because that was basically the Genesis for the busblog.
Of the friends who i knew in school, these three ladies probably account for 75% of what influenced me in my juvenilia. all i ever wanted to do was impress and entertain them, and i usually did it through my body building and short story writing. so what a joy it was to reunite with them after all these years. AND AT MY FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD!
because you should always have special guests, also in attendance was my LAist News Editor, Andy Sternberg, who moved from the sandy beaches of Venice to the North Side of Chicago so he could walk to Cubs games to experience this magical season. it was awesome to chill with he and his lovely new lady – who is also a big cubs fan, so i approved.
i felt a little sad for Monica’s hubby Patrick who had to hear all our old high school war stories, but he seemed ok with it all. what a trooper. i forgot to tell him i wanted his Cubs shirt. But I am glad I didn’t because he would have probably taken it off his back for me.
Speaking of, you can no longer go topless at Wrigley, which disturbed me, so I took off my shirt (not pictured) and plan to take it off again at my next visit because come on man.
also in attendance was this fun couple who we didn’t know but who had the sad misfortune of sitting next to us. Because Bob is the Ambassador of Fun, not only did he become friends with them immediately but they taught him a game-long Cub Cup gambling game which I immediately jumped in on. they nick-named me Hollywood – which was apropos since i funded most of the pretty girls’ winnings with very little to show for it afterwards.
Cubs won, new friends were made and I even met two Mexican young ladies who overheard me talk trash about San Diego, but it led to them giving me their numbers as they told me about their relative’s Carnitas joint on West Cermak.
so see, people really do win on MTV.