To My Friend Nick Sweigart of Crown Point, Indiana

(The following is a letter I sent to Nick in January of 2014. I had learned that the cancer he had fought for many years had returned, and I wanted to document our friendship one more time…..)

My capability for travel is limited at the moment and that, as the kids say, is bumming me out. What I’d prefer to do is show up at your doorstep to share the memories I have of a great friend, but this letter will have to serve that purpose for now.

Just a few examples of great memories……

Sharing lots of laughs.

Driving to the Beauty Spot for lunch.

Observing Rick Curran and Jack(?) Chidsey in action.

Watching Gayle Sayers and Dick Butkus and all those other great Chicago Bears.

Cataloging the Fanta bets.

Getting through the door (you first, Laurel & Hardy style) at Lew Wallace.

Chuckling over the Pollizato(?) “Straight Finger” painting in the hallway at Lew Wallace.

Playing at golf, especially with Ed Metz and watching you launch a golf ball into a trailer park (a baseball swing with a putter, as I recall).

Attacking the Lake Michigan waves at Miller Beach.

Being your best man and getting to know Connie, Patty, Mike, David, and Suzie (and to a less frequent but no less pleasant extent, Shirlee).

Welcoming you and Connie and infant Suzie to our home in Falls Church, Virginia in April of 1969 (recall that my younger daughter Valerie was born that weekend, but we still got to see the cherry trees).

Joining you, Connie, and Karen in Manhattan for a Broadway show after a few days of touring in Washington.

Hearing about the adventures of Lucky the Basenji, terror dog of Crown Point.

Having great times with Ken Chaney, Mike (“Home of the Whopper”) Jennings, Howard Jones, Wally Webb and other Lew Wallace denizens.

Officiating basketball with you.

Watching you officiate at a regional in Ft. Wayne.

Hearing about the kid you had watch your house across the street from Lew Wallace while you were on vacation, and your adventure with the Gary PD when you came back early.

Watching in horror as you poured milk on my famous popcorn.

Botching a call umpiring a baseball game you were coaching. (Would like to have that one back…..)

Catching your nifty passes for layups, especially the backwards no-look one in the faculty-student game.

Enjoying and (mostly) agreeing with your philosophy of life.

I often tell this Nick story to illustrate the humor I always enjoyed so much:
At a teachers’ meeting in the auditorium at Lew Wallace, when a strangely dressed and barely presentable guy walked down the aisle and up on the stage to be introduced as a guest speaker. Your comment as he went by us: “This guy has to be part of the hot lunch program.” Of course you made me laugh at an inappropriate time. Again.

Thanks for interrupting your review of the Cardinals’ spring training to drive across Florida for a visit with Karen and me and our friends Joe and Karen Mollahan in Estero Beach.

All the best my friend. Your pal forever,