Pick up that penny, but wash your hands before eating the lefse
I wasn’t talking aloud to myself, but I was doing color commentary in my mind.
Like everyone, I had things to consider. I once saw a opossum run headfirst into the pole of a shepherd’s hook and a woman walk headfirst into a farm combine parked across from a small-town cafe. Neither opossum nor woman suffered serious injuries, but such occurrences deserve reflection.
The elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesh, must have been busy that day. He is considered the remover of obstacles, but he also places obstacles in the paths of those who need testing. The opossum and the woman must have been in that group.
I’d been doing some Christmas shopping. At this time of year, we each become someone who has found Aladdin’s Lamp. We wish for things. I enjoy the giving, but the getting can be exasperating if I let myself think about it too much. There is always a better gift or a better deal. Those are obstacles. Ganesh was at work.
After leaving the store, I picked up two pennies from the pavement and put them in my pocket.
Why bother picking up pennies? It’s part of my get rich slowly scheme. I’m cheap and I remember when I was a boy and a penny bought something. I could get a small piece of candy for a penny.
There are aphorisms about retrieving discarded pennies.
Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.
Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have one cent.
A friend told me that when I find a penny, it means that a departed loved one is thinking of me. That leaves me with a warm feeling, but I wish they’d give me a $20 thought. The penny may be a sign from a loved one who is among the living and didn’t want the coins cluttering up the lint in the pockets of his jeans.
My mother referred to pennies from heaven. That phrase meant unexpected good fortune or a windfall. The expression may have originated with a motion picture and song by that name popularized by Bing Crosby.
I’ve never worn penny loafers, but I know those who have and placed a penny in a little slot front and center on each shoe. They were put there for no apparent reason other than to make a cool fashion statement. I remember a college-aged fellow who found a utilitarian reason for those slots. He slipped dimes into them. Not everyone was a walking telephone in those days, so phone booths were used to make calls. A pay phone cost him a dime. If he kept his shoes loaded, he had money to place a couple of emergency phone calls. And college students make emergency calls.
Not long after my picking up my two cents’ worth, I visited someone who gave me some lefse rolled around butter and sugar. I like lefse. What’s not to like? It’s bread, dessert and a napkin all in one.
A person of robust German heritage, when offered the lefse, raised her eyebrows and said she’d rather have sauerkraut. I like sauerkraut. I’d like both.
I’ll bet Martin Luther liked sauerkraut. In 1517, Luther nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. He might have glued a round of lefse to the door, too, but I can’t confirm that.
Why am I writing about lefse in the midst of a story about pennies? Thanks for asking. A fellow lefse eater gave me the latest gossip making the rounds in his particular set. Jesse James had never really died. I masked my incredulity. Jesse would have had an exceptional string of good luck to survive 170 years. James was presumed to have been shot while dusting or straightening a picture on the wall of his rented home in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1882. His assassin was Bob Ford, a member of the James gang who’d cut a deal with the governor of Missouri to capture the infamous outlaw for the $10,000 reward. There was lingering speculation that James had faked his death and someone else was buried in his grave. Several men claimed to be Jesse James. In 1995, scientists decided to see if Jesse was buried in Jesse’s grave and exhumed his supposed remains from Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, Missouri. After conducting DNA testing, they concluded that it was almost certainly Jesse James.
That didn’t surprise me.
Good luck comes with finding a penny, not stealing one.
© Al Batt 2017
Karla Burgstahler, LMT
1. When was the last time before 2016 that a New York team won the Little League World Series?
2. Who was the only player in the 1950s to have at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season?
3. Entering 2017, how many Oklahoma Sooners had won the Heisman Trophy?
4. In 2017, the Golden State Warriors became the fifth team to start the NBA playoffs 10-0. Name two of the other three to do it (one did it twice).
5. Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel in 2017 tied an NHL record for the most points by a rookie in one postseason (21). Who else did it?
6. Toronto FC set a Major League Soccer mark in 2017 for the highest points total in the standings for a season (69). Which team had held the mark?
7. Who was the last fighter that boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. notched a knockout or TKO against before Conor McGregor in 2017?
1. Staten Island, N.Y., won in 1964.
2. Willie Mays had 26 doubles, 20 triples, 35 homers and 38 stolen bases in 1957 for the New York Giants.
3. Billy Vessels (1952), Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008).
4. The Los Angeles Lakers (1989, 2001), San Antonio (2012) and Cleveland (2016).
5. Minnesota’s Dino Ciccarelli (1981) and Philadelphia’s Ville Leino (2010).
6. The Los Angeles Galaxy (68 points in 1998).
7. Victor Ortiz, in 2011.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.
We are afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
From Where I Sit
Been an interesting ride for Iowa basketball through the season’s first dozen games. At level .500, the Hawkeyes need to put a winning streak together prior to the resumption of the Big Ten schedule on January 2nd with Michigan. When the Hawks lost four straight to Virginia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State and Penn State, the Xmas gift giving was way early. Iowa coughed up, on average, over 20 points off turnovers. Now with guard Connor McCaffery finally playing and floor leader Nicolas Baer playing like his old self after missing the first six games with injury, the Hawkeyes are starting to look like who we thought they’d be. Home games with Southern Utah and Northern Illinois sandwiched around a trip to Sioux Falls to face Colorado at the beautiful brand new Sanford Premier Center. Then it’s Michigan and Ohio State at Carver Hawkeye Arena in resuming Big Ten play. Much to be learned about Iowa basketball over the next 60 days.
Iowa football will experience it’s first ever early recruit signing day on December 20th. The Hawks look to sign 15-18 players over a three day stretch. This past week the Hawkeyes got a verbal from 4 star California quarterback Spencer Petras. Defensive linemen Tyler Linderbaum and 4 star John Waggoner of Dowling Catholic are two gems. Samson Evans from Crystal Lake, Il, a quarterback with blazing speed who will flip to wide receiver. Evans concluded his high school career with 6400 rushing yards and 112 touchdowns. Prairie Ridge won the 6A state title at 15-0.
Mayfield’s Legacy Not Yet Complete
Sooner or later, somebody had to say something.
And it just so happened that the ones doing the talking were the good folks in charge of the Heisman Trophy.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the 2017 Heisman Trophy, receiving 732 of the 882 votes cast. His numbers are irrefutable. He led the Sooners to a 12–1 record and a College Football Playoff berth. He had 4,340 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, with another five on the ground. He had the best completion percentage (71 percent) in the nation and easily eclipsed Stanford running back Bryce Love and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, last year’s winner.
Mayfield’s path to the Heisman didn’t come easy ... not that it ever does.
He began his career as a walk-on player at Texas Tech, becoming the first walk-on true-freshman quarterback to start a season opener at a BCS school. He transferred from Tech to Oklahoma following alleged scholarship issues and “a lack of communication with coaches.” After sitting out 2014, Mayfield won the starting quarterback job in 2015. Boom! Two years later he’s in the playoffs and has a nifty statue to talk about for the rest of his life.
Mayfield was a hit from the start. He passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns in his first game against SMU. His 43 completions in 60 attempts broke a school record held by Billy Joe Tolliver and was just four completions short of the NCAA single-game record for completions by a freshman.
On Nov. 4, Mayfield all but sealed the deal when he threw for a career-high 598 yards and five touchdowns against intrastate rival Oklahoma State. Those are unworldly numbers. To boot, he is the first walk-on ever to win the Heisman and he accumulated the third highest vote total in doing so.
Mayfield’s award makes Oklahoma No. 3 in all-time Heisman Trophy wins, bested only by Notre Dame and Ohio State, who each have seven. Oklahoma’s winners — Billy Vessel, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White and Sam Bradford — can welcome Mayfield into their exclusive club with pride, but everyone knows that this wagon train has to roll through Georgia and the winner of Alabama vs. Clemson before his legacy is complete.
Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in New Jersey.
© 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.