Tom Watson, the Moon Landing, and Character

 

When I first thought of blogging about the historic coincidence of Tom Watson’s feats in The Open Championship and the 40th Anniversary of the first moon walk, I thought it was going to be easy.  Two great events, one nostalgic, one invoking nostalgia, should provide interesting and attractive blog fodder.

Bogging is almost never easy.

In terms of historical significance, the moon landing and ranks right up there with the invention of the alphabet.  That, too, was “one giant leap for mankind”.  Both advanced humanity exponentially on history’s timeline.

On the face of it, Watson’s feat, though not a feat for all mankind (after all, how many of us can drive a golf ball straight and true?), fell short of having a lasting significance, but does much for the human spirit of accomplishment and achievement.  We may not remember his magnificent march to the cusp of golf immortality, but we will remember his masterful use of consistent effort and determination.  Hope stirred in us all as he stood over the Claret Cup clinching putt and hope was transformed into disappointment as the eight foot putt died just inches short of everlasting glory. 

And that is the only thing that Neil Armstrong has over Tom Watson.  Armstrong has the everlasting glory and Watson has the un-extinguishable effort and determination.

Both inspire and embody greatness.

Great Feuds and Rivalries

 

1.  Ali vs. Frazier  For sportsfans of my generation, there is nothing like the feud/rivalry between these two great heavyweights.  I still remember Sports Illustrated’s picture of “The Face of a Winner” depicting Frazier’s battered, bloody and bruised face after Ali-Frazier I, and Howard Cossell’s “DOWN GOES FRAZIER!!”, and Frazier failing to answer the bell in the 14th round of the “Thrilla in Manilla”.  What I didn’t remember was the one question interview with Ferdinand Marcos after that third fight.

2.  Pete Rose vs Bart Giamatti  I think even die hard Pete Rose fans knew in their heart of hearts that Pete had done something really wrong but clung to the hope that it wasn’t true.  Ultimately, the Dowd Report found no evidence that Rose had bet on Reds’ games but the damage had been done.  The scandal spanned Giamatti’s  brief tenure (154 days) as Commissioner of Baseball and just 8 days after suspending Rose from Baseball, Giamatti died from a massive heart attack.  In my opinion, Rose will be banned from baseball until MLB does something about “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

3.  Chrissy vs Martina  Chrissy was 37-43 lifetime against Martina.  Great friends off the court, their rivalry captured the imaginations of tennis fans throughout the late 70’s and early to mid 80’s due somewhat to the contrast of tennis styles and cultures.  Martina defected to the United States in 1975 and utilized an aggressive style, while Chrissy was a baseline player with great anticipation and near perfect technique.

4.  Jack vs Arnie  Arnie popularized the sport and Jack made it desireable and accessible.  At first, Jack was Darth Vader threatening Arnie’s Army.  Arnie smoking cigarettes on the course in an age where smoking was cool.  We’d hardly had enough time to realize Arnie’s legacy when the upstart stepped up to challenge it.  Arnie’s swing was more like mine and Jack ‘s was flawless.

5.  Sigourney Weaver and the Alien(s) vs Arnold Schwarzeneger and the Terminator  Arnold edges out Sigourney in a Time Travel vs Space Travel matchup.  In my book, Time Travel wins every time.

6.  OSU vs Michigan  Woody vs Bo.  The War Between the States.  This 100+ year rivalry was barely noticed until the controversial Woody Hayes tore up sideline markers in the ‘Big House’ in 1971.  Woody was stoic in his refusal to even recognize ‘that school up north’ while Bo was gentlemanly in his contempt for his mentor’s program.  This “coach-mentor” / “father – son”  rivalry was less about Buckeyes and Wolverines than Woody vs Bo, though neither would admit it.

8.  The Godfather II vs  Godfather III  Personally, I like 3 better than 2.  But the winner would lose to The Godfather by a long shot in the finals.

9.   Kobe vs Lebron  Michael.  None better.

10.  The Twilight Zone vs Night Gallery  Rod Serling vs Rod Serling.  Black and white vs color.

P.R.I.D.E.

 

Passion       “A love for what you are doing”

Resolve       “Commitment to the task at hand”

Initiative     “Bold enough to accomplish the chosen objectives”

Desire         “Drive.  You must WANT to excel”

Execution    “Focus on your performance”

Mrs. Dickson’s Pineapple Cheesecake Recipe

 

MRS. DICKSON’S PINEAPPLE CHEESECAKE

Crust:
20 graham crackers, crushed or run thru food processor
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup of sugar
Mix together and press in 9’ x 13’ pan   set aside
INGREDIENTS:
1 large can evaporated milk
1 small box lemon jello
1 cup boiling water
1 large can crushed pineapple – drained
1-8oz pkg cream cheese – softened
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
DIRECTIONS
Pour evaporated milk into a mixing bowl and freeze for 35-45 minutes
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the lemon jello in the 1 cup boiling water.  Put in refrigerator to chill
In large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla
Beat the chilled jello with an electric mixer until frothy
Beat the semi-frozen evaporated milk until fluffy
Fold jello and the evap milk  into the cream cheese mixture
Stir in the “drained” pineapple
Pour into the crust and sprinkle crushed graham crackers over the top.  refrigerate overnight.

Mrs. Dickson’s Light and Fluffy Pineapple Cheesecake

 

Mom died in January of 1999 but she left behind a great recipe for a cheesecake that was, well, to die for.

It wasn’t your typical cheesecake.  It was light and airy and more pineapple than cheese and she almost always made it when family came to visit.  Especially me.

It had a graham cracker crust and it was topped with graham cracker crumbs.  In between was the pineapple cheesecake part that literally melted in your mouth and left that little tingle of pineapple tang in your mouth.  It was so good that you had to let it set in the refrigerator overnight to allow it to ‘set up’, enhancing the anticipation and excitation of the salivary glands.

I’ve had it only twice since 1999, most recently about a month ago when my sister came from Phoenix visiting her son, Mrs. Dickson’s Pineapple Cheesecake Recipe in hand.

It wasn’t really Mom’s creation.  She obtained the recipe from someone—a friend from church I’m guessing—when i was a young teenager.  And it quickly became my favorite desert and she always made sure there was some left for me to take with me after I left home.

Anyway, I arrived at my nephew’s house found myself alone with the cheesecake.  I couldn’t resist.  I ceremoniously slid a large piece from the aluminum pan that had sat in the fridge for almost 12 hours! 

It was just as I had remembered.  Light and fluffy and I devoured it in a matter of minutes.  As always, I pressed the remnant graham cracker crumbs onto the fork to finish it off. 

My nephew and sister arrived a short time later and immediately went to retrieve the Dickson delicacy from its chilly holding cell.

But the damage had been done.  My haste had made waste since the aluminum pan was now heavier on one side than it was on the other.  The pan was now unwieldy and awkward and the center of gravity had been disturbed.  My unwitting nephew was the victim of this as he slid the aluminum pan from the glass shelf and the laws of physics took over.

The pan tipped in his hand as he lifted it from its designated 9” x 12” rectangular slot and tumbled head over graham cracker crust to the linoleum kitchen floor.

Fortunately, my nephew’s wife is an excellent housekeeper and we immediately declared the five second rule in effect.  I rushed to the kitchen and grabbed the nearest spatula and without hesitation, I began troweling the treasure back into the pan like a bricklayer.  It was too precious and too delicious to waste and I wasn’t going to miss out on this opportunity.  Pineapple cheesecake like this just doesn’t come along every day.

But Mom is probably spinning in her grave because Mom, too, was an excellent housekeeper.  But she would never eat her own cheesecake once it had been on her pristine floor.

She would just make another one.