Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 3 -- Denver, Colorado

Saturday morning started not with breakfast, but a trip to the local immediate care center in Ogden. It turns out that Olivia had a double ear infection. Which may explain the squawking and lack of sleeping the night before. I'll say this though, what a beautiful view from the care center of the Wasatch Mountains. Very impressive. You walk out the door and this snow-capped peak fills the horizon. I'm not sure, however, that it lessens the hurt of dropping 90 bucks on a doc and medicine. After we got Olivia straight, and after Julie and the kids did some serious swimming at the indoor pool at the motel, we hit the road.

Wyoming is a big state. With nothing in it. It looks like someone picked up the state, turned it over and shook it real fierce like and everything dropped out. Then Wyoming was turned back over and plopped down. There's a few people in windswept outposts like Rawlins (where we hit the 1,000-mile mark of the official Team Sabo Mad Dash Across America). Lots of cows. Some antelope. And wide open spaces. There's a lot of sky in Wyoming up there on the treeless high plains. I'm not saying that's a bad thing because I'm partial to big views. Off in the distance in places you could catch glimpses of the snow-capped Rockies and the wind farms with the humongous windmills are something else. Here's an oddity, though. We crossed the Continental Divide twice. That's some strange division. This new math is something, eh? Well, it turns out that after crossing the Continental Divide once, the road kind of makes a jog and then you have the privilege of climbing up to 7,000 feet a second time to cross again. You don't want to get cheated when you're crossing the Continental Divide. I saw some pretty cool roadkill in Wyoming: Badger. I do believe it's the first time I've seen badger -- dead on the side of the road or alive -- in my life.

We rolled into Denver around 7:30 p.m. and bolted for the house of our friends Pete and Colleen. They live in a great neighborhood and we walked a few blocks down to the local ice cream store and pretty much cleaned out the place ice cream wise. Pete sprung for the ice cream and I understand he had to get a line of credit for it. God bless the man. After we got home Evie had a bout with nausea and Abram pretty much hung out in the bathroom with "intestinal" issues. Maybe it's the mile-high altitude. Hopefully that's the case. Then Ezra fell on the bed and conked his nose. This morning he looks like he was in a boxing match. Today we head for Lees Summit, Missouri. That's where we have a house lined up where Anna Scott's grandma lived. Oh, in case you haven't been informed, my fellow Cornerstone School of Ministry graduate Anna Scott is joining the trip back to Virginia. She's rolling in a Taurus, drafting right behind the Team Sabo 15-passenger Chevy Express. We're happy to have her along.

Day 2 -- Ogden, Utah

Goodbye, Oregon. What a day. We had a blast visiting with my folks and family in Bend and spent the night with our good friends Scott and Jane before hitting the road Friday morning. We sauntered through our old stomping grounds of Prineville and saw our old house before putting the Cascade Mountains in the rear view mirror and skedaddling across my favorite stretch of Oregon road: Highway 26 from Prineville to Vale. It's such a gorgeous drive. Piney forests with mountain streams, lush valleys, little hamlets like Dayville and Monument and Mitchell...we had a great stop at the city park in John Day and played in the sprinklers. Great memories.

We drove to Fruitland, Idaho, and had dinner with our friends the McKinneys. We also gained our first Wiffle ball converts. We busted out the Wiffle ball and bat and threw some batting practice. When we left Curt said he was going to buy some Wiffle balls and bats for his family get-together this Sunday. We left their casa about 7 o'clock and made hay for Utah. I have a few observations. First of all, I hereby proclaim metropolitan Jerome, Idaho, as the "I-84 Odor Capital of the Universe." Poor Ezra. He got blamed for more "personal hygiene issues" in his diaper than what should be legally allowed. I do believe that the number of cattle feedlots and dairy farms in metro Jerome exceed the allowable limit. My next observation has to do with roadkill. Let me put this out to the deer in Utah: Stay off the freeway. The speed limit in Utah is 75 mph. You should see what happens to a deer when it gets hit at 75-80 mph. It's not pretty. On the other hand, the practical side of me says it might be good to pick up the shredded venison off the highway shoulder and put it in a crock pot with some seasoning and barbecue sauce. I bet in 6-8 hours Bambi would be a wonderful "pulled venison" type of meal.

Anyways, we snuck into Utah in the dark of night and laid low in a hotel in Ogden, finally arriving at 12:30 a.m. on Friday. I just have to watch myself in Utah. You make yourself seen in Utah with 11 kids and you're liable to be known as a Mormon. All in all we covered about 640 miles or so. Not too shabby.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 1--Bend, Oregon

Team Sabo warmed up for its march across the midriff of America with an easy three-hour jaunt through the Cascade Mountains to the highfalutin' hotspot of Bend, Ore. As you may or may not know, I grew up in Bend when it was a mill town. Now it's like a drunk recovering from a bender. Bend hit it big in the real estate glory days, with the housing market exploding like it was on steroids and people making wads of cash flipping houses, the money so fast and easy they were practically giving it away on every street corner. At one time Bend was way up there in the rankings of one of the most overvalued real estate markets in the nation. Not anymore. There are foreclosures everywhere and smoking deals abound on houses here. If you can find work.

I digress. We left Canby, Ore., this morning under somewhat suspicious circumstances. Let's just say the neighbors were probably calling the cops because some crazed students from Cornerstone School of Ministry -- the perpetrators being Sarah Nagel, Ahnalise Murray, Jen Weiss and LJ Wilson -- showed up outside Grandma and Grandpa Young's house with a banner we literally drove through as we rolled down the street. It was an exit like no other. I can imagine the 9-1-1 call from the neighbor peeking out his window went something like this: "Get some cops down here right now! We've got some crazed Christians on the loose! On the streets of Canby!"

We'll get some photos of the hooliganism when we can. And where we can. The drive was OK today. Just some hollering issues from precious Olivia, but other than night fairly smooth sailing. Tomorrow we head for Utah. We'll venture through Prineville, our old stomping grounds in the '90s, then on through the magnificent John Day River Valley, with a stop to see some dear friends in Fruitland, Idaho. Adios.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Those of us in Christiandom know that KLOVE is a popular radio station heard across the country. Many of us are blessed by the sounds of Christian music filling the airwaves. Although I admit I'm more partial to Air1 -- KLOVE's sister radio station that plays to a younger audience -- I find general satisfaction in KLOVE. It beats listening to talk radio and a whole bunch of other stuff. Twice a year the station does fundraising drives. I'm annoyed by them. It's just tough listening to them ask for money. I know they are listener-funded and God bless those listeners who pony up so the rest of us can enjoy some Christian tuneage, but that doesn't ease my annoyance.

Here's my principal beef with the whole thing. I looked up KLOVE's Form 990, which is basically an accounting of its money that every nonprofit is supposed to file annually with the IRS. The most recent Form 990 I found through was for 2007. Whoa nelly! Some folks are making some coin off of KLOVE. The station, based in Rocklin, Calif., reported total revenue of $82.8 million in 2007. The expenses were $62.1 million, leaving an excess of $20.7 million. Is it me or is that a lot of dough? The station also reported net assets of $100 million. Nice.

Here are the top five paid employees of KLOVE:
1) Dick Jenkins, CEO--$283,452
2) Mike Novak, President--$225,018
3) Jon Rivers, Music Director--$220,730 (No longer with the station effective March 30 for unexplained reasons.)
4) Joseph Miller, Assistant Treasurer--$204,859
5) Keith Whipple, Secretary--$192,968

I counted 12 employees earning more than $100,000. Not too shabby, eh? At the least, it's something to think about the next time a pledge drive rolls around.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Record Territory

It's been a remarkable year in so many ways. As we near Team Sabo Oregon Departure Date, I find myself reflecting on so many things. Then something gave me pause. Julie is not pregnant. Since the birth of one John Taylor Sabo on April 29, 1992, the longest gap between two successive Sabo kids is ... (pardon us while our crack research team uses all of its fingers and toes) 22 months. (Editor's Note: Are you sure about Taylor's date of birth? Author's reply: Should I not be? I'm pretty sure that's right ... I was there after all. Editor's rebuttal: Um, yeah. But you were at Ethan's birth and how many years was it before you started putting his correct date of birth on Little League applications? Author's reply: OK, I was one day off. Big deal.)

Ahem. Sorry for the interruption. Anyways, as I was saying, 22 months. That would be the approximate gap between Eli's August 19, 2004, birthday and Ezra's birth on June 23, 2006. (Editor's note: Very good Matt. We're so proud. Author's reply: Sigh. It's not like I'm forgetting someone's middle name. Editor's rebuttal: Let's not go there.) But now, Olivia is nearing 14 months of age. And if our math is correct, that means there would be nearly a two-year gap between wee Sabos. Extraordinary. I don't know what this means, other than I feel somewhat rattled. Uneasy even. And I don't know how it affects my dream of having 3 million of my -- er, our -- Sabo progeny populate the Earth within six generations. But this trend appears to be ominous. (Editor's note: One unique circumstance doth not a trend make. Author's reply: Did you get that quote out of a King James Bible? If so, what book was it in?) Whatever the case, I'm keeping on eye on this trend, or whatever it is. I'm still looking for that lefty who throws heat.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Of Boys And Food

Ever get to the end of a week and feel kind of bushwhacked? I didn't think so. Julie spent the week in Arizona with her youngest sister, brother-in-law and three kids. She suffered through 100-degree days and coped by spending time in the swimming pool in the back yard. She probably needs a nice relaxing time at the spa to unwind. I'll look into that for her. She did say that Olivia was an absolute monster on the flight home. I don't believe her. Olivia is too sweet to be a monster. (Editor's note: Really? I wonder what your story will be when you're driving across the country with her. Author's reply: Thanks for mentioning that. I'll be picking up the earplugs tomorrow.)

Things went remarkably smooth here, though it's not to say I wasn't a little wigged out at times. Or frazzled even. I'm happy to report we made no visits to the emergency care center, we weren't compelled to make trips to McDonald's at dinner and near as I can tell, everyone is alive and accounted for right down to Ezra. Claire is a huge help and Brenton, Taylor and Ethan pulled some serious weight helping out around the house. Kudos as well to Evie and MerriGrace. Tonight a couple friends of Taylor and Ethan are here so we have, well, 14 kids in the house if my math is correct. I expect the fire marshal to arrive at any moment with news we've exceeded the allowed occupancy for this pad. The boys just got back from Brenton taking them to the grocery store. By all appearances, it seems as though they cleaned out the "Chips" aisle. They also have pizza rolls, chicken quesadillas and mozzarella sticks. I think those are all appetizers. Hopefully we have enough grub in the house for the main course. Or courses. I remember being a teenage boy. I was always hungry. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I remember sometimes having a breakfast of eggs and pancakes at my house with my buddy Darren Petrie, then we would ride our bikes a mile to my buddy Schwartz's casa just so we could have Lucky Charms and Trix. Sadly, those days are long over. Breakfast these days is yogurt and an apple. The mere thought of Trix or Lucky Charms results in immediate, instantaneous even, weight gain and makes my next attempt at running all the more difficult.

With all these starved teenage boys here, I have this image of waking up in the morning and wading through bags of empty bags of chips, piles of discarded pizza roll, quesadilla and mozzarella sticks boxes, crumbs from sub sandwiches and probably foil from dozens of Ding Dongs. But it will bring back some sweet memories.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This Life, This Faith

I can't help myself tonight. I'm filing a second blog post. Maybe it's the ice cream. Who knows. Whatever it may be, we at Team Sabo leave for Virginia in 9 days and I don't know whether or not I have a job back at the Daily Press when we get back. And you know, I'm perfectly alright with that. Really, I am. Would I like to return to my old gig? Certainly. Truly, I enjoy writing about the goings on in Gloucester County, Va., (County motto: "Land of the Life Worth Living.") as the resident bureau reporter for the Daily Press. But who knows. The company I work for is in bankruptcy and all hiring decisions must pass through corporate headquarters in Chicago. The question in Chicago may well be, "Matt Sabo? Who's that chump?" These are bloodlettingly brutal times in the news industry and many of my colleagues and friends in the industry are out of jobs, about to lose their jobs or just plain worried about being out of work in the future.

All that stuff aside, this past year in Corvallis at Cornerstone School of Ministry has been amazing. I've learned so much, both in my melon (Editor's note: You mean in your head, right? Author's reply: You got it babe.) and in my heart. I've made friends who are brothers and sisters for a lifetime. We've laughed plenty together. We've cried together. We've sung hymns and sang praises to our Lord and rejoiced together and mourned together and wondered aloud at the amazing grace of our God. All in the same day, mostly. We've wrestled over doctrine. We've dissected and unpacked the meaning and power of Christ's words. We've argued about eternal security and been divided over the peccability or impeccability of Christ. Yet I can't imagine a single one of us trading this year for any other. Myself included, at the head of that line. In a few short days, the 17 of us full-time and assorted few other part-time, students from the Cornerstone School of Ministry class of 2009 will scatter, literally in some cases across the globe. Many of us don't know what the Lord has for us in the days, weeks and months ahead. Some of us don't have jobs lined up. Some of us don't know where we're going. Others of us know where we're going, but with trepidation.

My sense is that we're down with that. For a simple reason we find in Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." This Christian walk, to truly live it out, requires faith. And without faith, what do we have?

Brotherly "Love"

We were driving home from Bend on Monday when Ezra started asking questions. "Brenton," he said. "How are you doing?" Brenton replied by saying he was good. Then Brenton asked Ezra how he was doing. "Good!" Then Ezra asked another question. "Hey Cware (loosely translated from the original "Claire")," he said. "How are you?" After each reply he asked someone else how they were doing. What a guy. Just 2 years old, but caring so much about the welfare of his siblings. And making sure the long ride home from Bend was pleasant.

But things took a turn for the worst a short time later. Somehow he and his 4-year-old brother, Eli, got in a verbal insult match with Brenton. As the head of the household, it led to a huge ethical quandry, in my mind. On the one hand, it was keeping the young lads who are prone to fussing on long trips in the car entertained. On the other hand, there was this issue of "kind words." It was all pretty harmless, but still it was the point of it all: To insult a brother. It was mostly harmless stuff about wearing diapers and other insulting remarks, all in fun and I was letting things go...maybe a little too long. Because then Eli landed a humdinger of a zinger against Brenton. I'm not sure if it's appropriate to repeat in this forum, but in the interest of "keeping it real" in the Team Sabo blog, here goes...he told Brenton he pees like a girl. Soooooo, there it is. I guess, first of all, I plead guilty to laughing out loud. I mean, talk about the ultimate insult. Telling a guy he sits down when he pees? Downright mean. So at that point I cut off the verbal jousting and said we need to find better things to talk about. Perhaps I should have done it earlier. I don't know. These are tough calls, especially in the van when I'm trying to preserve everyone's sanity and considering we had driven to Bend that very morning and it was a long day. All apologies for any offenses to the faithful readers of our handy dandy blog. And if you have any parenting advice, feel free to pass it on. I'm still getting the hang of this. Eli was only our 10th child. We have a lot to learn. Maybe after a few more we'll get it right.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Singing Evangelist

We call Ezra our future worship leader. At any given moment the bediapered towhead will launch into song at the top of his lungs. Often accompanied by strumming on his little toy guitar. "The B-i-b-l-e" is one of his favorites, or you'll hear him singing the lines, "He came from heaven to earth, to show the way. From the earth to the cross, our debt to pay. From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, Lord I lift your name on high."

What's so great about Ezra is that he doesn't reserve his performances for the relative anonymity of the Sabo living room. No way Jose. He takes his singing on the road. Or in the grocery aisle, or doctor's office, or wherever he may find himself. The other morning he serenaded the staff at the nearby immediate care center with some of his greatest hits. And he's not just singing in a conversational tone. The little dude belts it out at the top of his lungs. When we're rolling down the cereal aisle, I'm absolutely positive the shoppers in the produce department can get a load of Ezra's rendition of "Jesus Loves the Little Children."

We predict big things for the littlest Sabo boy (for now at least) with the big lungs and big voice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Endangered Species

I came across this interesting article in the New York Times this afternoon about the rise of Islam and the decline of Christianity in the Middle East. Hold up your hand if you're surprised by this. That's what I thought. So I'm thinking about helping to reverse this trend. As I've mentioned before in this blog (I think...), within six generations we could have anywhere from 1 million to 3 million Sabos running around at present childbirth rates. I'm thinking Turkey doesn't sound too shabby. That's where our dried apricots we get from Safeway come from. So I'm sold on Turkey! Plus there's the added bonus of all those churches in Revelation that are there. Being in Turkey would give us a foothold into the Middle East. Kind of a launching pad, I figure. If you know of any job openings in Turkey or elsewhere in the cradle of civilization, let me know. Tesekkurler. (That's "thank you" in Turkish. We think.)

Story Time

Julie took 42% of the Sabo children this evening for the next couple of nights and headed up to Canby to visit her folks and sister. That leaves me with 7 "kids" ... the youngest of whom is 4. Is that a fair trade? So I'm busy laboring over an outline of Luke, as is Brenton. Taylor and Ethan are catching up on their journaling for their Truth 101 class at church. That leaves Claire in charge of three little boys. She's doing a fine job. We've been taking turns telling the young lads stories at bedtime and now Claire is in on the gig. I caught snippets of her story, which involved a "castle" some heroics and other adventures.

In a big family everyone chips in. Taylor did the dishes tonight -- without me asking him to suds up; God bless that young man. I cooked dinner. This morning I got a slab of pork baby back ribs and busted out the pork rub and then drenched them in an "apple maple" barbecue sauce that sounded kind of funky but was oh so fine. I slow cooked them all day till the meat practically fell off the bone. Life is good.

Julie changed diapers and packed for her trip and generally oversaw the household. Ethan pretty much ate nonstop -- appetizers, main course, post-dinner snacking and then dessert, probably to be followed by a late-night meal -- in between hitting grounders to his little brothers and throwing batting practice in the back yard. Brenton, well, Brenton is in the same boat as me as far as schoolwork. But he's putting a dent in the fridge and pantry supplies as well. Julie, I imagine, has the two little ones asleep and is chatting up her sister. And probably enjoying the prospect of not getting pregnant anytime real soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Camera Shopping

So I'm in the hunt for a camera. A nice digital camera with a decent lens to document the life and times of Team Sabo. And, more importantly, throw some photos up on this here blog. I'd like to get one before we hit the reverse Oregon Trail. I've been looking around some to see what's out there and if anyone has any recommendations or inside information, please drop me a note.

I think it would be really cool to shoot photos of kids losing their minds in Missouri, or Utah, or wherever their relapse of schizophrenia occurs. (Editor's note: I'm not looking forward to that. And I know you aren't. Author's reply: You're right. Let's remember to pack duct tape.) Or hopefully shoot photos of the family in thickets of certified, organic Oregon High Desert sagebrush to show our Virginia friends what a chlorophyll-free zone really looks like. I'd like photos of real snow-capped Oregon mountains as we whiz by. Then when we get to the great Commonwealth of Virginia, I can snap photos of piney briar thickets, sandy beaches with kids swimming in the water without turning blue, habitable houses a half-century older than this great nation and humidity in action -- maybe a closeup of me sweating -- for our excellent friends we're leaving behind in Oregon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

`A Feral Child'

Newspapers may be a dying breed. I'd like to think they're not, but everything I read indicates we're in something of the near-death throes. I read a statistic that something like 8,000 jobs have been lost in the newspaper business just this year. The newspaper I worked for before taking a 9-month sabbatical to attend Cornerstone School of Ministry, keeps making layoffs. It sounds like I'll get my job back in June, but I'm still waiting for the final OK. Advertising revenues at the Wall Street Journal were down 33 percent in the first quarter. That's not good.

But imagine life without newspapers. Who would be watchdogging government? How would residents know what their local, state and national leaders are doing with their money? Who would be watching to ensure our leaders are not abusing their power? Another reason why we need newspapers came to mind today when I read this story from the St. Petersburg Times: That is, to afflict us in our comfort and to remind us how blessed we are in the context of the depths of human depravity. It's an extraordinary, heart-wrenching story about what happens when a child is abandoned -- in her own home. And about a couple's love for the child that is Christlike. I have a friend who works down there at the St. Pete newspaper who's getting laid off at the end of the month. He certainly won't be telling stories like this one.

Here's the story:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Knowing God's Will

Yesterday in our first o' the morning class session, Pastor Rob stopped by to share some wisdom with us. So in that spirit I thought I'd share. Share and share alike, I guess you'd say. So here's the abbreviated highlights of how Pastor Rob says he discerns God's will, with accompanying verses:

--Prayer. Do it often. Make it a habit. Check out Matthew 6:33 and 7:7-11 and 26:39; First Peter 3:7 and Proverbs 3:5-6. Along with prayer, comes fasting. See Ezra 8:21.

--Read the Word. Daily. "We read the Bible to get to know the heart and mind of God," wrote Warren Wiersbe in his excellent book "On Being a Servant of God." Visit Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path," and 2 Timothy 3:16.

--Peace. Pastor Rob says if he doesn't have a peace he doesn't do it. Refer to Philippians 4:7, James 3:17 and Colossians 3:15.

--Wise counsel. This wouldn't take the form of taking a poll of your friends, associates or acquaintances to see what they would do in your situation. Seek out a wise counselor or two, or maybe more. Check out Proverbs 11:14 and 15:2 and 24:6.

--Waiting. What's the rush? Don't be hasty or rushed into decisions. Take a gander at Psalm 27:14 and 37:34.

Wyoming Or Utah?

Here at the Team Sabo blog we tackle the big questions. Huge questions. We've already settled the whole cloth v. plastic diaper debate (See the "My Best Worst Diaper Story" entry on Jan. 15.), informed our loyal readers on how to kill a deadly, venomous, devour-a-child-in-one-slithering-gulp snake (Try the Feb. 17 entry on for size.) and most recently concluded that Wiffle Ball is the greatest game ever invented. But now we move on to the really, really big question. We suggest you not tackle this unless you're fully engaged, totally lubricated with adequate amounts of caffeine and have taken your ADHD, ADD, bi-polar and Preparation H medications.

So here it is: When we drive back to Virginia in three weeks and we're driving from metro Boise to Denver, do we drive through Wyoming or Utah? Now I Mapquested that baby and it told me to drive into Utah and hang a left before we got into Salt Lake City and cruise on into Wyoming all the way to Cheyenne, then hang a right to Denver because it's like 30 or 40 miles shorter or something than going through Utah. But man, that's the way we came out. Is there any chance I didn't see anything heading west in Wyoming that I might see going east? We did stop at a McDonald's in Green River, Wyo. That was pretty cool. But I'm kind of thinking I wouldn't mind driving through the very heart of Utah to see if anything looks different there. The route would go through a place on the map called "Price, Utah," which looks sort of cool to me. Here's what Wikipedia said about Price: "The city is noted for its history as a mining town, and its Greek Orthodox/Catholic/Mormon split population." Talk about diversity! Just imagine what will happen in Price when we get to town! "The city will be noted for its Greek Orthodox/Catholic/Mormon/Calvary Chapel split population." For a few minutes at least.

And out in east Utah are those funky rock formations in Arches National Park ... That's pretty cool, eh? And best yet, we could stop at the McDonald's in Green River, Utah, to see which Green River has the best McDonald's. (Editor's note: Is one McDonald's so different than the other? Author's reply: Let's find out! See how cool this is getting?) So any suggestions, advice, comments or whatever would be appreciated.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Plane Ol' Good Time

On Sunday my older brother, an individual who goes by the name of "Scott," treated 79% of Team Sabo to a day at Evergreen Air & Space Museum in metropolitan McMinnville. (Editor's note: I think we just set a record by inserting an editor's note after the first sentence. Author's reply: The point being? Editor's note, part II: What's with 79 %? Author's reply, part deux: Eleven out of 14 members of Team Sabo. Isn't that 79%?) So most of us made it, but those who didn't either had a prior engagement (Brenton), or were under the weather (Olivia), or for some reason felt compelled to stay home and care for a 1-year-old who probably shouldn't be left home alone (Julie, aka "Mama"). They missed out on a real good time. Despite the presence of Uncle Scott. (Just kidding! Uncle Scott is a great guy! And boy do I mean great! He even sprung for a bag of chocolate covered blueberries! Do you think I could write another sentence that ends in an exclamation mark? Sure!)

Inside the air portion of the museum we looked at a significant gun collection that conjured forth wonderful memories of hunting sagerats out east of Bend as a youth. Later we ventured into the bowels of the Spruce Goose, which in case you didn't know is a Very Large Airplane. Boy howdy is that thing big. You can shoot hoops inside the wings. Yes, you read that correctly: There's up to 11 feet of clearance inside those wings, meaning basketball would be an excellent form of entertainment on a flight...except of course it's one voyage lasted all of a minute. I guess it would be a short game. Hey, there's an idea for the Guinness Book of World Records...the shortest basketball game in history in the biggest airplane! Dude, am I on fire or what? And the plane is waaaayyyyyy long. You could literally be in the front of it in Rhode Island and the poor saps in the back of it would still be in New York, with Connecticut in between! (Editor's note: Remember our conversation about `writing fiction' a while back? Author's reply: Just trying to keep things interesting here babe. And give our loyal readers a geography lesson. A two-for-one!)

The highlight for me was seeing all the World War II fighters and bombers in the museum. When I was a lad I used to make models of World War II airplanes and hang them from the ceiling of my bedroom. I had a P-51 Mustang, a P-38 Lightning, an F-4 Corsair, a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-26 Liberator ... all sorts of winged weapons o' destruction. I even had a German Stuka dive bomber and an ME-109. Then one summer in college in a fit of boredom, and knowing the planes weren't going with me when I moved out, I took them out in the back yard and hung them from a juniper tree and blew them to smithereens with my trusty Daisy BB gun. It was a bona fide, certified blast. And the local population of starlings appreciated the fact that I wasn't pumping them full of copper BB slugs for a change. But seeing all those planes in the museum that were for reals and not just models brought back sweet remembories of building model airplanes. Good times. Real good times. I suspect I'll start up again and recruit some young Sabos to take up a new hobby.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wiffle Ball

Today I had the distinct pleasure of playing a high-stakes Wiffle Ball baseball game with something like 13 other people. About half guys and half gals ranging in age from around 15 to, well, 40. OK, so I was the old man. But I didn't pull any muscles and don't seem to be limping around too badly and my pitching arm is still it was a good day in the Wiffle field. We played a double-header in the rain and sun mix -- heavy on the drizzle, light on the rays -- at Avery Park in Corvallis. It was awesome. The park has a Little League-size field with bases and a little pitcher's mound. It's my sincere belief that Wiffle Ball is one of the most entertaining but underrated games in the entire free world. Anyone can play Wiffle Ball and I think as a gesture of goodwill we should start exporting the game. Wiffle Ball could be the ticket to world peace. Seriously.

Wiffle Ball purists are unashamed addicts. I can admit it. My addiction goes back to my youth as a kid raised in the mean streets of east Bend, when my homies Schwartz, RB, the BT Express, Petrie and even guys like Kenon McGee would get their game on at Sabo Field. We had a skinny juniper tree for first base, an elm stump was second base and a raggedy pine tree was third base. Home plate was the dirt in the grass opposite our driveway that showed up every summer. My dad always used to try and reseed it. It was foolishness, I say. He finally gave up until I left home for good when I got married. Hit it into the driveway and it was a home run. But you had a towering juniper tree in left-center that swallowed Wiffle Balls whole. Seriously. Sometimes it wasn't until the onset of seasonal fall windstorms that the dang tree would finally surrender it's catch of Wiffle Balls. Your best bet was to try and hit it to dead center, between the towering juniper and the crabapple tree in right center.

If you think I'm a little crazy about Wiffle Ball, you might check this dude's video out. I showed it to my older boys and already they're making big plans for Sabo Field at Courthouse Square (the subdivision that's home to Team Sabo in Gloucester). The only trick will be getting our Wiffle Ball field past the homeowners association.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Reporting Life

For some reason tonight I remembered a story I had written for The Oregonian many, many moons ago. It's one that will stick with me an awful long time. Probably as long as I have my remembory. (Editor's note: Remembory? Author's reply: Madeline coined the term about the age of 3 or 4. Still one of my favorite words.) I'll post a link to it here and you can check it out. It's a tragic story about two young brothers and a gun. Life is precious. Hug a kid tonight. Or kids.