Yesterday I buried my Dad. The years finally caught up with him. He developed poor circulation in the legs, even though he wasn't diabetic, which led to foot sores that wouldn't heal. The doctors said the only way to save his life was to amputate his left leg and he wasn't having any of that. He was a good man, raised on a Michigan farm and learned at an early age how to do whatever work was necessary to get through the bad times like the Great Depression. I'm grateful for him instilling in me and my brothers, a level of fairness and a conscientious work ethic not seen often enough these days.
Here's a story I like about him being in the Army during the second world war. He has always been a fast driver and once on base rapidly passed an officer wife's car. She took exception to that and he was reported. He phoned her up to let her know he wasn't happy with her actions and that resulted a few days in the jail and a month of restocking shelves in the commissary. At the end of the month, he found his unit had been shipped over to Europe and he was left behind stateside for the rest of the war.
Two of my brother's friends from the LA area, which I've known since high school, were at the funeral. Living close to Hollywood somehow spreads it's influence when not a part of that culture. Allan built custom homes in and around the LA suburbs. He now lives next to a home where Charlie Chaplin once lived.
The other friend, Jim Peltz, is the sports writer for the LA Times newspaper, covering racing events. NASCAR recently took him back to South Carolina for a week to afford him the opportunity to get more familiar with their operations. He was telling me about covering the Long Beach Formula One Grand Prix. The operation to field just the lineup of cars for a single NASCAR driver runs 25-million a year, while for a F1 driver, it amounts to 400-million. I knew F1 was quite expensive when looking at the pricing their promotional merchandise, but had no idea it exceeded the national budget of some countries. MHmmm... maybe he can get me a press pass to take racing photos.
Although living in LA, Jim doesn't know the celebrities' scene. Previously, his reporting was for the Times financial arena. So now when at an event, his co-workers will point out someone like Jessica Alba walking in, he questions, "Who is Jessica Alba?".
Since I'm a Jeff Gordon fan, Jim let me know that when Jeff is standing in the back of truck being paraded around the track prior to a race with a lot of the fans booing and throwing stuff at him, is something he has gotten use to and regards it as part of racing when one wasn't raised in the Carolinas. Jim says Jeff is a very nice guy.
The other Hollywood influence deals with one of my nieces whose new teaching job places her working with and dating the brother of Brad Pitt. So, now I'll be able to get the Angelina Jolie related dirt from someone close to the source.