It was the mid-seventies, the band called America had just released “Sister Golden Hair.” “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin was sweeping the charts, and Barry White was the epitome of cool with “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything.” Cable TV was just making it’s way to my neighborhood (Harpland), and we begged Mom and Dad to have it installed.
Before cable and after the coat hanger/rabbit ears, we had an antenna on the roof of our house. The pole that the antenna sat upon was in the ground but not cemented. Why? If there was a show on one of the Cincinnati channels, we would go outside and turn the pole until the reception was good. We would repeat this exercise again when we needed a Dayton channel. This event was quite difficult in the winter, so when the news of cable came along we were ecstatic. “Okay, okay we’ll get cable,” dad proclaimed one evening. Wow! Cable day came and the guys worked to get everything into place. The channels were listed on a brown box with buttons to be pushed to change the stations. 21 channels, which meant three times the amount of viewing opportunities from the antenna era.
Steve and I went to the basement and began the run through of all our new viewing opportunities. Suddenly it happened, we discovered channel 4 out of Indianapolis. They had the Indiana Pacers from the ABA on all the time. You laugh now with 24 hour coverage of every team throughout the land, but this was huge. We became huge fans of Darnell Hillman, Billy Kellar, Billy Knight, Dan Roundfield and George McGinnis. My buddies would come over with envy and watch the Pacers.
Why on earth would I recall such a trivial time in my life? It is one of a million special memories that I have of my brother Steve. September 12 marks two years since he left us. I know he would rather have stayed, but once in the presence of God he would never want to leave. I’ve often wondered how long it would take me to get over his passing. I’m not sure but I know it’s not two years. In some way it feels like a thousand years since he passed away, and on the other hand it feels like yesterday.
I may shed a few tears today, but I will also have several moments of laughter, thinking about the Pacers, sledding behind the house, playing ball in the driveway, shoveling snow at Schenck School to shoot b-ball, walking to Burger Chef, camping out in the backyard, deep frying hot dogs (oops and the fire that followed), etc. Each memory is an heirloom that will never tarnish. They will never be lost, stolen or decayed. I will treasure them until I see him once again.
If you knew Steve, you probably agree that your life is better just from knowing him. If you never had the opportunity to cross paths with him, you really missed out on someone special. He loved God and loved people. He was honest and trustworthy, and desired to make everyone around him better, which he did. I miss him!
If the Pacers were on tonight I would watch, but since it is not basketball season yet that is not possible. However, maybe just maybe I can jump back to 1975 with a little “Bungle in the Jungle” by Jethro Tull!!!