Editor’s note: I wrote this 1.5 years ago. But it’s still applicable. So i have dropped it on your once again.


Here it is 2017 and as the great Mickey Mantle once said, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”  And it is tough to get old because your engine starts to break down and then the body follows suit and the days as Hank Williams once sang is like a stone rolling down a lost highway.

This lost highway for me has seen many friends and acquaintances leave it, some way before their time and some so unexpectedly that it crushes you emotionally.  Adolph, my best friend since high school, was a sudden departure. He was sitting in his chair at home in California five years ago when he had a massive heart attack and died before his wife could rush home from shopping to help him, or at least to say goodbye. Their marriage was the best I have ever seen. They were truly devoted to each other, enjoyed many laughs in their 49 years of being together. I called his widow a year ago just to see how she was doing and even then she was missing him. But she is keeping busy and has three wonderful kids who look after her.

As I sit here typing this while trying to ignore some terrible aches and pains, I drift back down that lost highway and see me and Adolph sitting in his 1950s Chevy coup listening to Ira Blue on KGO radio broadcasting from San Francisco’s hungry i. We are yucking it up while the night silently gathers around us, giving us comfort from the dark days that often jolted the two of us into painful submission.

Life doesn’t slow down on the lost highway just because Adolph and other friends depart it early. That rolling stone keeps rolling. That’s the difficult part for me. I have a hard time when the lost highway is not as full or as busy as it once was and have had a tough time adjusting to the fact that just because the world is a little emptier that doesn’t mean that the stone stops rolling. Adolph was an important part of my life and missing him is a big-time jolt, but the stone keeps rolling and the lost highway still must be traveled.

It’s taken me a lot of years to learn that the important things I viewed as indispensable are really not that important in the greater scheme of things. I am very competitive and that can get me tied up emotionally into games. Or at least they used to. Games are like life. They come and go and the rolling stone continues to roll no matter the result. If the Seahawks lose to Detroit Saturday night will the travel down the lost highway stop?

That answer is a huge no. The rolling stone still rolls.

I was thinking again the other day about the good fun that me and three other friends had in January of 1960 when we took off from our small town in New York State and drove across the country to sunny California. We were all on the lost highway looking for greater things, expanding our world and opening a new chapter in our lives.

As I pulled up that memory, I smiled because we four were truly adventurers. We were like pirates setting out on a dangerous sea looking for that elusive hidden treasure. We were four young guys, single and stretching out while kicking that stone down the highway and chasing after it.

I didn’t stay in California for long. Six months. That was it. But it was a fun 180 days, full of sun, beach, girls, and music. Life is fun when the only responsibly you have is to wake up each day, yawn, gather your things and head to the beach. I and my friends were kicking that rolling stone down the lost highway without a serious thought other than to keep on keepin’ on. Watch the rolling stone roll.

The sad part of this memory is that I’m the only one left to walk down that lost highway. Dick, Amos and Dave all left the highway a long time ago. It’s a lot lonely walk now.

I was watching the Tom Petty story on Netflix last night. The day before it was the story of the Eagles. I have always been drawn to music, and it’s fascinating to me how guys like Petty and the Eagles evolve because they, too, started out by kicking the stone down the highway just like we four did when we left New York for California.

The big difference is that me and my friends were looking just to escape the dreariness of our lives in a small town and had no other motive than to see what else was down the lost highway. Petty and Don Henley of the Eagles had music aspirations from a young age and were looking to make that rolling stone sing when they started out on their journey to California ‑ Henley from Linden, Texas and Petty from Gainesville in Florida.

The stone that I kicked after leaving California led me to Western Washington for an education that opened some doors as I returned to California and then Oklahoma, Alaska and Seattle before following the rolling stone to Bremerton and my life’s work in the sports world, a place where if you had told me 50 years ago that is what I would be doing I would have said you were crazy. I was not a writer back then. I was just a lonely soul who was kicking a stone down the lost highway with no particular destination in mind. If luck had held I might have been a beach bum soaking up the music at the famed Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

The stone, though, rolled me down the lost highway to Bremerton.

So here I am as the calendar turns to 2017 and like Mickey Mantle if I had known I would have been still kicking that stone this far into the 2000 century I would have taken better care of myself.

It’s been an interesting journey for me, writing sports. Sports have always been a part of me. My older and very athletic three brothers used to beat me up in football, basketball and baseball, but I learned from them how to play those games and that early knowledge has stood me well in my writing career.

But now my time is coming to a close. Chapters have been written and the book will close one of these days. But don’t be sad for me. I have kicked the stone quite a few times and while it will continue to roll long after I have left the lost highway, it has been a fun trip.

As I look over the water from my perch, I can see flocks of birds soaring in the wind. They remind me of a time when I was younger and I, too, soared in the wind, landing wherever it blew me.

It’s peaceful and quiet now as the branches of the trees sway back and forth. The bald eagle that has graced me with its presence for the last month flies by one more time, Bob Dylan is singing in the background and with that I’m going to call it a day. Talk to you later.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.