Terry Mosher

TOP OF THE TOWN – Life really can be short. That is an old cliché but is really true. For example, Roger Paschal died this week. He was a co-owner with Paul Peterson of the Bremerton Cloverleaf Bar & Grill in East Bremerton. They sold out years ago to the Welling brothers and Roger was working at the time of his death for a housing contractor in Gig Harbor. Chris Welp, the transplanted 7-foot German who led Olympic High School to the 1983 state basketball title died six years ago on March 1 at the age of 51. We have had an extraordinary amount of famous people die in recent time, although for the most part they lived longer lives. They would be John Chaney, 89, who was the fiery basketball coach at Temple. He was tough and his kids, many of them from the ‘hood, played extremely tough. You played Temple you came away with bruises that left their mark for weeks. But Chaney turned those tough kids into good people, which was the most important thing to him. We lost Tom Lasorda, the longtime Los Angeles Dodger manager at 93. He was quite the character and loved by many, Kobe Bryant, who died along with others, including his daughter in a helicopter crash, John Thompson, the hulking giant was a towering, and menacing presence along the sidelines while coaching basketball at Georgetown. He had a long habit of wearing a white towel on his shoulders during games and sometimes would fling it at somebody he disagreed with, including reporters and referees, Don Shula, who coached the only undefeated NFL team (Miami), and Gale Sayers, who I still think was the best running back I have ever seen. He had the thinnest ankles and they would stop and turn on a dime, along with his hips, so that when you think you were just ready to stop him he’d be gone in a different direction, Paul Hornung, star at Notre Dame and Green Bay who was suspended for the 1963 season (along with Alex Karras) for betting on games, but was as great a running back as they come, George Perles, the architect of the Pittsburg Steelers’ Steel Curtain defense. Bob Gibson, the legendary pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals whose threats on the mound included a chin-shaving blazing fastball whose incredible ability led to the mound being lowered in baseball to give hitters a better chance. There was Curly Neal, dribbling star of the Harlem Globetrotters, Terrible Tom Seaver, pitcher for the New York Mets, Diego Maradona, the famous “Hands of God” goal scorer for Argentina, little Joe Morgan, a star on the great Cincinnati Reds’ teams who became a national broadcast star for ESPN, Whitey Ford, who became famous for two things, being a great pitcher for great New York Yankee teams and for being the drinking buddy of Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline, who became known as “Mr. Tiger “ with the Detroit Tigers and was a great hitter in a career that spanned 22 years, Lute Olson, who carved out a great basketball coaching career at Arizona, Lou Brock, who has a statue of himself at the ballpark in St. Louis where he stole more than 900 bases and 3,000 hits,Tom Dempsey, born without toes on his right foot, used a block-like shoe to forge a historical field-goal kicking career in the NFL and Eddie Sutton, who registered over 800 victories coaching college basketball.  There were many more, including Wes Unseld and Jerry Sloan, both of whom made their mark in the NBA, one as a player and the other as a player and coach, but you get the picture. COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing that painted a dark picture for us in 2020, as those who departed us show, and we can only hope things get brighter for us this year. I lost my mother in 1953, the same year we lost the voice of Hank Williams, maybe the best singer/songwriter in country music. I still miss them both. Three years later I lost my favorite pal, Peanuts, who was with me all the time while I was growing up. She even slept with me, although my mother used to holler up the stairs to me, “Is Peanuts up there?” I lied.”No,” I replied. Peanuts then snuggled closer to me under the blankets. I’ve told this story many times before, but I will repeat it here. We had to leave Peanuts behind with my sister in 1954 when we left for the Left Coast and Ferndale, WA. The summer of 1955 we went back for a short vacation and as we pulled into the driveway I could see Peanuts curled up and asleep on the porch. I quickly got out of the car, approached the porch slowly and whispered, “Peanuts, Peanuts.” Peanuts awoke, looked around, saw me, got up and ran off the porch, flying through the air and into my arms. I’m tearing up now remembering her filling my arms and licking my face. Peanuts died in 1956. She was going blind and got hit by a car while crossing the highway. Her death still lingers in my soul. As do all the greats we have lost this past year. I pray you and your family are safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.