The Offer (I’m Glad) I Didn’t Refuse: Holy Cow!

harrycaray1991-1995

There were some big happenings for my friends and me over the next five years.

In the spring of 1991, Mary and Mitch gave birth to their first child and only son, Sean. A few months later, Leasa and Kevin gave birth to their only child together, Kyle.  1991 also saw Paul pull up his roots and move to Indianapolis for a better job opportunity.

Mary and Mitch moved out of their apartment and into a house owned by our camping friends, Joe and Marcy in 1992.

We gained another new member to our family of friends two months into 1993 when Mary and Mitch brought forth into the world their second child and first daughter, Maggie.  Later that summer, they took their kids to visit Mary’s sister and her family down in Virginia near Washington, DC.  They invited me to come with them, affording me my first chance to visit the nation’s capital.  One day of the trip was spent in the city of Baltimore where we thought we had lost two-year old Sean to the crowd in the National Aquarium.  Despite our best efforts, he was found.

Also that year, Paul moved to Richmond to work at a radio station.  A few years later he moved back to Muncie to get a teaching degree at Ball State.

Mary and Mitch took Joe and me to our first game at Wrigley Field in July of 1994. Joe and I went to Fort Wayne the day before to spend the night at their house.  It also gave me the chance to fill out an application and take a test at Edy’s Grand Ice Cream.  Mitch had a friend named Dave who worked at Edy’s and mentioned to Mitch a week or so before the game that Edy’s needed some new hires for an expansion. I’d been talking about looking for work in Fort Wayne for several months, so Mitch gave Dave my name and gave me Dave’s name and number. The timing was perfect. Dave and I spoke during my test.  He seemed eager for me to start work there as soon as possible.

The next day, we drove up to Chicago.  Mary’s mother went with us to visit her sister and other family members. The Cubs played the Reds on a beautiful afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Mary, Mitch, Joe, and I sang a rousing rendition of “Take Me out to the Ballgame” with the legendary Harry Caray and the legions of Cubs fans during the seventh inning stretch. It was a glorious moment.

The following day, Mitch, Sean, Joe, and I were back in Fort Wayne while Mary, her mother, and Maggie were still in Chicago visiting family. We guys took the opportunity to watch the Cubs and Reds again, this time on TV.  As Mitch prepared lunch for the rest of us, Joe walked past me on his way to drop a deuce and farted in my ear as he passed me. I barked, “Thanks a lot, you son of a bitch.” Three-year old Sean repeated me verbatim, “Thanks a lot, you son of a bitch.” Joe nearly shit himself before reaching the bathroom.

About a month after the ballgame, I received a call from Edy’s to set up the first of a series of interviews.  A few weeks after the interviews I received a phone call to offer me a position at the plant.  By mid-October I was living in Fort Wayne and making ice cream for a living.

Mary and Mitch had more big news in 1995 with the announcement that they were now expecting their third child.  Steph and Brian gave birth to their first child and son, Zachary.  Two months later, Steph attended our seventeenth camping trip in Brown County to keep her perfect attendance record going.  The trip was scheduled a few weeks later than normal to help her maintain her perfect attendance, which is still intact twenty-two years and forty-four camping trips later.

Less than three months after the camping trip, the world was introduced to Mary and Mitch’s third child, Abby, which takes us back to the beginning of this tale.

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