In sharing my experiences with Sam Lacy, my Pop, I thought it only fitting I share a New Year’s story you may find amusing.

For those who knew Sam, you know he was no party-goer. His ingredients for a fun evening were a bowl of ice cream, an easy chair and a baseball game on the radio.

My mom was on the other end of the spectrum. She was president of a social club, and spent quite a bit of her time planning trips or dances. She was dedicated, and according to rumor, the dances were quite a success. Now the plot thickens.

New Year’s was fast approaching and her club had quite an extravaganza planned. Sam had to be out of town on assignment right up until zero hour. Mom was content to let him miss most of these social functions, but this was New Year’s Eve.


Sam hit the ground running. He dashed home, donned his festive clothing and made a sprint for the airport. The airport had an area designated to house events; the club used this area for most of their dances, but this was an exception. Sam, fighting his way through his reluctance, had failed to note the change. So, there he was at the airport—and the dance was elsewhere. I was awake when she came home, and she was hotter than a pepper sprout.

The next morning everybody was all smiles. I wonder how they worked it out?

If you are a follower of this space, you know I lived in a house where there were rules. Sam was a man who was best known as being hard, but fair. We had a good-sized back yard and this became the home of quite a few football games. However, we were not to let the games spill over into the alley.

On this occasion, I got an early start on my day. My parents were at work and my buddies were enjoying the feel of their beds as we started into summer. As most of you know, time, youth and boredom can be a bad combination. I was bored, so I decided it would be fun to kick field goals over the fence of the yard. As time wore on, I got better and soon I had a kick sail into the alley. The ball landed on some glass and I had my first experience with a slow leak.

There is no way you can hide a deflated football, so when Sam came home, I fessed up. That evening I had to do a little extra KP, but that was a lot better than some punishments I can think of.

We kept the ball under the steps in the backyard, so anyone who arrived early could toss the ball around. The next day, I went under the steps to get the deflated ball to see if I could work some magic, but there was a new ball. This was the softer side of Sam. As I said, “Hard but fair.”