Sunday, October 18, 2015

Da Cubs

My grandfather, Bob Fleming, and me in the summer of 1960.  He was 53 and I was 4.  (I’m 59 now, which is kind of a horrifying thought.)  I was thinking about him this week while watching the Cubs advance in the playoffs.  “Champ” (our nickname for each other) was a huge Cubs fan, and one of my best memories of my childhood is sitting in the dark on the back balcony of our two-flat in Irving Park, Chicago, listening to the Cubs on the radio.  (Away games only, of course – Wrigley Field didn’t have night games until 1988.) The only lights were the glow of the radio dial and the tip of his Luckys as he chainsmoked a pack, while knocking back one Heileman’s Old Style after another. The murmur of the crowd blended with the hum of the Northwest Expressway a block away.  He never said anything, but made a satisfied grunt whenever the Cubs scored a run. He died, of throat cancer of course, in 1983, and I know he’s watching over the Cubs and saying, as he did every season, “This is their year.”

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