My husband Joe and I are collectors of people.
Case in point: Two years ago, we were in the Terrace Club at Progressive Field on a sweltering hot day. We had decided to stay inside rather than boil in the sun. Long about the fourth inning, here came some more people to share our table. They were Detroit fans — Bob O’Brien and his sons. Uh, oh… opposing team fans? From Detroit, no less?
Rather than build suspense, let me say that it worked out to be one of the most fun games of the season. We laughed, we joked, we cheered for our respective teams, complimented each other when our teams did well. It was great. They rooted for Cleveland during the World Series and sent condolences upon our loss.
Fast forward to last summer, when on an absolutely perfect day to sit outside, Joe and I were just about to leave the Terrace Club when along came — you guessed it — Bob O’Brien and his entourage! He bought a 50-50 raffle ticket and announced with relish that “when” we won, we would split the earnings. We didn’t (win, that is). He hailed the server to bring beers and best of all he reached in his pocket and presented Joe with Phillies baseball cards from the 70s because he remembered that Joe was a Phillies fan! When the Tribe was trouncing the Tigers, they started cheering for us!
So this year we made a date to meet at the game. That afternoon, Bob called to say we had to meet them in front of their hotel. It wasn’t easy, but Joe pulled a marvelously executed U-turn and there we were. Bob presented us with a huge basket filled with “the taste of Detroit,” including all sorts of local goodies. In the Terrace Club there were hugs all around, happy laughter, swapping of baseball stories, and it all ended with an invitation to Detroit next summer. We’ll get to see our new pals twice in 2019!
Collecting a family of Detroit fans might not count us among the realm of “collectors,” but that’s only part of our story. Rising to Hall of Fame status are the people we “collected” during our 20 years at Rainbow Trout Ranch in southern Colorado. It was more than a quarter-century ago when we made our first trip out west to the ranch. We were nervous and on that first night when we were supposed to meet other guests, I tentatively approached this nice looking fellow who was standing by the red couch. I introduced myself and soon discovered that he was from Hudson, Ohio! His name is Mike and his wife’s is Sheila. They have three children, Adam, Kyle and Paige, who ended up growing up with our Mary Ana and Rebecca, not only one hour away here in Ohio but also at the ranch, which we all went back to year after year. Our adventures have been epic and certainly rate a column of their own but this one is about “collecting.”
Our Rainbow Trout friends who became like family didn’t end with Mike and Sheila. Our dear Houston, Texas, friends Greg and Margarita, along with their son Zach, rank very high on the “All-Star” list. We flew to Houston to see the Tribe play there and stayed with them. They flew here to see the Astros play and stayed with us. We’ve been to Las Vegas, Disney World, and Hawaii together — all trips filled with laughter and fun. Joe and Greg regularly send pictures to each other of beer they are consuming and text incessantly about football and baseball!
Several autumns ago Mike, Sheila, Greg, Margarita, Joe, and I were joined by Gary and Sharon, other friends we had met at the ranch, for four crazy days of reunion at Rainbow Trout. Apparently we were a tad bit rowdy as one day a fellow purposefully accompanied us on a horseback ride, specifically to tell us that he goes to the ranch for peace and quiet, and thanks to us, he was leaving early. We were stunned into temporary silence. But at dinner, when he was gone, we burst into raucous guffaws. No one else seemed to mind.
Not all of those “collected” have turned out as well. As a matter of fact, after one pretty miserable encounter, our children forbid us to pick up any more strangers. That, along with the Mike and Sheila, Joe, and Pat adventures, belongs in a future column. Stay tuned.
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.