Saturday, March 24, 2012


After I found out UK had indeed gotten the number one seed in the NCAA tournament and would be playing in Louisville, I starting trolling around for tickets. I found out I could some lower arena seats at a reasonable price. I talked to Josh and he was all for it. Jonathan had a mid-term in one of his classes and couldn't go. I bought two tickets and got a hotel room outside of Louisville on I-64 and Josh agreed to meet me there.

I had no trouble getting there. Josh met me after work at the hotel and we headed out. There was a Zaxby's about a mile away so we decided to get food from there. It was OK but it wasn't up to the usual Zaxby's quality. The chicken strips were smaller than usual. We ate as we drove to the Yum Center where the game would be played. We ran into a little traffic on the way there but nothing terrible.

I had scouted out a parking lot but upon arriving, we found it would be 20 to park. One block further away (at the Louisville Slugger baseball stadium) it was only 10.00 so we parked there. We had plenty of time so we walked around. We went down to the Ohio river shore and then walked to 4th Street Live. Josh had visited that area several years ago on a school trip. He was heartbroken to find a place in the food court where he'd gotten good breadsticks was gone. As we exited, we could see dark clouds and some lighting. The began to really pick up so we ran for the Yum Center.

The Yum Center is the new basketball arena in downtown Louisville where the Louisville Cardinals play. I wanted to see how this new place looked. As we got close there was a huge crowd trying to get in and beat the storm. They only had a few doors to come in to. We managed to squeeze in seconds before a downpour started. It was still jampacked inside. There was one escalator and two sets of stairs to get up which created another bottleneck. We finally got up to the seating level. It's a pretty nice new looking stadium but honestly I wasn't very impressed. I am biased but I like at Rupp how you actually are inside while waiting in line to have your ticket scanned. There are also are a lot more lines to get in there.

The seats were excellent. The stadium was full of Blue of course with a few Western fans sprinkled around. UK jumped out to a 10 point lead then let Western catch up. They didn't play really well but finally generated a run to go up by 19 at the half. Kentucky roared out to 30 point advantage but let up several in the last 5 minutes to win by 15. They still looked very good though. We decided to stay and watch part of the Iowa State-Connecticut game. I was really concerned about UConn because I thought they had the talent to hang with UK. My fears were unfounded. They looked terrible and as if they didn't care at all. They got down 20 in the fist half.

We left with a few minutes to go in the first half. We had no problems getting back to our car and no problems getting out and back to the hotel. We stopped and got a Frosty at Wendy's just like old times. I watched ISU finish off UConn. Josh drove back to Lexington and I went to bed. We had a thorougly enjoyable time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


A couple of Saturdays ago, I had something happen to me that started off a couple of the most bizarre weeks I've ever had. I got up early Saturday morning (about 1AM) with an upset stomach. I went to our front bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up. I remember feeling really hot and clammy and thinking I was having a heart attack. Next thing I know, I am laying in the floor with Donna and Jonathan looking over me. The back of my head is really bleeding and they are really upset.

All I can figure is when I thought I was having a heart attack, I got up to go get Donna and I passed out. Donna said she heard this loud crash and found me in the floor. I managed to crawl to the couch to lie down. Donna woke me up every hour or so to see if I was OK. I got up that morning and felt a little tired but thought I was OK. I even got up the next morning and went to church and even taught Bible class. However, I knew I wasn't quite right. I would get really dizzy when getting up and my head had this full feeling.

I was no better Monday morning. I tried to go to work, but stayed only an hour then came home. Donna called Dr. O'Bryan and he wanted me to come to his office and see him immediately. I got there and he checked me over. When I laid down and tried to get up, I was really dizzy. He ordered blood work and a CT scan. He got on me a little bit for not going to the ER Saturday morning. To be honest, the last few times I'd been to the ER with mom, it was so crowded and crazy, I didn't want to go again. So, he talked to Western Baptist to have the tests run outpatient. I went and it was amazing. I was in and out with both tests in less than and hour and a half. I couldn't believe it.

When they gave us my results, I had not had a heart attack or stroke. My CT scan showed no bleeding on my brain. Dr O'Bryan had told me if all these tests were clear, I had Post Concussion Syndrome. I'd heard about this from keeping up with the NFL. He felt I'd suffered a concussion and PCS is simply the result of that and it takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to get over it. He told me I had to lay around and rest for a few days with no driving. I rested til Thursday and wasn't much better. Donna called him and he said as long as I had no new symptoms, that I should be OK. It took two full weeks before I was better.

It was a good thing on one way. Since I wasn't supposed to work, I was able to sit with mom the last few days she was alive. If I'd been working, I would have wrestled every day with whether to go to work or be with her.

I learned a couple of lessons. One, if I hit my head hard, I should go to the ER. Two, I need to have more sympathy for NFL players who get concussions and don't go right back to playing. I remember Kevin Kolb got one for my team, Arizona. He sat out several weeks and ending up missing the game I went to see them play against the Bengals. I couldn't understand why he couldn't play. Now, I totally understand.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My mom..

Yesterday was my mom's funeral and these were my notes when I got up to talk about her. A lot people told me they really enjoyed and appreciated what I said, so I am posting them.

I want to thank all of you for coming here today to honor my mom.
It’s impossible to say all the things I could say about my mom without talking for hours and hours. She of course was the best mom a son could have. We had a really good relationship. I can only remember one thing we really disagreed on. I had really really long hair when I was in high school. I wore it down to my shoulders and only got it cut twice a year. She didn’t like it at all. In fact, she pronounced the ultimate mother’s curse on me “Stuart, you’ll never get a girlfriend with that long hair”. I remember her bribing me once to get my hair cut. I had just gotten a brand new 8-track tape player for my car. If you are under 45, you’ll need to ask someone older what that is. My mother offered to buy me a brand new set of speakers if I got my hair cut. I did and she kept her end of the bargain and she bought me my new set of speakers. And by the way mom, I got a haircut yesterday.

She taught me a lot of things in my life. She taught me that a parent will always care and be concerned for their children no matter how old they are. I remember when I’d go on trips for my company and would fly, I would tell her and she’d always want to know that I got there safe and made it home OK. I turned one of those milestone birthdays last year. I planned to run a marathon when that happened. I told my mom about planning to do that. Her reaction was “Stuart, are you sure you can handle that”? You see, when I was a little boy, I had allergies and asthma really bad and my mom spent a lot of days and nights taking care of me. I had trouble running very far at all then but I eventually got to where it didn’t bother me anymore. I ran the marathon last December, and you know who the first person I called when Donna and I got back to our hotel. I could hear the pride in her voice as I told her about my accomplishment. Now that my sons are adults, I know exactly how she felt about me.

My mom was a big fan of the Wildcats and the St. Louis Cardinals. She’s the one that really taught me to love the Cardinals. The first year I was really a Cardinals fan was 1974. My mom took my brother, sister and I to St Louis to see a couple of games. I remember we took a taxi from the hotel to the stadium and how neat I thought that was. I saw Bob Gibson strike out the 3000th batter of his career in one of the games. I remember her commenting years later about that and saying “I can’t believe I managed to handle taking you all on that trip”. I remember listening to a game on the radio in September of that year. The Cardinals tied the Mets in the top of the 9th inning on a home run by Kenny Reitz. I remember going to bed after that. I heard a strange sound at about 1:00am. I went into our kitchen and mom was listening to the game. It was in the 19th inning still tied. I listened to a few innings and fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning I was frantic to know who won – see there was no Internet, no ESPN to find out from. My mom had stayed up for the whole 25 innings and told me how the Cardinals won on a bunt single and a wild pickoff throw. I went to several playoff games this year and I remember my cousin Donna Miller telling me how mom excitedly told her she’d seen me on TV. She was so happy when they won the World Series last year.

Another thing she taught me to care for others more than myself and that’s one I still don’t do like I should. She was the one who always was my room mother at school, helped with Cub Scouts, and volunteered with the PTO. I’ve seen a lot of Facebook posts from our childhood friends who remembered how mom always welcomed them into our home and treated them like her own. I’ve learned how much she cared for my cousins Donna and Johnna when their mom (her sister) died when they were young. I remember how she treated my wife Donna like her own daughter. We used to laugh that it seemed like she actually got nicer presents for Donna then she did me for Christmas. She gave Donna a beautiful plaque called “My Other Daughter” that still hangs in our house to this day. Whenever there was a get-together to eat anywhere, my mom was always the one serving everybody and making sure they were well taken care of and she always ended up being the last one to eat. When she got older, she embarked on a new career of caring as she worked at Lourdes Child Care. She ended up with hundreds of extra grandchildren in addition to the seven she had. Every time we went to Lourdes, most everybody we met working there knew “Miss Nell” and remarked how wonderfully she treated their kids. I guess to sum up, she showed me that love wasn’t a pie that you only had a limited amount to split up. She taught me love was like a spring or a well so that no matter much you took out there was always a never ending supply to give.

And that flows into the most important thing she taught me and that was to be a faithful Christian. With what I’ve gone through the past several weeks, I know I could not have made it without that faith and the help of my Heavenly Father. I don’t know how people without this make it through difficulties. When we were young, she would get us up every Sunday morning and take us to church. I can tell you that I sometimes put up a resistance but she would make sure we went. I remember how happy she was when I was baptized into the Lord’s church as a teenager. I remember when I went away to UK she asked some people she knew that lived there to make sure I had a place I could worship. When I first got out of college, I worked in Louisville. I was not faithful at all and I would remember her chastising me whenever I got home to go to church. I ended up coming back in 1984 to work in Paducah. She got me going back to church then. I now have a wonderful Christian wife and two wonderful Christian sons ultimately because of her. I am a deacon at the congregation here and I remember seeing her cry with joy when I went up to say a few words when I accepted that responsibility.

That last day mom was alive, my sister asked me to read some scriptures from mom’s Bible that I have right here. I’ll leave you with a final thought from that. I read the account from II Samuel 12. King David’s newborn baby boy was really sick. David spent days in fasting and prayer to God. But, the baby died and his servants were afraid to tell him fearing what he might do. They were surprised at the fact that he merely cleaned himself up, ate and worshipped God. Verse 23 of that chapter is his explanation why. I am even more resolved to make sure I live the life I should in obedience to God to make sure I go where she has gone. I can tell all of you here that nothing would make her happier than if the people that are here in honor her would make sure they live their lives in obedience to God so they could be where she is now too.

Thank you again for being here and may God richly bless all of us.