Thanksgiving – give praise and thanks to the source and give blessings to others – “Talk of the Town”


Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column from The Clarendon Courier – November 27, 2014

With scissors in hand, the hairdresser paused and looked in the mirror at the young girl sitting in the chair. Then, she asked the question one more time.

“Are you sure you want to cut it all off?”

But Abbey wasn’t making a hasty decision; she had thought long and hard about it. She had even spent some time alone praying for the person who might wear her hair, hoping that it would bring some joy and fill a need … hoping that her donation might help make someone feel beautiful again.

For Abbey, cutting off her hair and sharing it with Locks of Love an organization that turns donated hair contributions into wigs for those suffering medical hair loss, was an innocent act of kindness that she decided to do all on her own. Knowing that she had been given a lot (and I mean a lot!) of hair, it seemed natural to her to pass along a bit of that blessing to someone else. And when the stylist was finished and her lustrous hair was gone, Abbey’s face lit up with joy. She knew in her heart that sharing her blessing was the right thing to do.

Abbey, in her own way, was offering thanksgiving.

In her book, “Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers,” author Anne Lamott writes that her days sometimes begin with a prayer: “Help me, help me, help me.” And when the day has ended, she prays, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Lamott suggests that being thankful is a natural reaction to the filing of a need or void in our lives.

The pastor who married my wife and I, Rev. Ralph Robrahn spoke about these concepts recently. He said that people are well — they are whole — when they recognize the source that their gifts have come from. Then, in a spirit of thankfulness, they give back. Thanks, and giving. Thanksgiving!

You might say, then, that Thanksgiving is more than simply an annual meal when we recite all we’re thankful for. It’s a continuous cycle in which grace and blessings descend from God; and we, in our thanks, give praise back to Him and give blessings to others.

One natural way to offer thanksgiving is to pay it forward through acts of kindness and generosity. Generous people tend to be happier, healthier and live longer lives. When people give, it has a healing effect and helps make them whole.

What are some ways that we can pay forward our thanks in our community? There are plenty! Perhaps you can share a skill you have with those in need through a local agency or food bank. Or you could consider mentoring to younger people at your church or in our schools.

Our local Infant Welfare chapter offers its members many opportunities for generosity, such as fundraising, clothing drives and requests for Christmas gifts for children. Indian Princesses and Guides organizations are also collecting gifts from their members to give to families in need.

If you’d like to make an even larger commitment, our local school boards are always looking for quality people who are willing to give of their time and their talents. And our local government and park districts have many opportunities to give back to the community through serving on boards.

Or maybe, just like Abbey, you were blessed with lots of beautiful hair, and you want to pay it forward to bring happiness to someone else. No matter how you do it, I encourage you to take this week’s holiday to heart. Count your blessings, give praise and thanks … and pay it forward.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks

Abbey cutting her hair for Locks of Love

Abbey cutting her hair for Locks of Love

The cut!

The cut!

A Sacrifice we will never know – “Talk Of The Town”


A sneak peak at Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column from The Clarendon Courier – November 13, 2014

With Veterans Day just past, it is fitting to remember the sacrifices of the veterans who have given so much to our country. It is these sacrifices, after all, that ultimately gave us our freedom.

I recently had the privilege of talking with one such veteran in his home in Clarendon Hills. Sitting in his living room as he remembered his past, I was moved and humbled as he allowed me a tiny glimpse of his sacrifice.

David Antrim left a small town in northwest Wisconsin to accept a full-ride basketball scholarship at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. ROTC was mandatory for Fulton freshmen and sophomores then, and at a time when many young people were heading north for Canada or protesting the Vietnam war, David decided to enlist in the United States Army instead. It was likely sometime between marching and learning military history that he decided to commit to an additional three years of service after graduation. By enlisting early, he was allowed to learn to fly at the University of Missouri. And after graduation, he was able to take the training and fly missions in Vietnam as an officer.

Like clockwork, David’s missions — the deployment and extraction of soldiers behind enemy lines in Huey helicopters — were performed almost routinely, day after day. In the battalion of the 1st Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, attached Charlie Troop 3/17 Air Cavalry, the day usually started with a meeting to discuss the day’s mission.

The significant personnel of these meetings included a Vietnamese tribal leader, whose job was to help identify hot zones and enemy bunkers so they could be flushed; the Air Mission Control backseat (bilingual Major or Lt. Col.); the Air Mission Commander (Captain or 1st Lt.); the ARVN officer in charge of ground forces; and others.

The day of this particular meeting was hot and sticky. Of course, every day in Vietnam is hot and sticky … but something about this one was different. Today, you could almost smell it in the air that there was going to be trouble.

There was a saying that many of the soldiers knew well: “You have a barrel of luck when you come in.” And for the Huey pilot flying this mission, the barrel was running low. His tour was coming to an end, and he was known as a short-timer. This is the dangerous time of your tour; when your time left in Vietnam is short, it usually means your barrel is nearly empty.

Unfortunately, he would need all the luck he could get for this mission. The AirCav (Air Cavalry) would be hitting their landing zone hard with rockets and smoke grenades, clearing the way for two Huey helicopters to deploy troops.

And hit it they did. With thick smoke billowing on the ground, nothing could be seen until the Huey’s rotor blades cleared the air for the deployment. The intensity was unbearable as the men jumped the three feet from the hovering helicopter to the ground. But as the last of his troops left the chopper, a bullet came in hot, piercing through the windshield and severing the pilot’s headset cord. Alone in the chopper with no communication, he was left to consider how lucky he was to be alive. The cord was just millimeters from his neck.

The extraction didn’t go well. The troops got caught deep in a hot zone. But when the AirCav arrived, they cleared the area once again with heavy firepower and smoke. The Hueys quickly swept in and hovered, waiting to extract the men who came running out of the brush. Some ran, others were carried. And one of them, like so many soldiers of that war, was not whole anymore.

Thankfully, most of the men made it out alive. And thankfully, that pilot officer made it out too. There was just enough left in his barrel … and he lived to tell me the story.

Sitting in David’s living room and hearing his tales — tales of intense violence and fear; tales of not knowing how many days you have left to live; tales of thinking you might not make it home alive — was difficult. But in hearing them, the stories took on new significance.

Talking with David, I learned the true value of the sacrifices these men and women made for our freedom. I learned that we who are spared from enduring the nightmare of war will never fully know the cost of those sacrifices. And I learned why we forever owe David, and his fellow veterans, our heartfelt thanks.

Veterans Day may have passed this year, but it’s never too late to say thank you. When you see one of the many people in our town who have served our country with bravery and honor, I encourage you to give him or her your thanks. And to David and the many other veterans reading this: Thank you for fighting for our freedom.

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks

Preparing for another mission with the Huey.

Preparing the Huey for another mission

 

David E. Antrim

David E. Antrim

The orphanage  where David spent his volunteer time

The orphanage where David spent his volunteer time

A Churchill Halloween “Talk Of The Town”


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier – October 30, 2014

 

Halloween

The night was dark and ominous. To the man walking the street carrying a small child in his arms, it felt as though anything could happen.

Then, a sound: metal dragging across pavement. Looking up, the man saw the source of the noise: a greasy-haired girl with a tattered dress, dragging a shovel. Her face was pale and her eyes, recessed deep in their sockets, were dark. She looked as though she had spent the night in a cooler. As she dragged her burden across the street toward the pair, the man looked beyond her to see a creepy sign hanging above her head: “Churchill Kill-de-sac.”

Over the years, I’ve heard of many nice areas around town to live if you want to be connected to your neighbors. In fact, there are several streets in our town that are nearly famous for their residents’ ability to connect in community through events, dinner parties and social outings. I’ve even heard about a few houses where, if the porch light is on, it’s an open invitation to stop in.

Then there’s Churchill Street. Most of the year, this single-block cul-de-sac is the perfect example of the type of area I described above: a social, friendly neighborhood community at its finest.

But for one night a year in late October, Churchill Street transforms. And for those of you who have not heard about or experienced the Churchill Halloween block party, let me assure you: it’s in a league of its own.

Most of the homeowners on the block participate in the now-legendary themed Halloween block party, getting together weeks in advance to plan and vet ideas until they come up with the next theme. The first event in 2005 was called “The Car Crash,” and it was everything you would expect and more; car crash scenes were littered the whole block — with real cars!

Thanks to the huge success of the first party, word quickly spread. Today, hundreds of people come to visit Churchill to see what they will come up with next. Some of the more memorable themes include the Churchill Cinema Scary Movie Night, Churchill Carnival, Churchill Kill-de-sac — and one of my favorites, the Churchill Correctional Compound. On this particularly spooky evening, all the residents were either inmates or corrections officers. And while the annual bash is open to all ages, many of the sets that year were definitely not kid-friendly!

Given the over-the-top nature of the parties, the children on this block have grown up in an almost theatrical environment, and it shows. They put a lot of time into building the props and acting out their parts — and they are trained not to break character!

By contrast, Halloween in the McCurry house is admittedly a much tamer tradition. My children have always selected non-scary costumes: bumble bees, football players, a racecar driver. An EMT, a recycled box, a pumpkin. Then we’ve seen the characters: Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ariel, Snow White, Dorothy, Cleopatra, Pink and even a couple Power Rangers.

This year, my sons and I will be wearing Minnesota Vikings jerseys. It’s nice to know that even in a Bears-loving town like ours, the boys will still side with their dad when it’s time to choose their uniforms!

Of course, before I had children, I always thought we would just skip over Halloween altogether. Or, barring that more sensible approach, I imagined my children displaying their childlike faith by dressing up as the saints in Christendom.

“Really?” an older and wiser me asks my past self. “Saints? Would anyone at a Halloween party recognize Paul and Barnabas costumes?”

Though comical, the connection isn’t as unlikely as you might think. In fact, the roots of Halloween can be traced to the early Christian church, when All Saints’ Day — a Christian alternative to the pagan Samhain festival from Ireland — was set aside as a day to remember the martyrs. All Saints’ Day (and the night before it, All Hallows’ Eve) eventually dovetailed with the pagan celebration over the years, giving us the spooky, costumed holiday we enjoy today…

Or don’t enjoy, as my daughter experienced when the girl with the pale face locked eyes with us. Before we could escape, her shovel and deathly countenance were upon us, staring at us from mere inches away and mirroring our every step. Too young to understand that it was all an act, my daughter began to cry.

“Now would be a good time to offer a smile,” I told the girl, but she would have none of it! She was far too well-trained as a Churchill zombie to break character so easily. Thankfully, a caring Churchill neighbor handed Abigail a piece of candy, and the tears quickly disappeared.

Sadly, I’ve heard that the Churchill folks are taking a year off from their themed Halloween block party this year — maybe forever. But the spooky memories — or should I say, nightmares? — won’t fade anytime soon.

A NOTE FROM CHURCHILL RESIDENTS:

“To our Clarendon Hills friends:  We on Churchill Place had a difficult time coming to the decision that our traditional Halloween celebration has likely run its course.  We’ve had so much fun planning it and putting it together over the past 9 years that it was hard to let it go.  Finally, though, life’s changes made us realize that wewouldn’t be able to continue with the same enthusiasm and commitment that we once brought to it.  It’s best to let it go with the positive memories we all have.  We thank all of you for coming to our cul-de-sac each Halloween to support us and express your appreciation.”

- The Families of Churchill Place

 

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks

2008 Churchill Kill-de-sac 22005 Churchill Collision First Coordinated Halloween2009 Churchill Cinema 4 2010 Churchill Correctional Compound 2 2006 Churchill Campground 1 2006 Churchill Campground 1 2006 Churchill Campground 2 2007 Churchill Carneval 1 2007 Churchill Carneval 3 2008 Churchill Kill-de-sac 1 2008 Churchill Kill-de-sac 3 2009 Churchill Cinema 1 2009 Churchill Cinema 2 2009 Churchill Cinema 3

Harvest – “Talk Of The Town”


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier – October 2, 2014

 

Noah could barely contain his excitement as another tote full of fall decorations was opened. His heart fell a bit, though, when he saw its contents: candy corn lights, ceramic pumpkins and maple leaf garland. Being that it was nearly October, my son’s sights were set on far more exciting fare: skeletons, spiders and goblins! Sadly, Mom said that he would need to wait awhile; the Halloween tote only comes out after the first of October. Halloween has its time, but in our house, the theme of late September is “Harvest.”

Wanting to get in the spirit of the season, I recently walked out to our front stoop to admire the harvest display that my wife had assembled. Of course, this same display had been the source of much consternation when I discovered how much she’d spent on it … but I couldn’t complain. The beautiful variety of pumpkins, gourds and seasonal vegetables she had put together was a perfect symbol of the season’s hearty bounty.

Standing on the stoop, I could tell we weren’t the only ones who felt that way; the “bounty” had been almost entirely devoured by squirrels! There are many things I enjoy about the harvest season, but the sad sight of those chewed-out gourds (and the expensive mess I’d now have to clean up) was a quick reminder of the many things I don’t!

Cleaning out gutters, for instance, is one of my fall pet peeves. The dreaded task of climbing a ladder on a chilly day to scoop cold, wet leaves into a bucket may be necessary preparation for winter, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! And speaking of winter, anyone who’s been trapped in his driveway after the first December blizzard can tell you that the best time to get the snowblower in working order is actually mid-fall.

I’m also not a fan of ripping out all the annuals and vegetable gardens at the end of their summery lives. And raking leaves is nobody’s favorite chore! (At least Clarendon Hills makes disposing of them relatively easy; there’s no sticker needed for lawn refuse pickup in October.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I may seem like a grumpy homeowner who sees fall as nothing more than a long list of outdoor chores. (If I were, I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one!) But in my mind, the harvest season goes far beyond that.

The real magic of this season is apparent in the name itself: harvest! We suburbanites may not think about fall as a time to reap what we’ve sown, but our midwestern farming ancestors certainly did. After a long year of working hard to till fields and plant seeds, they saw fall as the time to reap all the rewards of their labors, cutting the grains and crops and preparing the soil for the next season. Then, with the hard work finished and their food source secured, they could finally relax.

With that in mind, I like to think of fall as a time to slow down, look back on the hard work and busyness of the summer and begin preparation for the good times ahead. A bulk of the work has been completed and we can now prepare for the holidays, spring vacations and the coming year. It’s a time of reflection, relaxation and plans for a fresh start. (How appropriate that it’s also time to plant the bulbs for spring blooming seasons, including one of my favorites: the tulip!)

How about you? Is this your season for slowing down? There are plenty of Harvest Festivals going on throughout the burbs to get you into the mood — including some that feature local craft brews! (Now there’s a part of Harvest I love!)

As for our house: October finally came, and the spooky stuff flew out of that Halloween tote quicker than you could say “Ghost stories!” Noah remembered why he liked this particular bag: it contained an electric skull with dry ice smoke oozing from the eye sockets and a furry, window-sized spider that shakes and gyrates with an obnoxious human laugh.

Harvest may have only just arrived … but the next holiday is already around the corner.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks

Clarendon Hills finest! Taking out what was growing from the spring and summer

Clarendon Hills finest! Taking out what was growing from the spring and summer

 

Ghourds on my stoop!

Ghourds on my stoop!

Hugo the pumkin - in front of The Daily Scoop

Hugo the pumkin – in front of The Daily Scoop

Indian Princesses and the Snake Dance “Talk Of The Town”


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier – October 2, 2014

As the sun turned dark orange and slowly made its short, final approach toward the horizon, the rhythmic beating of a drum could be heard echoing throughout the campground. As the sound drew nearer, you could almost taste the smoke swirling in the air, wafting from torches held by men in Indian headdresses. When the chiefs and each of their tribes approached our campsite, the chants began to match the beat, competing with each other to be heard.

At long last, the procession arrived at our site and the drummer pounded one strong, final beat, sending the crowd into a sharp silence. Then, after a tense pause, the Nation’s Chief shouted, “How-How!” The processional — the Nation — responded with a resounding, “How-How!” Then, silence befell the many fathers and daughters that composed the Indian Princesses.

The Yomechas Indian Guides and Princesses is a group of parents and children from all over the western suburbs, created to foster understanding and companionship between the two ages. Along with a host of events throughout the year, the group also goes on three camping retreats annually. At this particular retreat — the fall weekend camp — fathers and daughters from all over the Western suburbs enjoy a packed Saturday of exciting activities like archery, horseback riding and crafts.

One of my favorite memories from this fall retreat is resting on a grassy knoll with Abbey, my oldest daughter. After a full morning of fun that included sliding down “the Black Hole” (an underground corrugated pipe) countless times on a plastic sled, Abby had decided that it would be most comfortable to lay directly on top of me while we both stared up at the sky. The back of her head rested comfortably on my chest for over an hour that afternoon as we quietly took in God’s creation and simply slept. It was a treasured moment with my daughter that I’ll never forget.

There were no signs of that sleepy relaxation now, however. Having answered the Chief’s “How-How,” the princesses and their fathers stood with rapt attention as he lifted his torch to light our camp’s torch as a sign that we were invited to join the nation. Soon, our camp’s unique chant joined the others in rhythmical solidarity.

“We are the Blackhawks, the mighty mighty Blackhawks! Everywhere we go … people want to know!” Though each camp’s chant was different, they flowed together beautifully as the whole nation marched to the Snake Dance.

The Snake Dance is a ceremony that begins with a huge bonfire ignited by the combined torches of the tribal chiefs. The ceremony usually consist of several elements: reciting the dads’ and daughters’ “Friends Forever” creed, the telling of a fabulous nature story and many “repeat after me” songs led by the camp counselors.

While the Snake Dance is a sacred, meaningful experience, it’s the time afterwards that has become the subject of a fair amount of rumor among the mothers and wives back home.  I suppose it’s no surprise, given the fact that there is sometimes a sip of something or a peace pipe passed around the fire, that this bonding time has come to be seen by the women as a raucous party fest.

But these rumors are unfounded. While the girls enjoy some ice cream and energetic free play time, the dads usually fire up the grill for some after-dinner barbecue and fellowship. One of the dads is a skilled smoker of ribs, brisket and other delectable proteins, which another brings an assortment of meats that he slices with a pocket knife or other (very un-gourmet) utensil. Given the caliber of the food — which is raised each year as the dads strive to share their new talents with the group — a more accurate description of this gathering would be “fireside foodie fest.”

In the end, the campfire is as much a bonding time for the “braves” as it is for the princesses. It’s a time for fathers, coaches, coworkers and neighbors to come together around the fire and grow their relationships. As the ribs slowly take on the rich, smoky flavor of the fire, so too do old friendships grow richer and new ones get formed. For daughters and fathers alike, the Indian Princesses is a special community, and the campfire is a sacred place.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

#ClarendonHillsRocks

 

Camp Tecumseh

Camp Tecumseh – HOW-HOW!

Camp Tecumseh

Camp Tecumseh

Snake Dance

Snake Dance

Blackhawck Tribe Fall 2013

Blackhawck Tribe Fall 2013

The Wall! Abigail

The Wall! Abigail

Micah at Indian Guides

Micah at Indian Guides

Noah at Indian Guides

Noah at Indian Guides

Micah and his horse

Micah and his horse

Abbey on her horse!

Abbey on her horse!

Elizabeth on her horse!

Elizabeth on her horse!

When I think of Football “Talk Of The Town”


When I Think of Football

One of the greatest pressures on high school students these days is the pressure to be fashionable. Wanting to be cool is a very compelling motive for teens, and that phenomenon extends to the football field, where even style is competitive. At schools around here, the place where style and sports meet is the football helmet.

One Downers Grove North football player, Cole, was recently trying to decide whether to use his hard-earned money to purchase a new helmet. He knew that a new helmet would be well-received by his teammates. Although the concussion issue played some role (so many parents have been on high alert lately that any new product claiming to lower the risk of serious head injury might be a good investment), he knew that he probably didn’t need one; he just wanted one.

Cole was still feeling a little conflicted about the decision when his mom heard a helmet was going to be delivered to their house. But this helmet wasn’t like the one Cole had been considering. It wasn’t a particularly popular helmet; in fact, it was a bit of a relic. It wasn’t a new, fashionable one that would catapult him into the in-crowd … but it was special. Indeed, this particular helmet held special significance even for me.

After graduating college, I arrived in Chicago for my first job: coaching football and track and field at Hinsdale Central High School. In my mind, it was sort of a stepping stone in finding my way to play three more seasons of my chosen sport.

In those days, the head coach and athletic director at Hinsdale Central was Gene Strode. Coach Strode put me in with the sophomores and under the wing of a big man: Bill Huskisson. Bill and I became fast buddies, finding time between practices to work out and push the limits of the weights that the gym had accumulated. Because I was the new man on campus, Bill (or “Husk,” as we called him) had to show me how it was done. Of course, he knew how it was done; in his day, Husk was a two-time All-Conference at Hinsdale Central. He was an All-American at Western Illinois, he had earned a place in the Athletics Hall of Fame and he had several touches as a pro.

In the gym that year, Husk and I spent hours upon hours training together. But what I eventually found out is that we weren’t just gym partners. He was actually coaching me … both as an athlete and as a man.

Husk was a champion for people. Many knew him for his passion for the underdogs and the children who required a little more help. He wasn’t flashy, and he didn’t buy into trying to be popular (although thanks to his kind demeanor, he certainly was). He was a gentle giant with a big heart.

Bill and I became exceedingly close; probably closer than people usually get. Toward the end of his life, Bill and two other of my close friends formed a tight cord. It was a bond of Christian fellowship that turned into a lifeline for all of us.

Bill fought cancer for several years until his death in 2006. But to this day, when I think of football, I always think about my friend Husk.

As for the helmet delivered to Cole’s house: that helmet sat on the desk of a coach of the Chicago Fire football team for years. It was a fixture in his family’s home until someone noticed a piece of tape on the inside with a name on it. The name: “Bill Huskisson.”

Bill’s twins, Cole and Brock, have always wanted their father to speak to them after his death. This time, Cole heard his dad’s voice loud and clear. The money Cole had saved would not go to a fashionable new helmet. He decided that the one that his school team had provided would be fine, because he knew that’s what his dad would have done.

There are a lot of big men in football. But Husk wasn’t just a big man … he was a legend.

“It’s a great day to be a Red Devil!”

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

 

Mike Stevens, Bill Huskisson, Mike McCurry

Mike Stevens, Bill Huskisson, Mike McCurry

Bill Huskisson

Bill Huskisson

Bill Huskisson

Bill Huskisson

Dogs in the hood – “Talk Of The Town”


From Mike McCurry’s column in The Clarendon Courier September 4, 2014

It was a chilly weekday morning, and a few children were once again trudging their way to school. But their journey paused as they reached a hanging footbridge and a skinny little dog came running up from behind. A born performer, Snoopy had decided to impress the children by crossing the creek with them — not on the bridge, but on a narrow, elevated sewer pipe! Her little paws pitter-pattered dangerously on the pipe as she fearlessly scampered across. And when she reached the other side, the children exploded with laughter as Snoopy jumped in the air, acknowledging their applause for her high-wire act.

While there aren’t many dogs as talented as Snoopy, on any given day in Clarendon Hills, I see countless people walking their dogs by — and sometimes to — my office. These canine visitors aren’t interested in the local real estate market, and I don’t think they’re there to sniff out which other dogs have “visited” the tree out front. I’m pretty sure that they all stop by for the special cookie treats we keep in my office. Indeed, some dogs won’t leave until we open the door and give them one!

Joey, the yellow lab, gets his treats tossed in the air because one might lose a finger feeding him! He doesn’t seem to mind, though, because he inhales them faster than he can chew them. Frankie the weiner dog is a little harder to notice standing outside of our door; his legs are only six inches long, and he is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! Then there’s Stella, the bulldog I often bump into at Starbucks in the morning. Stella’s owner usually has to drag her away because she loves being petted by the friendly “coffee hounds” outside. Have you ever seen a bulldog being dragged? Caffeinated or not, that’s a sight that will make you chuckle.

Given the many pooches I see on a daily basis, I figured I didn’t need a dog at home — especially knowing how crazy our home is! Anyone who’s seen four McCurry kids in action would agree that getting a dog would be like adding a tornado to a hurricane. So you can imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law asked me a loaded question in front of the whole clan: “Don’t you want a dog for your family?”

Cutting through the excitement with what I considered a much-needed voice of reason, I provided a stern, fatherly “No!” So of course, a couple weeks later my in-laws brought home a labradoodle puppy.

Our house is now part of the family dog-share program. We get the furry and cuddly Gibbs when my in-laws are out of town or when my children need him, which is often. He has a wonderful temperament, is gentle with our children and loves to follow us around. We couldn’t be happier. We simply can’t get enough of Gibbs!

Given my reluctance to buying a pet, people were actually beginning to think that I was a dog-hater. But in truth, Gibbs is one in a long line of pets that have enriched my life. Growing up, my family had a hound named T-Bone, Chrissie the teacup poodle, Rusty the Irish setter and Jill the dalmatian. As for cats, we had Mittens, Jubes and Suckles. We also had lots of fish, several reptiles … and a tarantula spider while I was in college! One would think we ran a pet shop!

My family really embraced having pets. They were all very special to us, and they were all members of our family. A secondary benefit was that they helped foster social, emotional and cognitive development in my siblings and me. (With that many pets, we must have needed the development!) Today, I harbor the same love for our furry friends that I did as a child. The pets we see in our community and the dog we share our home with are endless sources of unpredictable, spontaneous fun. They are laughter and joy on four legs … they are walking, barking bundles of unconditional love.

That was certainly true of Snoopy, who truly had a heart for making me laugh. She loved to follow me everywhere, but when we reached my elementary school that morning, I told Snoopy to go back home and she did. Sadly, it’s been many years since I’ve applauded my childhood best friend and her many tricks. But to this day, thinking of her still makes me smile.

Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry’s office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com 630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

Snoopy and my sister Jonna 1971

Snoopy and my sister Jonna 1971

Gibbs

Gibbs

Gibbs

Gibbs

T-Bone and my brother Scott

T-Bone and my brother Scott

Mark Winders and Clancy

Mark Winders and Clancy

Carol and Clancy

Carol and Clancy

Clancy and Santa

Clancy and Santa

#ClarendonHillsRocks #HomeRocks #CBRocks

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