Three Plays, Three Flags


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, February 4, 2016.

 

What happened at Tampa Stadium that afternoon might have been an NFL record. Thankfully, at the time no one thought to research it. They certainly would not want it to happen again.

It was a hot afternoon and the Minnesota Vikings were suffering in the Florida heat at the Buccaneers’ home stadium. The game was beginning to wind down as Minnesota’s offense took the field once again, hoping for a successful drive to save the game. The quarterback gave a hard snap count to try to gain some free yardage by drawing the defense offside. His irregular voice inflection, unfortunately, had a different effect: it pulled his own lineman offside.

As this was a nationally televised game, the offside offender’s name and number appeared on thousands of TV screens across America. #74 knew it and wanted to hide.

Back in the huddle, the quarterback called out a familiar play to his team: a screen pass. The execution of the play took longer than usual to unfold, however … and by the time the pass was thrown, a lineman was looking to get his second block (illegally) down the field. The ref blew the whistle and the same offensive guard who had jumped offside on the previous play got his second infraction. #74 flashed across the TVs again.

The team huddled up once more while the quarterback dictated another play: a roll-out pass. This play is usually successful if the offensive guard pulls out around the end of the line in time to block the uncovered linebacker. If not, the quarterback is a sitting duck for the linebacker to have his way with.

Unfortunately, on this particular play, the blitzing linebacker got there first. The only thing the guard could do to protect his quarterback was grab the shirt of the mammoth linebacker and pull him to the ground. A third yellow flag was thrown — apparently with such great disdain that it sailed straight toward the offender — #74 — and lodged itself in his face mask.

The home team’s crowd loved it … and then they began to cheer even louder. The ashamed #74 thought they were cheering because of the holding call his play had earned. But as he got to his feet, flag still stuck in his helmet, he turned and realized that Mr. Mammoth had gone right over the top of him and sacked the quarterback!

In the life of an offensive lineman, there’s not much worse than three penalties and a sack. But to have them all occur in a row — and broadcasted on national TV — is absolutely unheard of.

114 million viewers watched the Super Bowl last year, and according to U.S. News and World Report, the NFL will mesmerize 184 million this Sunday. 43 million people plan to host a party. Wow! How may ranch dips will we consume? I have no idea, but knowing this community, there will definitely be a high per-capita number of parties and social outlet opportunities. We just love an excuse to get together.

Most of you will go to socialize, but some will actually watch the game. I think almost all of us tune in and are entertained by the commercials. My co-sponsor of last year’s Dancin’ in the Street concerts, Weathertech, will once again have a 30-second ad. The price tag: a mere $4.5 million. Apparently the ads are working; everyone I know loves this local company and swears by their product.

As for me, I secretly swear by the appetizer fest. My family usually attends a gathering where everyone brings a favorite homemade dish. My wife, Amy, makes this cheesy buffalo chicken dip that is to die for! Stuffed jalapenos, figs wrapped in bacon (everything’s better with bacon!) and a plethora of chips, dips and cheeses usually make it to the table. But it’s the slow-cooked/marinated Italian sausage that one of our hosts makes that scores the highest points.

The game certainly has changed over the years. The players are bigger, faster and stronger. The rules have changed too, and for good reason. The debilitating blows to the head delivered from helmet to helmet are not allowed anymore in order to prevent concussions. Hopefully, by now the consumer understands that the referees are not just being hard on the players; they call those penalties for the players’ own safety.

No matter how many yellow flags are thrown this weekend, I doubt that any one player will earn three in a row. That was a once-in-a-lifetime moment of embarrassment, never to be repeated again. Believe me: Minnesota’s #74 — yours truly — would never wish that on anyone!

Enjoy the party!

 

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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his 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

Three Plays, Three Flags

Three Plays, Three Flags

Three Plays, Three Flags

Two old football players

                 Two old football players

Arena Football - Chicago Bruisers

    Arena Football – Chicago Bruisers

Indiana Hoosiers!

              Indiana Hoosiers!

Three Plays, Three Flags

 

Another Year of Columns – Looking back at the Crazy


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, January 21, 2016.

The start of a new year is a reflective time for a columnist. As I replace the old calendar with the new and begin hashing out ideas for 2016, it’s nice to look back through the old files and think about the columns that brought us here.

 

I might have had the most fun writing “An Election Poem” for April 6. At the time, there was such a hotbed of election tension between the candidates for the District 181, 86 and village that I decided to try my hand at writing a poem. Artistically and rhythmically describing the craziness of the culture we were living in, I found myself laughing like a mad scientist in my study as I banged the keyboard late at night. There was so much comical material available that it really was easy to pen the stanzas, and with each one I laughed harder!

 

It’s hard to believe there was this much mudslinging in our 2015 small-town election, but I have proof! You can almost always find supporting “evidence,” photos and fun facts pertaining to these columns on my blog — and there was no shortage of evidence here. A mailer sent out by Saving Clarendon Hills said that one candidate supported prostitutes and illegal aliens, and another mailer had pasted two buildings together to show readers what would happen if they voted for the wrong candidate!

 

The April 30 “Art of Coaching” column prompted a lot of comments from readers, most likely because so many moms and dads have been involved as coaches in our community. It takes a lot of effort to run and volunteer for organizations like AYSO, Biddy Ball, baseball, Falcons football and Jodie Harrison basketball. And our children benefit when we use a positive style of coaching. Unfortunately, anyone who has coached children has also had a run-in with a coach who just didn’t get it. This column was not only a way to set the record straight on my philosophy of coaching, but also to honor a great coach in my life — my dad.

 

In a May 14 column titled “Parked on the Benches — A Futuristic look at the Village of Clarendon Hills,” I laid out my lifetime dream for our village. It was a simple idea that could have the possibility to take hold and grow into a branded and known value. For the record, I still believe that Clarendon Hills could be known as “The most welcoming village in the country.” All we need is a few civic-minded people to decide we can make this happen.

 

“The Tickenator” on July 9 was another expression of my desire to tell stories. It was a completely made-up tale about a police officer with a disturbed youth that had fashioned him into an out-of-control, ticket-issuing machine as an adult. He loved to slap down tickets, especially on one particular Caddy. Some of the local officials and police didn’t think it was very funny, though. Looking back, I realize that column may have been poor timing — especially since 2015 was riddled with bad press for police officers. For the record: I love our police here in Clarendon Hills and am grateful for their service to our community. But at the time, I was shocked my late-night fiction hadn’t gone over so well. I do now understand why.

 

The October 29 column, “The Move” probably struck the biggest chord with readers. Lots of people told me their stories about moving and what they went through. It was an introspective, deeply emotional (and spiritual) examination of moving to a new home and leaving the other behind. It had been 15 years since we had last moved, so this was an opportunity for me to understand what my clients go through. It was good for me to feel it and articulate it — the pain, the struggle and the adventure of moving.
As a journalist documents a town’s events and news, a columnist documents the thoughts and lives of its people. It has been a privilege to play that role for our wonderful village over the last year, and I look forward to continuing our journey together in 2016 and beyond.

 

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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his 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

Here is some pictures from some of the CRAZY:

 

Saving Clarendon Hills...Amazing Grace Bookstore?

An Election Poem

 

 

Team McCurry

             Team McCurry

The Art of Coaching

 

The very beginning of my understanding of sports - Colts Circa 1970

The very beginning of my understanding of sports – Colts Circa 1970

2015-10-20 13.58.43

The Move

 

Connecting at the firepit

Come to the Firepit

Elf on the Shelf

A letter to Elf on the Shelf – Setting the record straight

 

Joy-filled Christmas

A Christmas Blessing – Have a JOY-filled Christmas

 

The Artist

The Artist

 

A celebratory dinner!

Family Dinners

 

Last Child

Last Child – My Wife Wrote My Column!

 

Golfing with Family

The Little White Ball

 

The Welcoming Village

Parked on the Benches – A Futuristic look at the Village of Clarendon Hills

 

Tickenator

The Tickenator

 

Perhistoric Fish                                                             A Fish Story

 

The Walsh

The Boat Sails for Two

 

The Giant Fun Slide

RAIN THAT SEEMS TO NEVER END!

 

Foxhole Friends                                       Christmas Cards and Foxhole Friends

Christmas Cards and Foxhole Friends


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, January 7, 2016

 

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five…”

 

As the party hit its peak, the two families who had gathered in our home didn’t exactly know the words to Auld Lang Syne … but all most likely knew the meaning of the old, familiar song. It probably could be boiled down to a simple thought: Don’t forget your old friends.

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?

 

It was the astounding number of Christmas cards we received this year that reminded me how many friends we have collected over the years. We send and receive cards from friends from our past … and for some, that might be our only form of communication for the year. The card is an attempt to say, “Don’t forget we’re still friends!” We create cards with pictures of our children, pets and travels to show friends what we’re up to and that life continues.

 

This year’s cards had pictures of graduations and weddings; backgrounds of beaches, the Grand Canyon, a football stadium and a Roman coliseum; people posing with Christmas trees or Santa or a snowman; on a train track or at an Irish bar; kids with pumpkins; and lots with snow. Most read “Merry Christmas” or offer a blessing of warmth and love.

 

I love the cards we receive from grandparents who have the entire extended family captured at one moment in time. One that we received in the past shows a silhouette of the front photo on the back side, with all the family members’ names. One of my favorites this year is the card with a new baby so cutely displayed with antlers on his head!

 

Cards help remind us of people with whom we’ve shared special moments of our lives. There were a few cards that came in from my very best friends throughout my life. You most likely have these people too — the kind that you would want in the foxhole with you and the folks who would show up if your world fell apart. You would fall on a grenade for them, and them for you. We don’t talk as much or spend time together because of distance, but it would only take a moment to catch up on life if we were to see each other. Many friendships, it seems, have their seasons. But the seasons really never end; they just make a little room for the next friend. The friendships make an imprint on us, and that really never goes away.

 

For our party on New Year’s Eve I picked up a few items from our newest store in town, Vintage Fresh. The hanging clocks I bought gave me the idea for the theme of the night: TIME. We put clocks and watches all over the house; on every counter and table there were clocks. We wanted to mark this evening as special, as we were sharing our time with our “foxhole” friends. It was a special evening for sure, and it carried over into the next day as one family stayed overnight. We spent the next morning and afternoon talking, eating, laughing, and playing the card game Euchre while the children played and watched movies. It was so much fun to catch up and spend time together.

 

As 2016 begins, spend some time with the folks you love and cherish. Don’t forget the ones from your past, and certainly don’t take them off your Christmas card list!
Five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year!

 

Mike is a village of Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; 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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his 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

Foxhole Friends

Foxhole Friends

Foxhole Friends

Foxhole Friends

A Christmas Blessing – Have a JOY-filled Christmas


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, December 24, 2015

 

The man’s palms dripped with sweat as he gripped the steering wheel. A sinking feeling overtook him when his eyes locked onto the gas gauge. The tank was a little less than a quarter of the way full, and he was going nowhere fast. Would he have enough to get home?

It wasn’t a rational thought, but nonetheless, he believed for a moment that he might run out of gas while sitting completely stationary, waiting to exit the Oakbrook Center mall parking lot. The traffic hadn’t moved for 10 minutes and the gas was dwindling.

It was Christmas Eve, and he knew that this was not a good time to be venturing into the mall. But it was a special circumstance. He needed a special gift for his new bride — one that would bring her happiness.

Today is the last shopping day before Christmas, and if you are like most people (and the man in the story), you have a little more shopping to do. The push is on and you’re hoping that Amazon will be spot-on (and on time) once again. Happiness may not happen in your home if they don’t deliver the phone accessory your teenage daughter has been asking for: the pink selfie stick!

In my house, there were plenty of requests to be filled this year, and we seek to do our best. But I have one confession to make: I was secretly snorting happy that those now-infamous hoverboards started catching fire. The early request from our son to own one got recanted after he heard they were blowing up! When checking to see if Amazon was still selling them, we found that every third or fourth review was similar to this one:

“When I was riding my hoverboard in a mall, it caught on fire and then blew up. Overall, this is a great product and I recommend it for starting campfires.”

Oh, the happiness our toys bring us is very short-lived, isn’t it? With that in mind, I’ve been reflecting on the difference between happiness and joy.

Dr. Daniel Meyer, pastor at Christ Church of Oak Brook, recently spoke about that difference. He said that “happiness is a sense of well-being based on how you feel; but JOY is a state of well-being based on how God feels about you. Happiness comes from your immediate circumstances; but JOY comes from knowing your eternal condition. Happiness is often competitive or comparative; but JOY is often communal. It is a good we often feel in greater measure when we are with others. It connects us with others.

“Happiness is a relentless pursuit you’re never done with,” he concluded, “but JOY is more like an in-breaking gift that stays with you, filling you with wonder and gratitude.”

It’s been one heck of a year, with many heartaches and celebrations for me personally and for our community and nation. A very dear friend of mine died of cancer this year, leaving his wife and four beautiful children behind. It was a year that lacked a lot of happiness, quite frankly. So when the Christmas season arrived, I needed to hear, remember and reflect on these truths again.

Thinking of it in that context, I realize that, even with difficult times, this year has not lacked the joy that community brings. The ones we connect with and do life with have brought so much joy and happiness to our family … and I hope you have experienced that in your community as well.

The man with the sweaty palms made it out of the mall parking lot and arrived safely home with his present in hand. Unfortunately, the boots that he had picked out especially for his new bride were a size too small! She appreciated the thought, though … and was happy it wasn’t a toaster.

The angel of the Lord declared to the shepherds, “I bring you good news that will CAUSE great JOY for all the people” (Luke 2:10). May this Christmas bring you great joy. A joy that can never be taken away … a joy that can be shared with those with less, those who are lost and those who need help.

Merry Christmas!

 

Mike is a village of Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; 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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514. His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

Joy-filled Christmas

A letter to Elf on the Shelf – Setting the record straight


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, December 10, 2015

Dear Elf on the Shelf,

I’m writing this little note today to voice some concerns and questions I have. A lot has happened since I first met you. I have grown up a lot, and certainly my Christmas list has changed since we first met.

Do you remember when you first showed up at our house? It was a long time ago, maybe 6 years or so, and we decided to call you Cookies and Cream because it was your favorite food. We began getting to know each other by exchanging notes, and you would move each night to a new location in our house.

At first, I thought it was a little weird that you hung out in my house. Kind of like a camera on the shelf — reporting back to the big guy and all. My parents said that it is usually not cool for someone to spy on us. My question is this: Why would Santa need an Elf to get updates on our behavior when there are NSA cameras everywhere? My dad keeps laughing and saying something about George Orwell’s book 1984 coming true. I don’t know what that means but you seem to do a good job at what you do.

The one exception is that you don’t seem to notice that my brother has not been very nice. Why is it that he gets exactly what he asked for from Santa and gets no punishment? Do you not see that he is misbehaving? My parents said that if we don’t act right, Santa will not bring anything. On several occasions (when my mom was really mad), she told us there was NO WAY we would get anything at all!

I recently saw you at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It was the first time I ever saw you move. Maybe it was just the wind blowing you around, but it looked as though you were waving and looking right at me. Of course you knew exactly what I was thinking: “I hope no one touches the Elf!”

We kids know that you are Santa’s scout, and our parents said the one big rule was that we never, ever touch you. If we did, the magic would disappear and you would not come back the next day — or ever! We would never touch you because then you wouldn’t report back to Santa about what we wanted for Christmas or if we have been good or bad. How you got in the parade without anyone touching you is a mystery.

I was wondering if you would like a new stocking hat, a fresh set of clothes or different shoes? Some of my friends say that their Elf wears different hats and clothes throughout the Christmas season. I guess some are quite fashionable and creative. You only wear plain, red and white PJs and a stocking hat around our house. Please let me know if you would like to wear something different because I’m happy to get you another change of clothes. Just write back and let me know.

Finally, I am a little confused by my parents’ behavior. They seem to have a special relationship with you because a few times I noticed them scrambling around, trying to help you find a new place to sit for the day. Do you ask for their advice? Do you ask them how we are behaving? I just need to know going forward so I know who to trust.

OK, down to business. I want a new Lionel train track, an iPhone 6S and Madden 16! Please let Santa know.

Speaking of, I’m getting ready to compose my big letter to Santa and I heard it’s due back to the Clarendon Hills Park District office by tomorrow. Can you please help my mom remember to drop it off? If it’s late, Santa might not get it. But then again, you will tell him everything anyway, won’t you?

———————————————————————————————-

Upcoming events:

Letters from Santa at the Clarendon Hills Park District

$5.00 fee per letter

These personalized messages will be sent from the North Pole to boys and girls living in Clarendon Hills. All forms are available at the Clarendon Hills Park District Community Center, 315 E. Chicago Avenue, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. All forms must be returned no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, December 11 to allow Santa Claus enough time to write back!

Sunday, December 20

Ho Ho Ho! Santa and Mrs. Claus invite you to join them for a Christmas lunch. Families will enjoy a delicious lunch, holiday music, a holiday craft and a visit with Santa. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa to take home. Parents don’t forget to bring your camera to capture your child’s visit with Santa. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

12/20/15 1-3 PM – Registration deadline is December 14.
Mike is a village of Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; 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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his office is located at 5 S. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills, IL 60514. His blog can be found at mikemccurryhomesblog.wordpress.com630-325-2800 or visit his website at www.mmccurry.com

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf

Thanksgiving Table


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, November  26, 2015

The squeak of a table, the taste of cornbread dressing and the Chicago Bears playing on TV. There are so many memories about Thanksgiving that are stored between my ears. Believe it or not, I don’t remember the outcome of many of the football games I’ve played … but I must have good auditory memory because I can still remember the exact squeaking noise coming from the blue formica table at my grandparents’ house. I’m sure you have seen the one — it’s a retro style (that is now very popular!) and has a metal edge around the outside. Love that table! The cornbread dressing presented in the middle of that table just says “Thanksgiving” to me. But the most important memory to me now is having had three generations of family around that table: grandparents, “MomaCurry and DaddyCurry,” aunts, uncles and cousins.

Who is sitting around the table is important, of course. But sometimes what we do around the table is what makes those relationships even more memorable. The turkey, ham, all the fixings and pies — countless time and energy is spent on the preparation of Thanksgiving, but the time it takes to eat it goes by so quickly! To make the most of your time this year, consider a new activity to stir up interaction while also creating new traditions and memories.

How about these ideas?

Candy Corn — Put three pieces on each person’s plate. Starting with the youngest child, have each person hold one piece in their hand and name something for which they are thankful. They love the part where they get to eat the candy! Continue until you reach the oldest and all of the candy is gone. You will enjoy hearing the reflections from one another as you go around the table. This certainly sets the pace for a wonderful day. You never know … the dishes might even get cleaned by those who didn’t cook the meal!

Guess Who — Ask guests to jot down a thought of thanks on a piece of paper. Make them specific and creative! Then fold each one and put them all into a jar. The real fun begins when the jar is passed around the table and you get to guess who wrote each note!

Charades — I too usually roll my eyes when I hear that word, but I always find that my initial reaction was wrong. Playing charades provides a platform for interaction and is not age-restrictive. Seeing multi-generational ages laugh and carry on is simply priceless.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words — Give the children paper and crayons and invite them to draw pictures of the things that they feel most grateful for this year. You might end up with a few “Michelangelo” to frame!

Pray — There is nothing more important than to invite the creator of the universe to your table. Ask everyone to give one blessing of thanks to God as you go around the circle.

Football! — If you want to get the blood flowing, join the group of guys from Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale who are playing a game of football for their 6th annual “Old Guys Turkey Bowl.” Yes, about 20-30 old guys (lead by Jim Morris, the event’s founder) can be seen strutting their feathers at Prospect Park on turkey day. If you’re not much for playing, don’t worry; they could always use some cheering on. Or, if you’re in the medical profession, you might consider stopping by to give them an ice pack! The pain begins at 9 a.m. They are also collecting food and money for People’s Resource Center in Westmont.

Of course, another (warmer) option: you can be an armchair fan (and rest your muscles) while watching the Bears and Packers continue their rivalry at 8:30 p.m.
Build some memories today. Be thankful for the opportunity to be around a table. By the way, I recently found Moma and DaddyCurry’s old formica table in my shed. I took it out and set it up in our new house. We’ll hopefully use it for years to come, always cherishing the times spent there — and the people who have sat around it with me.

 

Mike is a village of Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; 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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his 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

Thanksgiving Table

Mama and DaddyCurry’s table

Giving up Cable


From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, October 29, 2015

They say you can tell if a storm is getting closer by counting how long it takes to hear thunder roll in after each lightning bolt. And on a dark and stormy night not so long ago, when a massive summer tempest was brewing, the thunder and lighting were popping almost instantaneously.

Suddenly, a powerful bolt hit the side of the McCurry house (or at least very close to it), causing pandemonium inside for the residents. The children were frightened, but no damage was apparent, so everyone went back to bed. As the time increased between each strike, they knew the storm had passed them by.

When the morning sunshine came, however, they discovered that not all the remnants of the storm had passed. One of the TVs would turn on, but blinked every 45 seconds. And the Wii games would only play without sound! A quick and frantic scan of the house revealed that those were the best-functioning electronics. Reaching the last TV and finding it unresponsive, they finally understood the terrifying truth: all the TVs and electronics were blown!

With surge protectors on almost everything, how could this have happened? Lightning had surged through the phone line to the AT&T box, causing everything that was connected to it to get damaged.  

This was the beginning of our year-long cleanse — life without Internet and cable. Yes, that’s right: a whole year! Can you imagine going a year without TV? At the time, we couldn’t, either. But it was forced upon us cold-turkey. In an instant, we lost all the shows we had earmarked to watch. And no more channel surfing or aimless web browsing. Getting the computers working on our phone’s WIFI hotspots wasn’t always easy, but it was helpful in a pinch.

Yes, it does sound a lot like living as the Amish do … but as our family discovered, there are benefits to having a simple life without relying on ubiquitous on-demand entertainment.

Finding the games tucked away in the closet was one of those benefits — especially Monopoly. It certainly teaches your children to be landlords and not tenants! Reading books also became one of the most popular activities in the house. A quiet home without the constant background noise was an unexpected but welcome blessing.

Of course, a year is a long time. Homework was made more difficult when Internet pages wouldn’t fully load on the computer via our phones’ hotspots. Missed Bears and Viking games were hard, too — although we seemed to find a way to get invited to the occasional Sunday afternoon game. And over time, the children forgot all about the addicting sounds of Mario Brothers! (I’m not sure that was a bad thing!)

Today, our Internet is up and running again, but we recently decided that we would pull the plug altogether on cable. No, we’re not totally going off the grid again — we’re just a little more choosy about what put on the TV. An HD antenna powers all the local channels (and more) for free! Yes, free! And we are using Netflix for streaming movies. It feels good to kick the cable to the curb.

Today, we still live our lives with that forced reset in our memories, taking time to enjoy the non-digital (and far more important things) in life. It shouldn’t have taken a lightning strike to make this decision … but I’m certainly glad it happened.

 

Mike is a village of Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; 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 the area.  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 residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”. Mike McCurry has been selling real estate in the western suburbs for over 25 years and his 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

Giving up Comcast

 

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