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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


A Mother’s Day story


So what's a blogger to do on Mother's Day? Tell a story about mom? Would that be present enough? It's going to have to be. Read on.


• Let's be clear. There will be no libel here. My mom hasn't been with us for more than 30 years, so she isn't suing if she doesn't like this story. Good thing, too. ... My mother cooked two things well: pumpkin pie and chicken-fried steak. Other than that, well to give you an idea, my dad used ketchup on everything, from eggs to potatoes to – and I swear this is true – the occasional dessert. So it comes as no surprise my favorite memory of my mom revolves around food. Thanksgiving dinner as a matter of fact. It was 1971 and you might remember what happened that day. No. 1 Nebraska traveled to Norman to take on No. 2 Oklahoma in another in a long line of games of the century. Except this one turned out to really be the game of the century. Nebraska and Johnny Rodgers outscored Greg Pruitt's Sooner's 35-31. Great television, though 15-year-old Vince Grippi saw little of it. See, my mom had other plans. The day before she had decided the washer and dryer were not in the right place in the garage. So she moved them. Not too far, mind you, but far enough the hose feeding water into the washer came off the machine. She didn't notice. So the next day, as we all sat down to watch the game (by all, I mean my dad, myself and my slightly older sister; my mother was not much of a sports fan), mom decided to do a load of clothes. In went the laundry, the detergent, the softener. Down went the top. Dials set, she turned the washer on and headed back into the kitchen – not noticing the water pouring out on to the floor. Now everything would be fine in a lot of homes. The water would just pour out the garage door or something and everyone would get a good laugh. Not in our home. The garage was also the repository for my dad's records. It served as the pantry. It was a lot more than a car shelter. And it was slightly lower than the outside. So it was all getting covered with a nice 1- or 2-inch layer of water, though everyone was oblivious to this as the first quarter wound down. When the machine quit, my mom wiped her hands (she was probably ruining the stuffing) and wandered out to the back. She screamed. My dad jumped up and headed for the garage. My sister, wiser than me, jumped up and headed out the front door, probably sure mom had found her stash. Me? I was glued to the TV. Until I heard my dad say some words I can't repeat here and then call my name. Loudly. Suffice to say the rest of the afternoon was spent in the garage. Every once in a while I could hear the voices of Chris Schenkel or Bud Wilkinson waft from the living room as I swept water out the garage door, trying to ignore the under-the-breath mutterings of my dad as he attempted to save his 1969 taxes and two boxes of Wheaties. I never saw another play. And mom ruined the turkey.

• See, even my Mother's Day stories have something to do with sports. Now on to the links.


• Washington State: It was very possible that, for the first time this season, I wouldn't have anything Cougar-related to post. But John Blanchette came through with a column on new WSU radio color commentator Shawn McWashington, the one member of the Fab Five I have trouble remembering. (Typical conversation the past few years: "Chris Jackson, Nian Taylor, Shawn Tims, Kevin McKenzie and the other guy ..." "Shawn McWashington?" "Ya, that guy.") Sorry Shawn. ... We also have some news from the Pac-12 track championship. ... And Bud Withers looks at the South in football.

• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs struggled against Arizona State again last night, getting blown out 10-1.

• Eastern Washington: Portland State held its spring game and the Vikings won. Well, the defense won.

• Chiefs: Portland pulled out a 3-2 victory to send the WHL Finals to Edmonton for a game seven tonight.

• Preps: Another busy day in the high school ranks. ... Jim Allen has the story of Central Valley clinching a state 4A soccer berth. ... Greg Lee covers the rosters on the Jack Blair basketball game. ... Steve Christilaw documents West Valley's march to the state 2A softball tournament. ... Mike Vlahovich witnessed Mt. Spokane's defeat. ... Mead claimed the final 4A baseball berth with a 5-4 win over Ferris. ... A couple of Post Falls wrestlers earned national honors.

• Mariners: What can we write? That the Mariners lost again? That they are 5-17 against anyone not wearing an Oakland or Detroit uniform? That they don't play either of those teams again until June 25? I know. One thing I can write is Eric Wedge is finally sharing our frustration with Brendan Ryan, benching the shortstop yesterday and sharing his feeling with the Seattle writers. ... As for the game, yes, the M's lost 6-2 as Hector Noesi had a bad inning and that was more than enough. For one day at least, the Yanks won the offseason trade. ... It's Sunday, so we have Larry Stone's power rankings and his column. ...  Had to pass along this story from the New York Times. Is Johnny Damon a Hall of Famer?

• Sounders: Really? (I just had to write that.) Yep, Real Salt Lake abd Fabian Espindola snapped the Sounders' winning streak with a 1-0 victory in Seattle. Not a good day for the Sounders' offense.

• Golf: The best story of the day (other than the one about my mom above)? It has to be this feature from the San Francisco Chronicle on 1957 U.S. Open winner Jack Fleck (right). If you said "who," then the story is for you. If you knew who Jack Fleck is, then the story is for you. Yep, this story is well worth the time for everyone.


• That's it for today. I'm celebrating Mother's Day in my usual style. I'm going to take the hose off the washing machine and watch the ensuing fireworks. Until later ...

Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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