Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan Is Nostalgic for Government by Saloon Keepers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan Is Nostalgic for Government by Saloon Keepers

Article excerpt

Have you ever noticed how old people talk about the past all the time? Or else they drone on about their aches and pains.

Aches and pains came to mind Wednesday evening when I was sitting on my front porch. I had a vague pain in my stomach. What the heck was that? My knees or my back, all right. But the stomach pain was new. I wondered how worried I should be.

Fortunately, I had something to take my mind off my new pain. A neighbor and his daughter were playing catch. More exactly, she was pitching. He was catching.

Memories came flooding over me. I so enjoyed watching my daughter play softball. I even served as an assistant coach in a recreational league when she was in middle school. I was the third base coach once when Lorna came up with a runner on third.

It was my job to tell the runner to run home if Lorna hit the ball. And she did! She hit a roller to the left of the pitcher. In our league, a ground ball was almost always a hit. Admittedly, there was always the possibility that a fielder would field the ball cleanly, that she would then make a good throw and that the first baseman would then catch it. But the odds were remote that all three things would happen on one play.

In this instance, the pitcher picked up the ball, dropped it, picked it up again and threw wildly toward first. The first baseman left the bag and dropped the ball. A hit!

Unfortunately, I had been so engrossed in watching the play that I had forgotten to send our runner home. We lost by a run.

Later, Lorna played high school softball.

Most of the other fathers had real jobs, so I was usually the only father at the weekday afternoon games. At one game, one of the mothers wondered who we played next. "St. Elizabeth," I said. Another mother wondered aloud if they had a good team. "We beat them 2-1 last year, and one of their runners was thrown out at the plate."

One of the mothers looked at me, and said, "You need a life."

I was recalling these memories Wednesday when my phone rang. It was a judge.

"McMahon died," he said. "Charlie Lane just called to tell me."

Charlie Lane is a retired St. Louis police officer. John McMahon was a downtown saloon keeper. …

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