Jesse Millman, the Comeback Kid, dies just short of 90th birthday
The Comeback Kid is gone! Jesse Millman of Milton passed away last week; he would have been 90 on Memorial Day. Jesse, a member of the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame, was on the 1976 school board with Ken Lingo, Jim Reed, Harry Moore, John Keefe, Buck Ratledge and Dave Truitt. Those magnificent seven did so many great things and were unapologetically Cape all day long. The joke was, they built the Little Big House and with the leftover bricks finished the rest of the school. Jesse was the forever timer at home basketball games. I remember Seaford winning a game at the buzzer - so they thought - but Jesse, the head timer, told the officials the shot was “no good - it was after the buzzer.” By the time the Seaford coach wanted to chirp at Jesse, he was on Cave Neck Road halfway to his home in Milton. Six years ago when Cape basketball came from 21 back to beat Concord in the state tournament I told coach Dwight Tingle, “I have a home for that basketball. It has to go to the Comeback Kid, Jesse Millman.” And on a surprise afternoon Dwight, Shemik Thompson and I showed up on Jesse’s front step. His daughter Diane Lockwood, who was Coach Tingle’s second-grade teacher, was there and knew we were coming. Dwight and Shemik gave a moving presentation. Jesse never changed expression and afterward asked, “Does it come with any money?” The guy I knew was a solid, straight-up tough person, and if you know his story you know he was tougher than all of us.
I Remember Mama - Lynn Danner, 53, of Rehoboth won the Mother's Day Remembrance 5K Saturday in 19:20, saying, “I can’t push through the pain like I could when I was younger,” then told me he was running for his mother, who he lost this last year. I asked him him “How old was your mom?’ and he said, ”90,” and I added, “She certainly ran the good race.” A trio of local women finished the race arms raised together then came to find me letting me know they were running for Jeannie Carpenter, a former Cape student of mine who passed away suddenly in 2006 from a pulmonary embolism. Jean’s daughter Sarah Lowe, 21, just graduated from Beebe School of Nursing and was running the race in honor of her mom. So were Jean's sister Kay Dukes and Kay’s daughter Katie.
Friends are forever - Many of my best friends I picked up later in life. The gorilla glue that connects us is always sports rather than meeting at a book club or Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Saturday morning in the Mother's Day 5K, college roommates at Misericordia University Mary Beth Betts Peet and Charlene Goldberg, now 27 ran their first Mother's Day race as mothers, so how cool is that? You can’t beat childhood friends, but ones you make later when your personality is fully formed with your reject mechanism in place tend to last a lifetime. Get me out of this!
Snippets - Cape school board election is Tuesday, May 13. You must be 18 and a resident to be eligible to vote. There are five candidates for one seat; that is better than five of my aunts for one pizza. Candidates are Alison Myers, Meyer Persow, Juan Saez, Terry Betts Carey and Bob Bennett. I already know who is going to win and will put the name in a drawer and let you know if I was right.
I like smart people who also like sports; that is how I roll. Cape baseball, 7-9, had dropped five straight since leaving the land where aloha means hello and goodbye, and faces home games on Tuesday versus Smyrna (12-4) and Thursday Saint Mark’s (14-2). I say call them state tournament games and try to win them both!
Cape’s Evan Lesko placed second at 2nd singles in last weekend's Henlopen Conference tennis championships while the 2nd doubles team of Jason Harris and Brandon VanVorst also placed second. Anna Steiner, who picked up a racket just last November after laying down her softball glove, got the bronze medal at the Henlopen Conference Tournament. More in Friday paper. I live inside a vacuum-packed tennis tube, and when I roll out, I am chased by retrievers. Loved 30, not so fond of 60. Go on now, git.