Local muppets and families bonded for a lifetime through sports
Diamond in the rough - Point to point across the diamond from home plate to straight-away center, I learned to love Sussex County at the Lewes Little League field. Forty years ago when my son Dave played for the Dodgers, coached by Wayne Mitchell and Terry Hudson, I dropped my tourist/import label inside my hat and became fully accepted and part local because, as Terry Hudson so eloquently put it in regard to my Philly roots, “We love you because you’re just as dumb as the rest of us.” It was early-evening suppertime bonding through centerfield tailgates off the back of Terry’s truck when the Dodgers were not playing. That venue of priceless memories was Daisey Hudson’s kitchen. I always showed up but never brought a covered dish. Once Terry reached deep inside a fish cooler and pulled out an ice-cold Coors Light. Daisey said, “Here, that’s cold, put it in this,” and handed me a huggy. I proceeded to pour the beer into the huggy, which had a hole in the bottom, and no one could stop laughing for 20 minutes. Daisey said, “That’s OK. Would you like a fuzzy navel?” I responded, “What am I, Italian?” I had no idea it was a drink – thought it was a joke – but afterward over the season I drank a lot of them. Good friends establish trust before laughing with and at each other. I was so sad when I heard Daisey Hudson passed away Sept. 11 as a result of COVID-19 at the age of 73. She was an athlete who was solidly fit and won the Senior Ladies Golf Tournament at the Rehoboth Country Club just a year ago, shooting a 78. I often use the expression, “Good ol’ Sussex County girl, just rock solid” to describe an aspect of local culture still here but hard to find. Lots of us from the backstop to the outfield fence have shared the last 40 years of time passing, watching our children become parents, elevating us to grandparent status. Daisey was Dee-O to Tom, Ty and Reece. Here at Sesame Street by the Sea, Daisey Hudson is a two-name muppet. You hear her name, you know her story. Daisey’s brother is Preston Shockley but Terry nicknamed him Peppy because of his resemblance to Joe Pepitone of the Yankees. Jackie Shockley is her sister-in-law, but I always saw them as sisters because of their athletic connection and coaching together. Myralon Webb is also a sister, and her children Kelly and Lisa are friends with Dave and Carrie. I was at a Salesianum at Cape baseball game a few years ago when a Sallies runner was called out sliding into third base. A Sallies fan stood up and said, “Be careful, they’re all related down here!” You damn skippy! Related by family and friendship, traditions and little league parks, huggies and fuzzy navels. We are a Rockwellian watercolor on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, and we have a Daisey Hudson down here and you don’t. “Look at me, I can be centerfield.”
Rainman - Thursday, Sept. 10, a Cape football jersey fell off the top closet shelf and landed on my head (Who turned out the light?). It was No. 76. My brain immediately clicked to Myron Selby. I messaged Myron and asked, “What was your high school number, and please send me your mailing address.” He replied, “76,” and before you could say "Jack Rabbit" (I once had a dog with that name), I was off to the UPS Store with a package shipped to Harrisburg, Pa. I was Myron's line coach at Cape. He graduated in 1986, played in the Blue-Gold game. The boy could roll, so keeping in harmony he is now the line coach and run game coordinator for the Steelton-Highspire Rollers. And he is head coach of PA Union arena football team and works as a supervisor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. But what really caught my attention was that he and wife Jody Coulson-Selby have five kids and six grandkids. Time is a fast train coming and going, and quoting the O'Jays, “If you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you. Join in on the love train.”
Snippets - Jack McPike, a quarterback cover boy out of Cape who got brain cancer two years ago while living in Tampa, Fla., was prescribed a number of chemical treatments that made him look like a linebacker. I started to call him Kiko Alonzo, a middle backer out of Oregon who played for the Bills, Eagles, Dolphins and Saints. I procured an Eagles Kiko Alonzo jersey off some Philly guy from Upper Chichester and sent it to Jack. Jerseys are easy, but I don’t take lightly giving away nicknames. Kiko Jack has been to Germany for exotic treatment and is now back in Tampa. Long may you run, Kiko, with your Cape heart shining in the sun. Go on now, git!