* One of my very good friend’s daughter was killed in a car accident late last week. Her funeral was today and it was difficult to see my friend in distress. She is a friend who goes back to my high school days and I’m fortunate to have so many relationships from that time in my life. I never wanted to move away from the Wichita area (I went to high school in Derby). The journalism business is one of the most transient out there – people are constantly leaving to take bigger jobs in bigger cities. I never did and today I was reminded once again of why. My heart goes out to Diana Praeger and her family and friends, many of whom are friends of mine. There were a lot of people from the Derby Class of 1973 at the funeral today and while it was a terribly sad event it is always good when those of us who have known one another so long can be together.
* Speaking of Diana, we were together at an NBC World Series game in 1987, I believe it was. It was really late on a Friday night and we were sitting in the box seats down the third-base line. We were talking when I saw something coming toward us out of the corner of my eye. It turned out to be a baseball, whistling at warp speed. I had no time to react, but was able to get out of the way of the ball. Then it stuck Diana just below her nose, causing terrible damage. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the hospital. She fully recovered and soon looked as good as ever, but I felt terrible about that night 24 years ago. And I don’t feel that good about it today.
* I met Diana in junior high school. We had several classes together and just hit it off. It was that way with most of the girls in school. Don’t I wish? I have always thought so much of her and even though a large group of us Derby grads have remained friends through the years, we don’t get to see one another nearly as often as we would like. Diana and a bunch of our other girl friends came to my wedding nearly a year ago. I was so glad they did.
* I’m writing a lot about Diana because I can’t stop thinking about her and the unimaginably difficult times she is going through. Her ex-husband, Joey Praeger, was also a great friend when we were growing up. He’s a year older and became a veterinarian. He lives in Amarillo now. I hadn’t seen him in close to 30 years, I’m thinking, before today.
* OK, on to some other things. I want the Jerry Sandusky case to go away. I want him to go away. And I don’t really care how he goes away, I just want it to happen.
* I really enjoyed interviewing Kansas basketball player Conner Teahan this week for a column that appeared in Thursday’s Wichita Eagle. Nice guy and I really like stories like his. Imagine all that time he spent on the KU bench, watching his teammates. Now he finally gets his chance and so far, at least, is making the most out of it.
* Finally watched “The Help” the other night with my wife. What a fantastic movie. Not surprised at how many SAG and Golden Globe nominations it received. Was a little surprised that Emma Stone wasn’t nominated, though. But Viola Davis deserves every award she wins for her contribution to that film. I’m predicting she takes home an Oscar.
* I’m looking forward to watching Pittsburg State play Wayne (Mich.) State tomorrow in the Division II championship game from Florence, Ala. Although a 10 a.m. start? That’s the price you pay, I guess, when you’re Division II and you’re trying to get on ESPN2. I went to Florence in 2004 to cover Pittsburg State when the Gorillas lost to Valdosta State, 36-31, in the Division II championship game. I drove to Florence and ate breakfast at the Waffle House in Muscle Shoals on the morning of the game. It was a neat trip, although Florence is not easy to get to and the stadium there is nothing special. Congratulations to Pitt State for a fifth appearance in the championship game. Nice story.
* Thanks to everyone for reading. I got a little deep today in some personal thoughts. Diana is a long-time friend who is really hurting and she is very much in my thoughts. Have a great weekend.