My hometown of Chicago was busy a few weekends ago. We had a couple of big games going on -- with mixed results. The Bulls won against the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center in the last minutes of the game, and then on Sunday, the Bears literally threw the ball to the Green Bay Packers, our arch rivals, in the form of a pass interception in the last minutes of the game. It was Midwestern manners at its best.
Ah well, next year the Bears will come back. The Bulls, though, may still have a happy ending this year, and if we keep going, I'll be able to say I was there to watch one of their games.
I was even able to see the sweat on their faces as the Bulls won that game, because of a pair of second-row floor seats, courtesy of my son, Louie. The game was going to be his first professional basketball game viewed from the floor and he was taking me along as his Christmas gift to me. I'm crazy about basketball, but rarely get to see the game.
Louie was so excited that he presented the tickets to me a week before Christmas. He announced the gift as his best ever, and he whipped out the long pieces of cardboard with a small red bull and gold seal.
Two floor tickets to a Bulls game are an amazing gift just by themselves, but throw in a grown son willing to take his mother, and there's a Christmas miracle.
However, sometimes fairytales have a few twists and turns, and this one's no exception. Right after Christmas, my son was offered the chance to host his own podcast, "Late Night with Louie" on Slam Internet Radio, www.slaminternetradio.com. He has really taken to it and is a natural interviewer and irreverent comedian. Plenty of others, who aren't his mother, even say so.
However, the show airs on Thursday nights, from 10 to midnight, CST, the same time as that precious Bulls game. I thought for sure he'd find a replacement host for the night or play a rerun, even if he had just started the show. After all, Bulls vs. Mavericks from the floor of the United Center, come on, it seemed obvious.
But, he took a different, longer view and painfully eked out the words that he was going to stand by his commitment and host his new show. I'd have to find someone else to go with me to the big game.
It was like a litmus test for responsible adulthood, and he passed. Not only did he pass, but he did it with grace and told me to go have a good time.
I ended up taking my friend, Cindy, who had also never seen the Bulls play at United Center. We were amazed by everything, high-fived everyone who ran by our aisle seats, laughed when we saw ourselves on the Jumbotron and shook our "air ball" signs whenever the Mavericks had a foul shot. I had a blast, all courtesy of my son, and every time I told someone who got us the tickets, their eyes grew wide for a moment with amazement.
I got home late with a Bulls T-shirt and hat just in time to tune into the last half hour of "Late Night with Louie," texting Louie that I was now listening. He even gave me a shout out and was talking about how excited he was about his upcoming guest, Christian Lander, author of "Stuff White People Like," on a future show. That's a good kid.
I'd like to take some of the credit for the accountable, funny, caring guy Louie is turning out to be, but I know he's done a lot of hard work on his own to get here. It's been amazing to watch him follow his dreams and take risks and then hang on when they didn't go exactly right, and celebrate when they were better than imagined. I'm just grateful I'm here to be part of the audience and will keep on tuning in for more. It doesn't even seem so bad that the Bears lost, after all.
Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. Her latest book is the memoir, "A Place to Call Home." Free eBook at www.MarthaRandolphCarr.com. E-mail Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.