Downtown golf and other stuff

Friday, June 18, 2010

OK. You've tithed to your church. You've pledged to United Way. You've sent a check to Haiti. And you've helped pay for orphanages in Africa and schools in Nicaragua.

Take what's left in your bank account and sign up for the Fifth Annual Louis J. Lorimier Memorial Downtown Golf Tournament and All-You-Can-Eat Catfish Buffet. Call me for an entry form. Or check with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. It costs a whopping $25. Each.

And proceeds go to the Red House Interpretive Center, one of the most fascinating glimpses of our fair city's history.

The tournament starts at 1:30 p.m. June 27 (that's a Sunday) at the Common Pleas Courthouse Park. After nine holes of downtown golf on either of the two courses, everyone will gather back at the park for catfish and all the trimmings.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Bring the family and one golf club (five-iron recommended -- T-shirts and special Birdieballs provided). You'll be glad you did.

Thank you to everyone who has commiserated with me or my wife about our recent experience with the burglar trying to break into our house. The police called last Friday to tell us two suspects are in custody based on fingerprints found on our kitchen windows. Police think evidence from other recent burglaries will also point to this pair.

Some of you have suggested that the Sullivans should be better prepared for home invaders. But keeping a baseball bat under the bed or a loaded gun on the nightstand isn't likely to happen in our house. There are lots of reasons. The biggest is I am more afraid that, in a sleep-induced stupor I might bash or shoot a completely innocent person -- like my wife or perhaps a son making an unexpected visit. I won't take that risk.

But it's more troubling than that for my wife and me. When the police called, they told us the two would-be burglars were juveniles. Kids. Too young to drive a getaway car.

It's hard for us to imagine why boys become burglars. It's particularly hard on my wife, who spent years working with young offenders through a mentoring program that helped them learn how to go to job interviews and found employers willing to take a chance on teenagers -- some of them parents already -- that no one else wanted to bother with.

We received an envelope of documents this week from the juvenile officer. With one we could file a claim for any losses we might have incurred. We have no claim. The screen the young man took off our window was carefully removed. It wasn't damaged. Another document allows us to ask to be present and to speak at juvenile hearings for the two boys. What would we say?

It breaks our hearts that these boys are in this mess. We have been struggling with how we -- or anyone else -- might help them. My wife, a former board member of the Missouri Division of Youth Services, knows the positive influence DYS programs can have.

We're still struggling.

And I would be sorely remiss if I didn't mention that today is a special day at the Sullivan house. It is our 45th wedding anniversary.

Where has the time gone? It was only a couple of years ago, it seems, that we celebrated our first anniversary. Then our 10th. Then our 25th. How did we get to 45 so quickly?

For everyone celebrating their years together: Happy anniversary.

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