Yesterday was a long and tiring day,but well worth the effort as I was able to meet an all time favorite of mine in former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar.
The Kosar story follows,but first a word to the seamheads expecting to read about the West Virginia Power.
I have decided due to time constraints to do one or two posts on the series on Monday or Tuesday.
Yesterday's rainout and afternoon start tomorrow,combined with two rare off days and the Pirates All-Star breaks will give me more time to do that and the promised point/counterpoint post on the Pirates contention prospects in the second half.
I came home to grab my stuff for work a bit late as I wanted to get much as I could finished of the Power on Thursday in anticipation of possible bad weather on Friday (Good move,game rained out) and a quick perusal of the mailbox before I left.
Waiting for me was a link from Battlin' Bob on a Bernie Kosar appearance at Longaberger Baskets in the outlet mall here in town.
I was familiar with the name,but knew little about the baskets and I didn't even know there was a store in town!
When I saw the time (10 am -noon) I knew I was in for a long day.
First,I had to work the rest of the night, then take the lovely Cherie to work so I could keep the car, then hit the outlets and find the store that I did not even know was in existence.
That was not the hard part,it was finding where to get in line for Kosar.
A long line outside elicited some groaning from Rachel,my partner on this day,but as I quickly explained this looked like five people compared to my Delmarva nightmare.
One other man with his daughter walked out the store and said it would be another two hours before they arrived (the bad weather in Ohio would arrive here later in the day cancelling the Suns-Power game).
As we stood in what we thought was the line,a lady asked whether I was a "Consultant" and this was the Consultant line.
I replied that I was not and was waiting for Kosar,who the lady asked Who?
The guy before had referred to the CEO for Longaberger as "Michelle",which I assumed was her name,so I said "The person traveling with "Michelle Longaberger",only be corrected by about ten middle aged women that her name was Tami.
Thanks for the bad intel,bud,like I am supposed to know that!
I took that in stride though,I suppose I would react the same way if some lady said "I am here to see the person traveling with Bob Kosar".
We slide into the heavily trafficked store and found a gentleman with a Longaberger badge and asked where the line was,which he promptly pointed to in the wrong spot.
Not wanted to cut in front of anyone and get pounded by baskets,I went back to this fellow and asked again to be in the right position.
This time,he told me to ask people in the area if this was the "Tami line".
That was successful and we were about 10-15th in line at about 10:00.
This meant listening to loads of Longaberger info and learning more than I ever cared to know about baskets.How sturdy are they? (some can carry 40 pounds),the difference between first and second quality,the most expensive baskets they sell ($1,200) and their pottery line,which I did like a great deal.
I turned to Rachel said they looked similar to FiestaWare (our choice of china) and the consultant in front of us quickly turned around and said "It's better than FiestaWare!!!!"
As I began to wonder whether these people were nuts or not,I remembered Delmarva and what if someone entirely sports/autographs non-educated would have seen that mess and talked to everyone there-they would have had questions too.
Any situation that has tons of people passionate about the same thing in one spot is going to be a bit crazy.
Time wound on and despite being tired of being on my feet,it really was not that bad.
The ladies were really nice and attempted to educate me-(If this remotely interests you, check out the Longaberger site of Roseann Harris,who seems to be the walking encyclopedia of all things Longaberger and gave me her business card-Roseann,this one is for you...)
Finally at 11:15,a little earlier than expected.Ms.Longaberger and Bernie walked in the door (I found later on line,the pair are currently dating,which makes Bernie Kosar at a Maryland Longaberger basket signing make a load more sense now than it did then) and as soon as they entered the store,Kosar sees my jersey and walks over and shakes my hand!
After they get in position and the local politicians get their photo op with Tami Longaberger,Bernie is standing there with nothing to do,so what does he do?
He walks over and talks to me for the next five minutes about the Browns (He expects them to be somewhat improved),the Cleveland Gladiators (the Arena league team that Kosar part-owns),the local fans and who they prefer Ravens or Redskins (neither,I'd say Steelers hold a slight lead) etc.
That ended so the same PR guy that relentlessly shilled for Hagerstown on the PBS program "Our Town-Hagerstown" took the microphone speaking for about five minutes on the local politicians there etc.
Sidebar-I highly recommend Our Town-Hagerstown as the most hilarious piece of unintentional humor that I have seen in years.
It is on either PBS or if you have Antietam Cable,it is available for free using the On Demand service....
You have not lived until you have seen City Councilwoman Ashley Haywood put herself over for "Having lived abroad in New York"(She said this kind of awkwardly and I don't think she meant it to sound the way it did) and dressing for a television appearance like she was prepping for a Women's Lib rally in 1973.
Not to mention two minutes on the Hagerstown Suns,but close to nine (I timed it,I know- get a life) on the culture of downtown Hagerstown and its continuing efforts to become the Paris of North America
If you live locally and enjoy funny things that were not intended to be so funny-I could not recommend this more....-Back to the show
After PR guy was finished recognizing half the county,Tami Longaberger then spoke briefly (PR guy needs to take lessons to how to be concise) and began to start the signing.
A Longaberger person then went through the line and said "Tami was limited to signing one item".
I did not have anything for her of course,although I had I known her name was Tami,I might have brought my DVD of the TAMI Show.
Imagine if Tami accompanied Bernie to a sports signing,I'd be lucky to get one or two things signed!
The lady then said "You are just here for Bernie?I answered in the affirmative and she then took around the line of people right to Bernie,who resumed football talk as he signed two cards,a mini helmet and Cherie's Kosar jersey!
When I had him personalize to Cherie and how excited she would be,he responded "happy to make the husband the good guy tonight"!
We spoke a few more minutes on football,told him how huge a fan my favorite Aunt Becky was of him,took a picture together and then one with Rachel,I then thanked again for such a thrill,shook hands with the legend and turned to walk away.
I got some steps away when I heard him call out "hey,would you like me to sign your jersey too"?
I said of course as Bernie walked over signed the 9 on the back of the jersey with "Go Browns,Bernie Kosar #19".
It took about 5 minutes to leave the store and a long day still remained,but it was well worth some weariness and leg pain to meet an all time favorite.
Thanks to Bernie Kosar for such a great memory,to the Longaberger company for making it possible and to the ladies in line for making what could have been a long day into a pretty pleasant one.
Now,Becky,which Browns game are we hitting this year???
Photo Credit;Rachel Heimberger