At the end of today’s Impromptus — full of war, slaughter, and fury — I have a note on the Detroit Lions. This isn’t a very happy subject either. They are my NFL team, as I am a Michigander, and a Detroit-area kid. I mention that there are only four teams that have not appeared in the Super Bowl: us (of course), the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. I continue,
The Houston and Jacksonville teams were established a couple of seconds ago, so leave them to one side. Detroit was established in the 1930s; Cleveland was established in the 1940s.
And our overall records? We, the Lions, are 510–611–32. They, the Browns, are 494–421–13. A virtual powerhouse.
But one good thing about being a Lions fan? We’re always getting number-one draft picks . . .
I have received quite a few letters like the following:
The original Cleveland Browns morphed into the Baltimore Ravens — a team that has done very well. [They are the current Super Bowl champions.] The present Cleveland Browns were also established “a couple of seconds ago,” as an expansion team. So that leaves the Lions as the only long-time franchise not to appear in the Super Bowl.
Sorry. Just remember that the truth shall set you free and all that. :-)
To add insult to injury, the guy quotes Jesus on me, and makes a smiley face.
Also in Impromptus, I remark on John Wilpers, an Army intelligence officer who helped to capture Tojo and prevent him from committing suicide. I read his obit (our guy’s, not Tojo’s). A reader writes,
Your item reminded me of something I came across about ten years ago. I was traveling across the country with my son on the two-lane roads — something I’ve enjoyed doing a few times, maybe stemming from my long-lost hitchhiking days? We were stopping here and there as we pleased, and this particular day we were on U.S. Route 24 in northern Missouri. I have always maintained that every town in the U.S. has a claim to fame. Maybe they’re the only one that thinks so, but they have something that they’re proud of or that makes them unique.
So I was telling my eight- or nine-year-old this as we approached a tiny town called Keytesville. He says, “Betcha there’s nothing this town has a claim to fame for, Dad!”
I hit the brakes and pulled into a little drive-thru lunch shack, and asked the owner if the town had a museum. She said yes, but it was closed. I said, “That’s too bad,” but she said all wasn’t lost — she was the curator and had the key. So we had lunch, then she shut down the place and we followed her over to the museum for a personal tour.
Front and center, taking pride of place in the one-room museum, was a WWII Army nurse uniform — which had belonged to a nurse who helped care for Tojo during his convalescence before his war-crimes trial: Rebecca Schmidt Enderle. Our guide told us that the nurse was still alive — at the time in her 80s — and living a few blocks away. We didn’t try to visit her, but my point was vindicated to my son. (It took a little more explaining for him to get the concept of nursing a man back to health so that he could be tried and properly executed for his crimes.)