Thursday, April 9, 2015

ERNIE AND DUROCHER

The Professor & Foghorn with
the Ernie Banks statue outside
Wrigley Field in 2011.
Ernie Banks is arguably the most beloved player in Chicago Cubs history, known for his positive, upbeat personality.  The Hall of Famer, "Mr. Cub", loved the game so much that he is known for his catchphrase of "let's play two."  He passed away earlier this year and every Cubs fan is still in mourning.  He stopped playing when I was a toddler, but I loved this man so much I seriously considered naming Foghorn "Ernestine."

In the late '60s and early '70s, towards the end of Banks' career, the Cubs were managed by Leo "The Lip" Durocher.  He had been a member of the St. Louis Cardinals' rowdy "Gashouse Gang" of the 1930s, then went on to manage most famously the Dodgers.  He earned the moniker "The Lip" with his salty tongue and brash manner and is (somewhat erroneously) credited with the phrase "nice guys finish last".  I've always had a thing about Durocher, probably because he appears on an episode of Mr. Ed along with a bunch of the L.A. Dodgers.  And I don't care what anybody says, seeing a horse run the bases and then slide into home, depositing his hoof squarely on home plate is one of the funniest things ever.  Since I was/am a big Mr. Ed fan, I think I developed a fondness for Leo at an early age.

A year ago I read a book about Wrigley Field and the Cubs and it mentioned that "The Lip" was not fond, to say the least, of Ernie Banks.  He criticized Banks' playing, among other things, but I have a feeling we also had a major clash of temperaments.  Banks was light, Durocher was dark.  Banks was cheerful, Durocher gruff.  You get the idea.

Daisy & The Professor
When Daisy entered our lives last year she immediately bowled me over with her enthusiasm for life.  For the first week I caged her at night since I wasn't sure what she might do and when let loose in the morning she would race out, squealing with joy, propeller tail whirling around, and immediately locate the nearest toy.  St. Jimmi would come wandering in so she could go out to potty and Daisy would rush up to her.  I always imagined her saying, "Oh, Jimmi!  It's so wonderful!  It's morning!  And today we get to eat and pee and play with toys!  Oh, boy!  Oh, boy!"  Jimmi would take one look at her and let loose with her howls, a sour expression on her face.  This was repeated every morning.  Daisy was ready to greet the day with a smile.  Jimmi was ready to figuratively hike her leg on it.

Daisy started getting the same surly reaction from Jimmi on a nearly hourly basis.  Jimmi was mad if Daisy tried to play with her or approached her at the water bowl or tried to climb on the couch with her or tried to look out the same window.  Not surprisingly, Jimmi earned herself the nickname "Durocher."  While the nickname of "Ernie" for my basset didn't stick, Jimmi has continued to be called Durocher.  She's mostly adjusted to Daisy, although she's still very vocal, and Daisy's mischievous side has emerged, making her intentionally push Jimmi's buttons.  I always compare Jimmi's anger to a tea kettle put on to boil.  Daisy will be in her face, trying to get her to play or aggravating her on purpose, and Jimmi's eyes will start to get big.  Then her nose and lips start to quiver.  Her chest begins to heave.  And then, whoosh!  Like a tea kettle suddenly whistling, the steam comes out of the dog's ears and she explodes in a howl that could puncture the eardrum.  And Daisy finds that very funny.  She stands wagging her tail and watching Jimmi scream and looks around like, "Isn't this fun?  Let's play two!"





** While I don't have any video of Durocher giving Daisy what-for, I do have some footage of her reaction to a seven year old Foghorn who was being too loud and rowdy:


1 comment:

lillianscupboard said...

A perfect description of Daisy and Durocher.