Sep 15, 201510:57 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Scott Walker, go to Ferguson!
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But first, what a great post-Labor Day weekend! Packers start out the season with James Jones and a rare opening day win. Badgers right the ship in cool and sunny Madison.
Great meet-up motorcycle ride Saturday through the southern Kettle Moraine led by former circuit judge Mark Frankel. On the way, we encountered a top notch classic car show on the grounds of the Cambridge Fire Department. Hot-rodded Model A Fords, a low-slung 1950 Merc, and a lemon meringue-yellow ’57 Chev were my favorites. The most fun car was the whimsical Crosley, with dragon pipes, a State Journal delivery box for air intake, and a ceramic water faucet for a driver’s door handle.
It wasn’t a planned stop but a good motorcycle ride is about the journey, not the destination.
The day before, I golfed the Tommy G. Thompson Charity Open at Door Creek outside of Cottage Grove. Completing my foursome were radio host Mitch Henck and former Dane County Board colleagues Jim Mohrbacher, now of Okauchee Lake, and Sam Simon of Middleton. Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Robinson accompanied Tommy to greet each foursome on the course. Robinson let me handle his Hall of Fame ring; it is a heavy hunk of gold.
Of course, Friday was the 14th anniversary of 9/11. Tommy was secretary of Health and Human Services in Washington. He recounted how he put the only plane in the air (outside the military) to deliver medical supplies to New York and walked the ash-covered streets of NYC less than 48 hours later. Robinson recounted how, as the first black player to be the No. 1 pick of the Packers, Coach Vince Lombardi integrated Green Bay “in 45 minutes.”
Most local taverns would not serve African Americans. Lombardi called the owners into his office, said he respected their prerogatives and announced that he would exercise his own: all the Packers or none would visit their taverns. Robinson said he took up after-school sports at the insistence of his father, who died soon afterwards, so that his mother would know where he was at all times. Again, a strong father figure makes a difference in a young life.
The football great — a resident of his native New Jersey — said he loved Tommy T. Indeed, my mentor attracts a diverse group. Talked to former ambassador and Sun Prairie boy Tom Loftus, my old boss Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler, former state Rep. Joe Tregoning, Doug Moe and his bride, former TV newsgal Janean Yasiri, Dane County Towns president Jerry Derr, and brother Mike-boy — who played five extra holes to settle a bet. Saw former State Sens. Brian Rude, Tim Cullen, Dale Schultz, and former Madison mayor Joel Skornicka.
Tommy’s golf event raises money for health scholarships to Madison College students.