Thursday, September 29, 2016

29 going on 30: My journey, my life, living the United Way

Loyalty, Baseball and Crakerjack. Or is it Crackerjacks?

by Pete Grignon, Chief Financial Officer, CPA 

“Son, we’re going to a baseball game.” Nap, my father, was a loyal baseball fan who took me to many a game at Cheney Stadium to watch the local home team, Tacoma Giants (1960-1965).  The memory of my father taking me to the ball park is the main reason why I still follow the game to this day.  He would quietly explain to me how the game was played while recording every play on a scorecard. He would cheer on the team and get upset with the umpire.  At five years old, the only thing I could think about was the food: popcorn in the first inning, followed by a hot dog with a hearty spread of mustard from a wooden stick and a dollop of relish in the third. I can still hear the booming voice of the hot dog man, “Hot dog, get your red hot, hot dog,” and see the steam rising from the large metal container he lugged up and down the stairs. The sixth inning was time to open that box of Cracker Jack, or what I remember as Cracker Jack(s). During the seven inning stretch we would belt out, “Take Me Out To the Ballgame.” I remember, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.”  For those of you born in the fifties and sixties, is that what you remember, the plural version?

A little history on Cracker Jack: In 1896, the first lot of Cracker Jack was produced, the same year the name was registered. It was named by an enthusiastic sampler who remarked: "That's a crackerjack idea!" (a colloquialism meaning "of excellent quality"). In 1916, mascot Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo were introduced on the cover. In 1912, toy surprises were included in every box. In 2013, some prizes became codes for people to redeem "nostalgic" games on the Cracker Jack app through Google Play for Android-powered devices.

My dad remained loyal to our local baseball team until the day he died. Stuck with them through the winning AND losing seasons. He was also loyal to my mom and his children.  Some of his reliability must have rubbed off on me when I went to work with United Way over 29 years ago. I still believe United Way is the best way to help the most people as we work with others to solve our community’s toughest challenges. What are you loyal too?

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