Jeff has had another fantastic week. Well wishes, prayers, gifts, and visitors have continued to pour in and we thank you all so much.
Last weekend Jeff and some old friends piled into a limousine and drove to Athens for the day. They visited a friend, ate some great food, and shared a million stories. That day meant a lot to Jeff – thank you Chapman, Fink, Goat, Needle, and the rest of the group.
A few days later, Jeff was treated to dinner at The Pine Club, courtesy of his aunt and uncle from Indianapolis. Thank you again Aunt Jo and Uncle Jack for that great meal! He and Colleen are still talking about it.
Throughout the past two weeks Jeff has been fit enough to play cards with some poker buddies. One friend took him to the new Cincinnati casino where he got to eat jumbo shrimp in the VIP lounge. He also played at games here in Centerville and in Bellbrook. He says he got lousy cards both nights except for two hands. Both nights he won ” best hand of the night” – once with quad 5′s and once with quad 3′s. Thank you to all of Jeff’s friends at the poker table for helping him get back into action!
On Sunday morning we got a special treat – Jeff made his famous pumpkin waffles. Our family was at the house along with Cheryl and Kate Johnston and our cousin Alex Montavon. We all got to pig out on one of our favorite meals in the world – there is nothing like a fresh pumpkin waffle with homemade syrup – especially when it’s shaped like Mickey Mouse. Look at the pictures on the blog and you’ll see one of Dad serving up some waffles years ago. This was a fantastic morning we will always cherish – thanks to the Johnstons and Alex for joining us!
Now for the story of the amazing day we had on Tuesday, July 2nd. As Colleen explained in the previous post, one of Abby’s best friends contacted a family we know here in Dayton – the Trebnicks. Their family has a close connection with Joey Votto, the superstar of the Cincinnati Reds. When they reached out to Joey to see if he could do anything for our dad, he came through in a BIG way. We were given field passes for batting practice on Tuesday as well as some fantastic seats for the game. The entire day was amazing – starting with the Cincinnati reds employees who gave us extra field passes without any hesitation – All six of the adults in our family were then able to experience batting practice. We got onto the field on Tuesday and were simply blown away. Jeff literally had to hold his chin up because it kept falling down in disbelief at what we were experiencing. Dusty Baker came over for autographs and a picture, as well as Todd Frazier. Then the moment came when Joey walked over to meet us.
Joey Votto couldn’t have been a nicer, more humble, and down to earth guy. He talked with my dad for a long time (we know Jeff can be a talker). Joey saw us trying to interrupt Dad for a picture and quietly said to him “sir would you like to get a picture for your kids?” – it was effective at getting dads attention! Joey then gave Jeff an autographed authentic bat. It is a Joey Votto bat with the official engravings on it and a nice note from Joey. After a few autographs, and what felt like an eternity of standing their drooling and not coming up with anything significant to say, Joey went back to practice. It was a fantastic experience that none of us will ever forget. A million thanks to Jess Litscher, April Trebnick, The Reds, and Joey Votto.
After batting practice we got dinner and then returned to the field for the game. After what we had just experienced, the reds could have lost an ugly game and we still would have gone home elated. But the reds didn’t lose, and it wasn’t just a normal game. Last September Jeff and Colleen went to Pittsburgh for their anniversary. They went to a reds – pirates game and witnessed Homer Bailey pitch a no-hitter for the reds. It was the first no hitter for the reds since 1988. This past Tuesday, at the game we went to, Homer Bailey pitched his second no-hitter in 10 months. It was one of the most amazing Cincinnati Reds games anyone could ever witness, and it fell on my dads special night at the park. It was a moment we will all talk about for the rest of our lives. We all couldn’t believe it and couldn’t contain our excitement. We were together as a family and it was just an amazing night. Jeff and Colleen were sitting right by the reds dugout at the end of the game and the tv camera showed them standing in their seats cheering on Homer. When the reds made the final out we kids went berserk and then quickly left our seats and ran down to meet my parents (where we went berserk again).
Thank you to everyone that has sent kind words, stories, and prayers. We have all felt Gods hand touching us and surrounding us with His blessings. If you are praying, please continue to pray for Jeff’s comfort, peace, and happiness. We can’t thank everyone enough for everything you have done. Thank You!