Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rare Events

An interesting, or maybe unusual, chapter in the history of Duluth was the presence of Harry Rimmer here as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the Central Hillside. Rimmer had been a nationally known evangelist, Fundamentalist and Creationist whose reputation was nearly as large as Billy Sunday's, the Billy Graham equivalent of his time. I bring him up only to comment on an incident that occurred here in Duluth in the late 1920's when he was conducting a week of meetings at the church he would later return to preside over from 1934-39.

If I had access to the archives of the Duluth News Tribune I would perhaps be able to find the exact date of this event, because the DNT gave Rimmer's meetings front page headlines while he was in town. The net result was a packed out sanctuary five nights in a row, more than a thousand cramming the balcony, aisles and doorways.

At the end of the first night Rimmer promised that everyone who came back the following evening would see something they had never seen before, and would never see again.

Whereas the proclamation was true, I'm sure that anyone who has ever clicked on a misleading banner ad (what we've come to term clickbait) will recognize the ploy for what it was. At some point the following night Dr. Rimmer (the credentials were similarly misleading) pulled an unshelled peanut from his pocket, held it up, cracked it open and declared, "This peanut which you now see has never been seen before." After popping it into his mouth and swallowing it, Rimmer proclaimed, "And you will never see it again."

This story came to mind as I contemplated our 2016 World Series. Why? Because whichever team wins will set off an explosion of pent up emotions like you can't even imagine.

The Chicago Cubs will take a monkey off their backs that has tormented them for 108 years. The Indians will be liberated from a curse that has afflicted Cleveland's Tribe and fans since 1948.

If the Cubs achieve their dream this time around, it will be a victory with consequences so rare that it may never happen again in our lifetimes. The very worst case scenario for Indians fans would be a failure and continued series of failures through 2056 just to tie this rare feat. I myself will be 104 years old that year, and I'll only wait if I have to.

Ticket prices this weekend still hover near $2000 for Games 3, 4 and 5 in Chicago. That's just for the cheap seats. Some bars near Wrigley are charging $250 just to get in the door. Why would anyone pay these kinds of outrageous prices? Well, there's nothing like celebrating a big moment with friends. And when you're a fan, everyone who cheers for your team is a friend.

One difference between Harry Rimmer's peanut trick and the World Series should be obvious. I can repeat his shenanigan every time I eat a bag of pistachios. You definitely will not see the Cubs win the World Series every day, though they have a lot of talent and they are young, so who knows, we may be watching the beginning of a dynasty.

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Other rare events of note:

 ~ Neil Armstrong's "One small step..." on the moon.

~ Last night Cleveland Indians pitchers achieved their 5th post-season shutout.. a first in MLB history. (Go Tribe!)

~ Bob Dylan wins and accepts Nobel Prize for Literature. Why had he not responded to the Nobel committee? "The news... left me speechless."

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Meantime, life goes on all around you. Take it, dream it, live it.

1 comment:

LEWagner said...

I wonder if Reg and Paula Hoad were at the Rimmer meetings.
I doubt it. My dad told me one time that Grandpa Hoad had a saying regarding religious tricksters, "If I was God, I'd give him a kick in the a**." LOL