Sunday Morning Coffee — November 19, 2023 — Sunday Morning Scramble

November 18, 2023 Family, Observations, Travel 10 Comments

Zihuatanejo, Mexico. I owe you an apology. I was tough on you a couple of weeks ago in this space as the site of my son Scott’s and finance Cayla’s destination wedding. Never heard of you until I was forced, a few days earlier, to watch The Shawshank Redemption and see the role you played in a convict’s fantasy and an engaged couple’s dream wedding. I wasn’t particularly thrilled about coming to see you. You’re a pain in the ass to get to and return from, but damn, you turned out okay. After finally getting to Zihua, no easy trek, I now see why Cayla and Scott fell in love with you. Idyllic, not a word that I use often. In fact, probably not a word I’ve ever used before. Sunsets, scenery and landscapes that are magnificent. Scott and Cayla booked the entire Thompson Hotel, a 52 room Hyatt beachfront resort and had 103 guests follow to the Mexican Riviera. The views were more Hawaii than Mexico. Every room at the Thompson was less than a gap wedge from the white sand and Pacific Ocean. All of the weekend events were on the property, never needing to leave. The resort buyout produced a dynamic where there weren’t segregated guests from the bride’s side or the groom’s side as traditional; instead it was one big wedding party solidified by most everyone arriving three days early and a congenial, celebratory atmosphere. Everyone soon knew everyone else. Family, friends, colleagues, all as one. And if heat is your thing, Zihua last weekend didn’t disappoint. For a 5 pm ceremony, temps were 84 degrees, humidity 90% producing a heat index of 101. Suffocating. Dallol, Ethiopia, was more temperate.

Clockwise from top left: Proud parents; under the chuppah just steps away from the Pacific; the newlyweds; fireworks in the Zihua sky celebrate the marriage.

I can’t say for sure there wasn’t a dry eye, but what I can say for sure is there wasn’t a dry piece of clothing. Top to bottom. Inside to out. It was a schvitz fest. Wardrobe stuck to your skin. It was a cardio workout peeling them off. Andi’s gown was still wet when we got home two days later. I actually wrangled moisture out of my tie. By the time chairs were raised after the ceremony for the Hora, most everyone had gone back to their rooms, showered and changed into beach wear. Scott and Cayla commissioned a fireworks display on the beach to officially celebrate their union. Zihuatanejo, Mexico, — an adventure to find, but everyone left with feel-good smiles and memories even longer than its name. A marvelously planned event. Well done, kids!

So, wedding a success, now let’s scramble with our conchas and coffee this morning:

Guinness, the book, not the beer, just certified Madonna as the top selling female recording artist of all-time.

Since 1980 the Chicago Bears have started 49 different quarterbacks, most in the NFL. All 49, no matter how inept, were better than Tommy DeVito of the New York Giants.

Happy days to Marion Ross, Mrs. C, who just celebrated her 95th birthday while Henry Winkler turns 78. Also, Gracie Slick is 84 and Petula Clark, a teenage crush, is 91. President Biden celebrates 81 on Monday. But most special, my new daughter-in-law Cayla is 33 today.

You don’t have to be a New York Yankees lover, in fact just a baseball fan, to enjoy It Ain’t Over, the Yogi Berra story with Yogi playing Yogi on Netflix. While identified as a Yankee and a record ten World Series rings, Yogi also spent 11 years with the Mets. Watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

Former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce is the interim coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. He’s accomplished something in his first two games that Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Don Shula and other greats never did. Pierce has won his first two games becoming the only coach in NFL history to achieve that mark wearing diamond studded earrings in each ear. Of course playing the Giants and Jets didn’t hurt either. That little snippet of football trivia will end today when the Raiders play the Dolphins. His mark will be 2-2 by next Sunday night after tangling with earring-less Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Even at .500 he’ll still be the all-time NFL win leader with a duo of diamond studs.

As we approach Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday of the year next to Arbor Day, we can’t let a November Sunday Morning Coffee go by without referencing this coming Wednesday, November 22, the 60th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, the most traumatic event of this boomer’s childhood as I’m sure many others share. Maybe this year for the 60th, there will be a media footnote which has gotten lost over the decades. There is a great three-part series that just debuted on National Geographic television called JFK: One Day in America with some never-seen-before incredible footage and access to surviving witnesses.

Bobby Hull and his devastating slap shot torched the Rangers 57 years ago.

And speaking of Thanksgiving and November 22, today’s ticket stub of yesteryear is from November 22, 1967, the fourth anniversary of JFK’s murder. Dad used to take my brother Mike and me to a hockey game the night before Thanksgiving whenever the New York Rangers were home. Mom wanted us out of the house. On this night, in the waning days of the old Madison Square Garden on 50th Street and 8th Avenue, the Blackhawks were in town, and we didn’t stay very long. Chicago beat the Rangers 7-1. It was 6-1 after two periods and time to head back to Long Island. The game was noteworthy because Chicago’s sharpshooter Bobby Hull notched a hat trick, his 16, 17 and 18 goals of the season in his 18th game. Hull is credited with mastering the slap shot into an offensive weapon. He finished the season with 44 goals. We sat in the End Loge for $6. Back then there was no protective netting, only plexiglass, and if you were above the glass, as we were, you ducked when Hull shot. Based upon the results, so did Rangers goalie Ed Giacomin.

There will be a lot more coming on this one, but Newsweek reported that newly chosen House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA.) is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics for failing to list personal bank accounts or retirement assets on his financial disclosures. Johnson’s response? “I’m a man of modest means.”

This is the weekend locals couldn’t wait to see end. Formula 1, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, invaded the Strip after months and months of construction, road closures, inconvenience and distractions. It’s estimated 300,000 came to town. The made-for-European television event began here Saturday night at 10 pm/1 am Eastern. It is now over. Prices were sky high, attendees fleeced with escalated room rates and ticket prices that were Super Bowl proportion, speaking of which happens on the Strip in February. The drivers feel the way we do. Max Verstappen, the LeBron of the sport, said the weekend felt like “99% show and 1% sporting event.” No kidding. The good news is Monday morning is only hours away and our Southern Nevada lives can once again return to structured chaos.

In the spirit of visitor relations for the F1, the Nevada Taxicab Authority, which should have been locked up years ago for grand larceny, approved a $15 surcharge on every ride from the airport to a Strip hotel. Ride share prices were also on surge mode for three straight days.

Piling on: free no more. It now costs $3 a bag to check luggage curbside with American Airlines at LV’s Harry Reid International. Just another friendly gesture by the airlines to remind you how much they appreciate your business.

Texas A&M really has nothing better to do with $76 million than to pay a fired football coach? Come on, reality has to settle in at some point doesn’t it?

Bill Belichick deserves a much longer leash with the Patriots than many are willing to give him.

Tragically, Lewiston, Maine, a burgh of 37K residents in the central part of the state, hit the headlines on October 25 as the site of a mass shooting, killing 18. It brought back a memory of the first time Lewiston made my radar some 57 years ago in 1965. Sports trivia buffs from that era will remember. By default Lewiston became the site of the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston world heavyweight championship boxing rematch. In February 1964 Clay, an Olympic gold medalist and loudmouth, stunned the gruff Liston winning the title in Miami Beach against long odds. As much of a thug as Liston was, the white world was not ready for Clay and his braggadocio. Most only hoped Liston would shut him up once and for all in the rematch. However, following the first fight, things went sideways for both. Clay publicly announced he had joined the Black Muslims and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He became a hard sell for the public to accept, never mind buy tickets to watch. Liston, not the kind of bloke you’d bring home to mama, was arrested multiple times for many offenses including speeding, reckless driving, driving without a license and carrying a concealed .22 caliber revolver in his coat pocket. Rumor, no doubt fact, was he was controlled by organized crime. A rematch was part of the original contract, but no jurisdiction would take a risk and host it. Ultimately Massachusetts stepped up and the fight was slated for Boston. Liston was a 3-1 favorite but days before the November 16, 1964, rematch, Clay/Ali had emergency surgery for a hernia. The bout was rescheduled six month later, also in Boston, but as the date approached Liston was arrested again. Then word circulated the fight promoters were also tied to organized crime. Massachusetts state officials sued its boxing commission to stop the fight and were successful just days before the May 7 event. There was a scramble to find a site and Maine Governor John H. Reed stepped forward offering the Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston. Not a good decision. Pre-fight, Ali and Liston’s behavior and comments were deplorable. The state of Maine took tremendous heat as the jurisdiction sanctioning the fight. When finally the bell rang, less than two minutes into the first round Liston was felled by a phantom blow. Referee Jersey Joe Walcott was confused, lost control, but finally signaled the end of the debacle. Media reported the knockout at under a minute but it really was closer to two. Among cries of ‘fix’ Ali said afterward he wasn’t even sure his blow connected. Liston was accused of tanking for the mob. The bout sold 2,434 tickets, the lowest ever for a championship fight. Another 2,500 or so were let into the building. More people attended a youth hockey game months earlier in the same facility. I remember being sequestered in my bedroom, Dad was no Ali lover, listening to Les Keiter and Howard Cosell on ABC radio. And despite all the horrible publicity Lewiston and Maine took for hosting that event, it was still far better than the publicity it received last month for another senseless American tragedy.

Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping peace and sanity can give us a moment or two of solace in these trying times. Be safe, everyone.







  • Ken Rich says:

    Wow! What a post and what details regarding the Clay Liston flight. The wedding was indeed memorable and exhausting. Stay well.

  • Bob mesecher says:

    Great as usual….looks like the wedding was one for the ages.. your daughter Andi looked awesome ,…but you cleaned up pretty well. As always great stories that bring back so many memories. Great movie “No hard feelings”

  • Mary Gardner says:

    Roy what can I say- another adventurous story on the tale if your sons wedding. Amazing!!! Everyone liked gorgeous. Your wife is stunning. Congratulations to all. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  • Barry Otelsberg says:

    Just wanted to say congratulations on the wedding of Scott and Cayla. May you have many grandchildren. They will supply you with more material for your next book than you know what to do with. We have actually been to Zihuatanejo. Had to buy a tee shirt so I would remember how to spell it.
    Happy Thanksgiving. In this crazy world let’s not lose site of the fact that there is still lots to be thankful for.

  • David Moses says:

    Great to hear about the wedding. Wishing the best to the newlyweds. you and Andi. Glad you avoided the race in LV even though I was hoping you would be a guest driver. Happy holidays.

  • Eric Wilson says:

    Great Post, as usual. Best to you and Andi

  • Lori O says:

    Congratulations on the beautiful wedding. Wishing you a happy thanksgiving! And thanks for your wonderful stories! Sending love and peace to all!!

  • Roy Abrams says:

    According to Andy Dufrense, the Pacific Ocean has no memory. I hope Andi and you don’t forget last weekend.

    Mazel Tov.

  • George Howard says:

    Roy, you must have missed the Giants game Sunday! Tommy D had a 138 QB rating in Big Blue’s Big Win!

    The people didn’t know
    When they put out their money
    That there would be a total
    Eclipse of the Sonny!

    My favorite poetry~

  • Allyson Howard says:

    Great stuff, Roy. I so enjoy your writing. Big congratulations to Scott and Cayla. Wishing a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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