I am not going to write much today. I went to a South Carolina versus Georgia college game last night in Athens, the game went by fast, under two hours. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I found out before Mary Louko passed away, I thought about her for most of the game. My brother Chad called me and I told him, he was bummed, he said, “I always liked her”. I saw a post by my sister Bridget on Facebook stating how saddened she was by Mary’s passing. I texted my sister Debbie, she talked to Mary a few days before, Mary said, while smiling, “I could live years or die tomorrow”. Mary was my Confirmation Sponsor, she had a great personality and I don’t ever recall her not smiling or laughing. I wasn’t super close with Mary, but she had a large impact on my life. I remember nights when I would be walking home, I would see her out in her yard pulling night crawlers she used to sell. She always took time to talk to me, she also intrigued me by how fast she was at grabbing those things.
When I decided to get confirmed, I asked Mary to sponsor me. I was worried she would say no, but her answer was, “I would be honored”. I was surprised by this answer, she obviously didn’t understand what it entailed. I wasn’t experienced in the ways of the church, to be honest, I was doing it because a lot of my friends were. During the confirmation process she patiently explained things to me, I confided I didn’t like going to church, she never judged me and shared her experiences, she wrote some very nice things about me, things I didn’t realize about myself. I was impressed she took the time, it has stuck with me. Every time I would see her I would remind her that she was my Confirmation Sponsor, Mary never forgot. She helped me feel a part of the Ashland community.
Since this is a baseball blog, I need to add one quick baseball story about Mary. When I was in Senior League, her son “Tommer” was on my team the Tigers. I was in my last year and he was in his first. Tom was a good pitcher and in his first start as a Tiger he faced Rodney Stibbe. Rodney was a very good athlete from Ashland, in baseball and football. Well, Tom struck out Rodney the first time he faced him. Mary was so excited, I heard her say as we were running off the field, “He struck out Rodney Stibbe, that’s like striking out Hank Aaron.” Tom seemed embarrassed, but I loved it, the memory has stuck with me.
I send my condolences to the Louko Family. Mary touched me in her small way, but it had a large impact.