In my column last week, I talked about the frustrations of going to a Giants game. I also mentioned my irritation with three members of the Giants ballpark staff who gave my wife Sandy and me the wrong information, causing two senior citizens in their mid-70s to walk up, then down, three flights of stairs needlessly.

And then I talked about my frustration of not being able to find my car in a place Giants staff directed me to as overflow parking in what I would describe as a large alley by Pier 48.

Today I want to mention several angels who helped us out of the devil of a time we had.

At the end of the game (a win for my Chicago team), after I high-fived as many as the Cubs fans I could, I realized that, to get out of the ballpark, Sandy and I would have to walk up a lot of stairs, from the field to the exit.

I asked an older gentleman on the ballpark staff if there was any elevator. He said no, then looked at Sandy. He seemed to understand she couldn’t climb one step, let alone the 30 steps to the exit. He then said, “Let me check,” and in a few moments led us along flat terrain to an ADA elevator, just big enough for one wheelchair or two people.

We rode up that little elevator to the next floor, where we were directed to another ADA elevator and lifted to street level. The senior citizen staff “angel” who took pity on us helped take the sting of the earlier staff errors and irritations.

Our second angel was the cab driver who, at my direction, rode around in what seemed to him forever in circles until we found our car.

The third angel was the pier attendant who took ten minutes out of her time to help us figure out the location of the “alley” my car was parked in. With her help I came to realize, in the dark,  that the alley was a short dead-end street in between two “sheds” of the same pier. Our car had been otherwise invisible in that dark and lonely alley.

Finally, I should say something about the game and our post-game meal at the restaurant across the street. I enjoyed the game (or, to be exact, the last six innings after we found our seat). Not only did my team win but the Cubs pitcher, Kyle Hendriks, the last Cub left from the 2016 World Series Champions, almost pitched a no-hitter.

The fans around us–in our seats and at the restaurant–were friendly and convivial, including, besides Cubs fans, Giants fans, good sports that they were. In my extended conversations with Cubs fans, I met many people originally from Chicago.

Three fans, in particular, from three different towns in the Chicago area, were a pleasure to talk with. One was a person from the city I grew up in as a child, another from the small town I lived in as an adolescent and a third from the town where I went to high school.

If this was my last Giants game (and I think it was), I will have—besides the intense irritations, frustrations and near hallucinations—many positive memories.

On another note, I always appreciate emails or letters I get from my readers. Today I’d like to share  a few.

This letter is in response to a story I wrote about Miguel Castro:

Dear John,

I first met Miguel in 1975 when I started working at KLBS radio.  We became friends and would talk about being Portuguese.  On Sundays he would bring in hot, freshly made filozes (Portuguese donuts) just like my grandmother used to make. I always admired him and his friendly work ethic.

I had the privilege of coaching his son Luis years later at Los Banos High School, another good person.

Jim Lemas

Los Banos

Here is a response to my three-column series about becoming a solar homeowner:

Hey John!

That was a good and informative read! I think anyone who has or is considering getting solar had a lot of their questions answered or addressed in this. Love it!

Seoul Holloway

Chula Vista, CA

This reader’s letter is in response to the graduation speech I delivered at the Los Banos Campus of Merced College and shared with readers in my column:

Hello, John.

It was a pleasure to read your speech, which brought back SO many memories to me. When we moved to Los Banos in 1972, and I found there was a college in town, I was determined to attend.

I remember the campus on I Street and taking classes there in speech, geography with Bob Edminster, English with you and creative writing and art with you and Anita Buffuna. I continued and graduated from Merced College.

And then, a few years later after other degrees, I remember the classes in English and speech I taught at the Mercey Springs campus. Those memories are among my most treasured, and I often revisit them.


Diane Willems

Vancouver, WA

Finally, here is a letter in response to the column I wrote on the need in this country for better health care.

Hi, John
I finished reading your recent article “Better Health Care,” and I’m sorry to say the need for better medical care is everywhere. I thought when I moved to Roseburg, Oregon, I would receive great medical care. I was surprised to find out there was a long wait to see a doctor.

When I had to go into a hospital, I had great care when I could see a doctor, and the nurses were great. But I realized the medical staff are overwhelmed and overworked. The problem is a shortage of doctors, nurses and medical staff. I don’t know the solution to this problem.

Dorothy Jones

Roseburg, OR
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