A Fourth Alternate Reality
With editorial assistance from Dix and John
OK, since you're reading this on the web, it's a good bet that you're some level of Internet junkie, and I hope you're intrigued by the title of this episode. (I assume that you know what the ARPANET is, but if you don't you will before you finish the episode). You are probably going to get pissed off by the fact that you are going to have to read about football, yes football, before you read about net communications. The two stories, football and the Internet, ran over much of the same period of time. Since it doesn't make sense to tell you about one Saturday football game, and then everything during the week that related to the ARPANET, I'll have to start with one story or the other. Football won the toss! Actually there are some story related reasons that football went first. In any case, here goes:
Jumper was eager for the 1981 football season to begin. The flood had screwed up his spring practice schedule, but by August things were sufficiently back to normal that practice could begin, and it did. Tim and I dropped by the field on the first day of practice and watched Jumper lead the team in laps around the track. His energy level was as high or higher than Tim's. No wonder they got along so well: two peas in a pod. He spotted Tim and me on the sideline and came over to see if we needed something, asking Nate to lead the team in two more laps.
"What can I do for you fellows?" Jumper asked as he approached us.
"Nothing. We just came to watch a while," said Tim. "It's good to see things getting back to normal on campus."
"You're always welcome."
"No pads today?" I asked.
"Never the first week. It's hot, everybody's out of shape. We have a lot of stuff to go over before we need pads. And the new kids have a lot of plays to learn and team procedures to get used to."
"Nate going to be your quarterback this year?"
"Of course. He's my secret weapon. He's really good, smart, and tough. Remember his performance the first game after Al's injury?"
"I think we all do."
"Every game. Every game. You just watch."
"If he can do that you'll win 'em all."
"You expect a undefeated season?"
"That would put you in the Division II championship."
"If we're undefeated it means we'll have won the Division II championship."
Tim turned to me, "Cocky little son of a bitch, isn't he?" Tim's smile told the story.
Jumper wasn't fazed. "Nobody's ever wins that level of championship unless he, and his whole team, is a cocky little son of a bitch-or are cocky little sons of bitches."
"Listen to him!" I said.
Tim said, "You ended last season with two wins. You have a ten game season, and there'll be three postseason games if you keep on winning. That would make a fifteen game winning streak to take into next year. Sounds great."
"I like it when you put it that way. I think I'm going to put a small patch on every jersey with a 15 on it. Let people wonder what it means; nobody will figure it out. If we win our first five games I'll tell the team what it means, but only if they promise to keep it a secret."
"Nothing like a little pressure," I said.
Tim said, "Not pressure. They need to know how much Jumper believes in them. That isn't pressure, it's inspiration. I love it."
When the team took to the field for their first game, there were the little circle patches on everybody's left sleeve, right at the shoulder. A pink "15" on a white background within a green circle. Only five people knew what the "15" stood for: Tim, me, Jumper and Nate and Pat. Jumper had decided that he should tell Nate; he was pretty sure that it was just the inspiration that he needed to duplicate his best efforts of the previous year. He couldn't ask Nate to keep it secret from Pat.
The first game was a cakewalk. Nate was a man driven. The score was 43 to 13, and Nate was upset that his last drive had ended with a field goal instead of a touchdown. But they'd been stymied on the 24 yard line and Nate had decided on the field goal. Jumper took the entire game in stride, and simply told the team that they were living up to his expectations. He exuded such confidence that it was hard for it not to rub off on everyone.
Jumper and Nate had an unusual relationship. It'd developed from the four years that Nate played for Jumper in high school, and had continued and intensified. They had lunch together at least three days a week, just the two of them except that sometimes one of Jumper's assistant coaches joined them, and every now and then Pat did. The talk was all football strategy. Jumper treated Nate as an equal partner in the game, and listened to Nate as much as he talked to Nate. Beyond those lunches, which were always private and not discussed with anyone, Jumper never gave Nate instructions about how to quarterback a game. While he did break that rule from time to time during practice, he never did during a game. Nate ran the offense, period-except when Johnny Cross, the back-up quarterback played, which he did for at least ten to fifteen minutes of every game. But it was Nate that decided when Johnny would come in. When Johnny was in, he called the plays; no sideline signals, no messages sent in with substitutes; no timeouts to communicate with the quarterback.
Johnny usually got his playing time early in the game. They were charging through a winning season, and they often were dominating the game by the end of the first half. Putting Johnny in when they were ahead wouldn't give him real experience. So he was put in early. And if a drive didn't lead to a score he wasn't pulled. When he went in, Johnny knew he had at least ten minutes to lead the team, usually most of a quarter. Sometimes more. He wasn't the quarterback that Nate was, but he was pretty good, and he had a good season. He had enough scores to sustain his ego, and in three games that season he scored the "go-ahead" touchdown or field goal.
At the end of the fifth game of the season, a home game against South Dakota, Jumper gathered the team in the locker room, and ordered everyone else out-only the players remained. "OK, guys, it's time to talk about the fifteens."
"It is about time. What the Hell are they all about?" It could've come from any of the players.
"You guys won today, didn't you?"
"Sure did, coach. 21 to 7. It wasn't as good a score as we would've liked."
"Your score was less than 77 to nothing, so it was, by definition, less than I would've liked," replied Jumper.
"77 to nothing; you all know that." That was Jumper's ideal score. Whenever he was asked what kind of score he hoped to achieve, it was always, "77 to nothing." If you pressed him he would say, "Well, you never want to be scored against, so there's the nothing. As for the 77, it's a nice round number. I guess if you actually scored 11 touchdowns against an opponent you'd be accused of unfairly running up the score. But I still like the sound of 77 to nothing. Maybe someday we'll actually get there. Probably not."
"We'll get there someday, Coach." That was Pat.
"You're going to have to beef up the defense, Pat. We haven't had a shut out yet this season."
"Give us time."
"Just keep winning. I'm happy. By the way, I'd be happy if you were losing, if I was convinced you were doing your best. But I know your best is better than any team in Division II, so I expect you to keep winning. You will."
"Any team in Division II? What're you suggesting?"
Someone else said, "A national championship?"
Jumper said, "Let's do the math. You have a ten game season. Win all ten games and you're guaranteed postseason play. Keep winning and you have three postseason wins."
"My God!" It came from Johnny Cross. "We won the last two games last season. 2 then, 10 regular season, 3 post season. Fifteen! That's what the damn pink patch is for."
Nate said, "Yep, it's for the fifteen game winning streak we're going to have at the end of this season. And Jumper had the confidence in us to put it on our uniforms on day one."
"My God," someone else said.
"You really believe that, Coach?"
"I sure as Hell do. And I want you to believe it as well. But for now it's our secret. No one outside this room, except Tim and Charlie, knows, and no one should learn before the end of the regular season. Those patches are your secret weapons for the postseason. If we're conference champions and undefeated at the end of the regular season, people are going to be looking at us, and we'll be asked about the 15s on our jerseys. We're going to be called 'cocky sons of bitches' as we head into postseason, and that's exactly the image I want you to have. And this team of cocky sons of bitches is going to be the Division II champion, with a winning streak just getting started at 15."
"My God," said several of the players, more or less in unison.
Jumper reached down into his pocket and pulled out another round patch. The colors were reversed: a pink circle surrounded a green 28. Jumper held up the patch and said, "These are for next year's uniforms."
Nate said, "I'll bet you already have 41s made."
Jumper just smiled and said, "Could be. You guys are good enough."
Everyone sat quietly for a while, until Nate got up and shouted, "Next week we're off to Montana. We're going to give 'em Hell."
They did, and their streak was now eight. Then nine, ten, eleven.
The last game of the regular season was at NDSU in Fargo. We were disappointed that it wasn't a home game, but Fargo was close enough that everybody that could get a ticket could get to the game. About 2,000 students, faculty, staff, and townspeople went, most in a fleet of chartered busses, that we had to round up from much of the two-state area. We didn't get a lot of publicity outside of the Northern Tier; after all a Division II team hoping to be undefeated wasn't that big a deal. It was going to take a longer streak than twelve to make national news. On the other hand, it sure was big news in North Dakota! The team was having its best year ever, and Jumper was a big hero. Nate was Big Man On Campus, and so was every member of the team. It was hard for them not to actually be 'cocky sons-of-bitches' but Jumper did his best to prevent that. He was a very calming influence. Of particular importance was the clear understanding that if they lost the game they'd still be heros in his eyes. "Play your best. I'm pretty sure that your best is going to win, but if not, just be able to say that you played your best." Jumper was going to be Tim's hero, win or lose. I did have to remind Tim that he didn't have much experience with losing, and it wasn't as positive an experience as he seemed to think it was!
"Stick it, Charlie."
We were down at the half, but Jumper stayed cool as a cucumber. Nate said his half-time pep talk was his usual calm, "Do your best. I saw you do your best in the first half, and I know it'll continue. If State plays as well in the second half as they did in the first, we'll be owing them congratulations."
Nate spoke up, "Coach, I don't think we played our best in the first half. Our best is better than theirs and they're ahead. So we didn't play our best."
Jumper simply said, "Then play your best in the second half."
There have been a lot of famous half-time speeches, starting with, "Win one for the Gipper." Jumper's has to have been the most low key ever. But the men knew what was at stake; they knew what they had to do; and they were more determined to win one for Jumper than for themselves.
It was hard fought, but no contest. They took the lead in the third quarter on a short pass by Nate. They traded one touchdown each after that, but it was enough. The Fighting Sioux would go into postseason play with a winning streak of twelve. The national media would soon take notice.
The first playoff game was with Pittsburg State in Kansas, played at home in Grand Forks. The team was determined to push its winning streak to 13 and the campus was in enthusiastic agreement. It seemed that the entire state of North Dakota was in agreement, except for a few diehards at NDSU who hadn't gotten over the idea that they should've won the previous week's game and thus now be hosting the game with Pittsburg State.
At the Monday practice before the game Jumper had simply said, "You're better than Pittsburg. You'll beat them. But only if you take them very seriously. Any time you don't take another team seriously, no matter what the team or how good or bad they are, you're at serious risk of losing. Most of the time when a better team loses a game in an upset it's because they didn't take their opponents seriously."
In practice that week Jumper didn't give anybody a chance not to take Pittsburg seriously-they worked like dogs. And on Saturday they played like wild dogs. Jumper didn't get his 77-0 shutout, but he got a good score of 36-14 and was very happy. As was the entire campus.
Tim had realized that this would be the last home game of the season. If they won, the next game would be played out west against the winner of a western playoff game, and the championship would be in McAllen, Texas. So this game, if won, would be the home team victory celebration. He told Jumper, "If you guys win, keep the team on the field. Give Pittsburg warm handshakes and hugs, and send them off the field. Then leave it to me."
Tim and I were seated in the front row at the 50-yard line. The minute Pittsburg had cleared the field, Tim was on his feet, me at his side, running to the center of the field, wildly signaling all of the fans to join him. Before the team knew what was happening they were all on the shoulders of the crowd, amidst wild cheering. Tim and a group of about twenty students were carrying Jumper, and I, helped by a similar group, was carrying Nate. Tim knew he was taking a risk leading the fans onto the field. The potential of losing control of the crowd, of someone doing damage (think of tearing down the goal posts), of someone being hurt was always there. But Tim had confidence in his students, especially when they were following his lead. He confidently led the crowd, and they justified the confidence he'd showed in them.
A student editorial in the campus newspaper following the game noted the risk that Tim had taken. It went on to thank him for his confidence in UND students and fans, and assured him, as much as any individual student could, that his confidence in his students was justified and would continue to be. Tim clipped the editorial and still has it.
Back in the crowd following the game, Tim led the way out of the stadium to the central quad-a pretty good hike. There Jumper, Nate, and the entire team were set down in the middle of a huge circle made up of a dozen rows of fans, probably amounting to 1,500 people. No one could hear anyone over the din of the cheers, but the message was pretty plain: these guys were the campus heroes. The team stood there in their dirty, sweaty uniforms and just grinned and smiled. Before long Tim came out of the front row of the circle and said to Jumper, "Flying wedge time." Tim took the point and the team lined up in a V behind him, Jumper in the middle behind Tim. The crowd parted and they headed to our old house. Nate led the team upstairs and showed them the grandest shower they had ever seen. They took turns in the shower-about six at a time-Nate assures me that they were raunchier than usual, but not half as much as he and Pat might've liked! When they came out of the shower they found piles of towels, then underwear, then UND sweat suits and socks.
When they came downstairs they found a great dinner spread in the dining room, and chairs spread around the house. Two steamship rounds of beef, along with a lot of side dishes, had been prepared by Jerry's, and were enough to fill everyone.
Nate and Pat had been in on the plan and had let girlfriends (and in a couple of cases, wives) and parents know where the team would be headed when they left the quad. After the team had been through the food line, we invited families to eat. It was very crowded and soon people began to leave. Team members had to get their football cleats to head outside; we told them that the athletic department would take care of their uniforms. Outside the house they found a still-assembled crowd ready to cheer anew as each team member headed back to the locker room to pick up his clothes. It was a party remembered on campus for years!
The group finally dwindled down to just Jumper, Nate and Pat and the rest of the Circle, Jumper's two assistant coaches and their wives, and a few members of the Gang. I asked, "How are we going to top that if these guys become national champions?"
Jumper said, "That's a problem for you guys. My job is to insure that you have the problem!"
Tim said, "Go for it, Jumper!"
He did, and the team did.
Tim and I aren't Pep Rally type people, but the next game (hopefully the next two) demanded a Pep Rally, and a big enthusiastic one at that. The next game, number 14 in Jumper's anticipated string, would be against the University of California at Davis, played in California. The team would depart on Thursday morning, allowing a day of rest in California before playing on Saturday. The Pep Rally would be Wednesday night; the team would get a giant send off. It snowed all day Wednesday, eight inches on top of four already on the ground. Well, what could be expected in North Dakota on the first Wednesday in December?
The rally took place in the central quad. It wasn't appropriate to build a bonfire there, so Tim had six huge spotlights brought in-the kind they put in front of used car lots for special sales or in front of movie theaters for premieres. The six circled a huge stage in the middle of the quad, rotating slowly in small circles that pointed straight up. They could be seen throughout the campus, all of Grand Forks, and East Grand Forks. The band marched through campus, going near all of the dorms, and led a huge parade to the quad. Jumper was there in shorts and a tee shirt, in 12 degree weather, jumping for all he was worth with every cheer. The cheerleaders led with enthusiasm. The speeches were mercifully short. The band played the (forgettable) Fighting Sioux fight song. Tim was nowhere in sight.
The lead cheerleaders, one male and one female, along with Toppy the Drum Major, came to three points around the circular stage and called for everyone's attention. Using microphones, they announced, letting the narration pass to the next of the three for each phrase, "And now...the University of North Dakota...and its Fighting Sioux...football team...winners of...13 straight games...soon to be fourteen...and fifteen...proudly invite....all gathered here...to join in our...final cheer...led by the...fabulous...one and only...Olympic hero...and university president...our very own...TIM!"
An aisle had been kept open in the crowd so that people could get to and from the stage. Now down that aisle bounced Tim, dressed only in his Speedo and very slight gym shoes. Up onto the stage he went, with three snowballs in his hand, each thrown into a different section of the audience. "Give me and S."
"Give me an I."
"Give me an O."
"Give me a U."
"Give me an X
"A Fighting Sioux!!!!!!!"
Tim's antics were wilder than the cheers. He bounced around the stage like he was doing a combination of cheer leading and floor exercises. He ended by grabbing Jumper, kissing him on both cheeks, and saying, as he pointed to me, "Win one for Charlie!"
The crowd cheered, as Tim jumped off the stage and hugged every member of the team, who were lined up around the front of the stage. When he'd made it around the circle he jumped back up on the stage and signaled for quiet.
"This is the most important thing of the evening. I want this team to know, I want Jumper and his coaches to know, and I want everybody here to know that these young men are our heroes, wonderful men, good sportsmen, and football greats. And that's just as true if they lose one of the next two games as if they win." He looked to the crowd. "I want the same size crowd, massive, to greet this team when it gets back to campus Sunday afternoon, regardless of whether they win or lose, and regardless of the score."
I'm not at all certain that everyone shared Tim's sentiments, but they all cheered anyway. With that Tim jumped off the stage onto the shoulders of one of the bulky linemen (it was prearranged) and the two of them led the team out of the quad. I still marvel at Tim's ability to put on a show. No wonder Sutvan's Circus had loved him.
The game, an easy victory against UC Davis, and the next week's Pep Rally were almost anticlimactic. The problem with the championship game in McAllen, Texas, against Grand Valley State (Grand Rapids, Michigan), was that so few of our students could attend, and it wasn't televised. We arranged for a direct feed to the campus radio station, and a three-person student team went to McAllen to broadcast the game. I think, I hope, every radio on campus was tuned to the game as Jumper and his team gave us our fifteenth straight victory, a Division II national championship, and a dream for the future. When they got off the plane in Fargo, rode the bus to campus, and were greeted by nearly half the campus, they were wearing UND sweat shirts with big green numbers, 28, on the front in a pink circle. Nobody missed the challenge Jumper was tossing out, both to his team, and to next year's opponents. He knew his streak could only last as long as the Fight Sioux remained Division II national champions.
Lucky for the campus, Christmas break soon followed the return of the team to campus, and that gave everyone a chance to settle down from the high of football fever and return to the educational mission of the university. Tim and I were glad for the break. So was the entire campus.
Tim and I decided that we wanted to get away for Christmas, alone. We had missed any vacation in the summer, and we were ready to "get away from it all." But where to go? I got the idea to go to Washington and visit old friends there, especially Sherm and Thelma. We called them up and asked about their plans for Christmas. They would be home alone, and seemed absolutely delighted with the idea that we might join them. We were invited to stay at their home, but we declined. We decided that we'd rather stay in a hotel where we could have the solitude we needed to relax. We considered the Hilton where I'd stayed when I came for my interview with Sherm. I had pleasant memories of a night spent there with Chrissy, but it meant nothing to Tim. We choose the Dupont Plaza Hotel on Dupont Circle, in the heart of what was becoming Washington's "gay district." We weren't planning to try to make friends in the area, but it seemed like it might be fun to be there.
Christmas Eve we ate at Halversham's. We'd called a week ahead from Grand Forks for a reservation. Lloyd Halversham had assured us that there would always be room for his favorite "boys" and that we should always feel free to come, even without a reservation. "You know, if there really weren't room, we always have space in the kitchen." It never came to that. We asked if he could please put us in a corner where we might be alone. "Sure," he replied, and he complied.
But we were recognized as we sat at the bar drinking Cokes before the meal. It was one of Sherm's colleagues on the First Circuit, eating alone with his wife. We sat together at the bar, but as gently as possible declined their invitation to dine with them. "We're really trying to have some private time together this vacation," we told them. I hope that we didn't hurt their feelings.
Christmas dinner the next day at Sherm and Thelma's was delightful. We enjoyed reliving good times from the past, and catching up on what had happened to each of us since we'd left Washington. Sherm was getting ready to retire. He and Thelma had thought a lot about where they'd like to live in retirement, and had finally decided that they'd stay right where they were in Washington. "Our best years were here," said Sherm.
"And all of our friends," said Thelma. "And it's hard to imagine a more exciting city. We can't bring ourselves to leave, not even for sunnier climes and milder winters."
Tim said, "You have mild winters. Come to Grand Forks and we'll show you."
I said, "We'd love to entertain you in Grand Forks. If retirement brings you some free time, do come and visit. We have lots of room in Dakota House. The Law School would love to have you share some of your wisdom and experiences in some setting." Nothing was settled, but we did hope that Sherm and Thelma would accept our invitation.
Alice Longworth had been dead for two years, but we contacted Warren and took him to dinner at Halversham's. We so enjoyed Halversham's that we never really explored other nice places to eat in Washington; we understand that there are many. He was delighted to see Lloyd, whom he hadn't seen since before Alice's death. We insisted that Lloyd sit down at our table with us and get caught up with Warren. We were fascinated to listen to the two of them.
That evening as we drifted off to sleep, spooned together in a double bed in the Dupont Plaza Hotel, I said to Tim, "Who else do you want to see in Washington?"
"I suppose we could visit judges, politicians, and a few others. We haven't really kept up with any of them; our lives have moved too fast in other directions. But I'd like to try to find Ricky Steele. We haven't been in touch since we left Washington, so I don't even know whether he still lives here. I kind of doubt it; he wanted to be a college administrator, a dean of students or something like that, and it probably would've meant he had to look outside of Washington."
"His parents live here, don't they? Doesn't his father work for the federal government?"
"The National Park Service, if he hasn't retired. I haven't a clue about his age."
"Let's check the phone book." I found a white pages in the bureau and looked. No Ricky Steele. "What was his father's name?"
"I can't remember."
"Well, the phone book isn't going to help-too many Steeles."
"We'll check further tomorrow. I'm tired, lets head to bed." Tired or not, we managed to take care of our hormonal needs before we drifted off to sleep.
The next morning Tim called the National Park Service and was easily put through to Ricky's father, Richard-I might've guessed the evening before. We learned that Ricky had gone on to Teacher's College in New York for a Ph.D. in college administration, and was now the Dean of Students at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was engaged. Mr. Steele was surprised that Tim and Ricky hadn't kept in touch. "He talked about you a lot, Tim."
"Well, people go their separate ways; I headed off to Michigan and he went to New York. I'm going to get in touch with him when I get back to Grand Forks."
"I'll tell him to look for your call."
"Thanks, Mr. Steele."
Chief Justice Clark had died four years before. We called on his widow, Sally, briefly, one afternoon. She appreciated our visit. "You boys are so thoughtful to come visit an old widow. We so easily get forgotten in Washington. With Alice gone I'm pretty much ignored. Thanks for coming."
She hesitated after saying that and continued, "I'm being unfair. I have good friends, and I enjoy my life. But the limelight is gone, and I'll have to admit I miss it from time to time."
I replied, "I think that that happens to all of us. Tim's and my turn will come."
Sally continued, "That's when all the kindnesses you have done over the years come back to you. Things like visiting the old widow of your former boss." She kissed us both, and sent us off feeling really proud of ourselves for taking the time to visit her.
We'd been in Washington about three days when we were recognized in the lobby of the hotel. A young man, a total stranger, came up to Tim and me and said, "Don't I know you? You have to be Tim and Charlie. Cruising Dupont Circle!"
He said it loud enough that a small crowd quickly gathered. We were asked all kinds of questions, mostly about what we were doing in the Duport Circle area. We were invited for drinks by several different young men, and after a quick whispered conversation, we decided that we ought to accept. We were ushered from one bar to the next in the neighborhood, introduced at each, and had a good time being the center of attention. We got tired of having to refuse alcoholic drinks in favor of Coke, but people finally got used to that. We hadn't been capable of much meaningful conversation as we moved with a slowly growing crowd, but a lot of people seemed to be excited to be able to say that they'd spent the afternoon with Tim and Charlie. We realized that we remained one of the most famous "out" gay couples in America!
But, our main goal of the trip was to have some time alone together. We found that in three locales: our hotel room where we had exciting nights, walking around Washington, even in the winter cold, and slowly working our way through the Smithsonian Mall museums. When we made our way to the National Portrait Gallery in the old Patent Office we thought of Sid, and how he'd found his love of painting in these museums. That evening we called him up on the phone. Tim asked him, "When was the last time you were in the old Patent Office?"
"Just before you put me on the plane for North Dakota. I haven't been back."
"Well, get Franklin and Phil to play baby sitter and you and Cathy get yourselves on the next plane to Washington. Tim and I just spent the day at the Smithsonian and realized that we needed a good guide."
Just as soon at Tim hung up I called Franklin and told him what was up. He responded, "We'd love to babysit for Augie. We'll get them onto the next plane."
By 3:30 the next afternoon we were meeting Sid and Cathy at National Airport. We'd decided to change our hotel to the Hilton, because we were getting too much recognition at the Dupont Plaza. So the four of us checked into a suite at the Hilton-a living room which had two daybeds that could be made up for sleeping, and a bedroom with a king size bed which is where Tim and I expected to spend nights, accompanied by Sid and Cathy.
By the time we got settled it was too late to visit the museums. We walked over to the Persian restaurant that Chrissy had first taken me to on my first visit to Washington, and then came back to the hotel. Nothing had been said about sleeping arrangements, but I was pretty sure that Sid and Cathy had figured out our intentions. We could, after all, have gotten a three room suite.
When we got up to the room Sid sat in one of the comfortable chairs in the living room. We all took chairs and waited for Sid to speak. It seemed pretty clear that that was his intention. "Tim, I told Cathy a while ago that I wasn't sure that I'd ever be ready for sex with you; you've been like a father to me."
Tim said, "I understand, Sid. Let's all sleep together tonight and avoid the sex."
Cathy said, "Why? You aren't Sid's father; you are, after all, just good friends. Yes, without your assistance, Tim, Sid would still be a kid in the ghetto. But he's not; he's an adult." She turned to Sid, "You have to grow up and think like an adult, Sid. You aren't a little kid, and Tim isn't your father. From what I understand about the Gang, Tim and Charlie would like this to be a sexy evening. So would I. I think you would, too. Am I right?"
"Yeah, you're right. Tim, I've thought you were the sexiest person alive since the first time I met you. I looked through your house and counted many fewer beds than people and realized that a lot had to be going on at night. I was jealous. But I've always believed you were off limits. I guess I do need to grow up."
Tim smiled and said, "Sid, you were always one sexy little kid. But you were in Middle School when we met, and so far off limits that I shouldn't even have been thinking some of the things I was thinking. But Cathy's right, you're an adult now. So am I, and so are Charlie and Cathy. Let the good times roll!"
I got up and whispered to Cathy that she should get Tim ready while I worked on Sid. We led them into the bedroom and onto the big bed. Cathy very slowly and very sensuously undressed Tim while I did the same to Sid. When they were both naked we pushed them together and quickly their arms and lips were entwined. Cathy and I snuggled into a big easy chair in the corner of the room and watched our lovers' progress. It was beautiful. Tim took the lead and kissed and licked Sid's entire body, ending playing with his genitals with both tongue and fingers. Sid fairly exploded and Tim was on top of him, hugging and kissing. Sid wasn't as experienced as Tim, and was a little more hesitant using his tongue on some parts of Tim's body, particularly his ass. But he eventually did for Tim what Tim had done for him. After Tim's explosion, Sid turned to Cathy and me and said, "I think we sort of forgot you two."
Cathy said, "That was wonderful to watch, Sid. I always knew you and Tim has a special bond, and I'm not jealous. You're a much better artist because of Tim, and I'll bet you're a better lover when we get home! Now you get to watch me and Charlie."
It was clear that Cathy didn't want to be fucked. After undressing each other we did 69, and it was a thrill for both of us. The four of us slept soundly in the bed.
For three days we spent days at the Smithsonian and nights in the bed. I won't bore you with the details, but there wasn't much that you can think of that we didn't do. Except that fucking was limited to Sid on Cathy and Tim on me!
We did break from that routine long enough to take the two of them to Halversham's. With luck we met two senators that I knew, and we were able to introduce Sid and Cathy. That was a thrill for both of them, but not a first for Sid! For the two of them the restaurant was nice, but nothing special. You had to know your way around Washington social circles before a dinner at Halversham's was anything special.
Sid and Cathy headed home a day ahead of us. We spent the last day walking around the city and having dinner with Sherm and Thelma. We headed back the following day.
Back to September:
If it hadn't been for Ronnie and the others at the University of North Dakota Institute for Advanced Physics, the ARPANET would never have come to the University of North Dakota. The work that Ronnie, Sharon and Kyle, along with Will Carleton and the other fellows at the Institute for Advanced Physics (I guess you'd better get used to it being called the IAP, which the fellows insisted on pronouncing as "yap") were doing in quark theory had put UND on the scientific map. ARPA, the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, had provided significant grant support to the IAP. Consequently when ARPA's newly established computer network, the ARPANET, was significantly expanded in 1981, UND (as the parent of IAP) became a network node.
The ARPANET was the first national computer network anywhere. It was started with just four nodes in 1969, based in California. It reached the East Coast in 1970, began email in 1971, reached Hawaii and Europe in 1973, and by 1981 had just over 200 host computers or nodes. Much to Tim's delight, UND found itself in extremely prestigious company hosting a node in 1981. The ARPANET had been originated to facilitate the exchange of scientific data between military and civilian research centers. However, with the development of email (begun on the ARPANET in 1971, but not so named until 1982) that very quickly became, quite unexpectedly, the primary use of the ARPANET. Internet host computers had names, and individual users had names, and a guy named Ray Tomlinson got the bright idea to use the @ sign to construct electronic mail addresses, i.e. username@host computer name. The idea stuck, but became a worldwide standard much later.
Tim loved being Tim@IAP, but has had to watch that morph into firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, in order to host an ARPANET network node, UND had to have a fairly significant mainframe computer on which a local network could be operated. We had that because of the farsighted thinking of the IAP and three men: Tim, Kyle, and Fred. They were determined to invest in computing power early and heavily, and they aggressively sought grants for the program. It'd paid off, not only in our getting early access to the ARPANET but in scientific computing power (used primarily by the IAP), a much more sophisticated Computer Science program than most other universities had-even much larger institutions, and significant administrative savings.
Tim had had to combat conservative intransigence that thought that computers were simply tools that did things faster. He'd had the insight very early that while computers did things faster, their major significance was that they did things that existing tools simply could not do, period. The easiest example of this being the simple spreadsheet, which has no pre-computer equivalent. He had his close friendship with Kyle, Sharon and Ronnie to thank for his computer savvy. They were enthusiastic users of computers, understood the contributions they would make to science and society, and made sure that Tim was with them all the way.
Because of fears of hackers, the Dept of Defense created a new separate network, MILNet, in 1982. By the mid-1980s, ARPANET was phased out. The role of connecting university and research networks was taken over by CSNet, later to become the NSF (or National Science Foundation) Network. The NSFnet was to become the U.S. backbone for the global network known as the Internet, and a driving force in its early establishment. By 1989 ARPANET had disappeared, but the Internet as we know it today was just around the corner. Just to put it all together, the general public was able to buy access to the Internet beginning in 1990. For you teenagers reading this it all seems like ancient history; it was all before you were born. But you need to understand that it all came about in about the same length of time that you have been alive, and just before your birth. That's why your parents really aren't at ease with either computers or the Internet; both came upon us unbelievably fast.
One day I got an electronic message (it would be the next year, 1982, before it was called email--still spelled today four ways: E-mail, e-mail, Email, and email) from Frank Gilson, local director of the Red Cross:
The Red Cross took a pretty serious financial hit during the recovery from the flood. Our reserves are dangerously low. Any ideas about a good fundraiser?
Tim and I discussed it that evening. The local Red Cross had done very well during the flood, feeding a huge number of people in difficult circumstances, coordinating many watery rescues, and providing a wide variety of other services to the community-especially those flooded out of their homes. We thought there would be good support for some kind of fundraising event; the question was, what?
I responded that I thought we needed a venue large enough to hold a lot of people. "It's a lot easier to get a lot of people to give a little money than the other way around."
Tim replied to that with, "I beg to differ. I can find one person to give ten thousand dollars much easier than you can find a thousand people to give ten dollars each. The big difference isn't the ease of fundraising, but the breadth of support you generate with a lot of donors. It's a chance to tell the story of the Red Cross to a lot of people, and for a lot of people to feel ownership of the programs in this local area. So, I guess that means we want to try to fill up the football stadium, right?"
"I'm not sure that I was talking about that big a venue."
"I am. Don't think small, Charlie."
"I can't with you around. It might be nice to think small at least once."
"Forget it. What can we make happen in the football stadium that 5,000 people will pay $10 to see?"
"Not see, eat."
"You're going to feed 5,000 people?"
"How many did you feed at your inaugural?"
"More than that, but we had food stations all over campus. And it was barbequed pork sandwiches. A meal at a charity fundraiser really should be more than a sandwich."
"I don't see why. But we can't do the pork sandwich routine again; it's got to be something new."
"Steamship rounds of beef," said Tim.
"Right, with salad and baked potatoes."
"I'm not sure we have the capacity to bake 5000 potatoes and have them ready to serve in the space of just a couple of hours."
"Hot stone fire pits. We'll pull the sod off the football field and dig the holes. Jumper says the field is getting rough. That'll allow a complete refurbishing of the field before the sod is returned. Fred's endowment can pay for that, and Jumper will be delighted."
"Eventually the endowment will be paid back. Jumper's doing wonderful things with that football team. We'll save about a ton of the dirt from the field. Someday we'll bottle it and sell it as a souvenir. It'll pay back Fred's fund."
"You're out of your mind."
"You just watch, Charlie. I have tremendous faith in Jumper."
"We have to give people more than a slice of roast beef to get them to come out to the stadium."
"Right. We get twenty celebrities to carve the roasts at twenty roast beef serving stations. Then we put on a little show, a couple of short speeches, turn the band, and other local music groups to entertainment, while the same twenty celebrities stand at their stations to sign autographs. We design the programs to include pictures and brief bios of our celebs, and provide a place for an autograph from each of them."
"Ten dollars is too cheap."
"You're right. I go for twenty-five."
"I suggest $22 in advance, $25 at the gate."
"I'll talk to Frank Gilson. Who do you have in mind for celebrities?"
"You and me. Jumper. Nate, it'll give him a thrill. Jim, Hal, Judy, and Marty-all the Olympic medalists. Certainly Prexy. We'll invite key politicians,
Senators Burdick and Andrews, Representative Dorgan, Governor Olson, Mayor Wessman, maybe some others. We don't want Nate to be the only student, we'll get the student body president, a basketball star, the usual suspects. We should include Gilson as well, even if most students have never heard of him."
The dinner was spectacular, if only for the size. Salad for 5000 people is impressive, served out of twenty huge salad bowls which were kept refilled from a central station where huge quantities were "tossed."
For the meal, and especially for the potatoes, the field had been plowed and the snow trucked away. The potatoes were cooked in 20 huge pits that had been dug with a backhoe, lined with rocks, and had a big fire burned in them all night. At four in the morning the fires were extinguished with sand; 250 potatoes were tossed in and buried, and ten hours later lovely baked potatoes were dug up.
The steamship rounds were roasted over small pit fires on spits.
For a dollar contribution to the field restoration fund, you were allowed to come in and watch, toss wood on the fire at night, or toss potatoes in in the morning. We got more than $2,000 to start the field fund. It was that much less dirt we would have to sell to eventually pay off the cost of fixing the field.
It was quite a night. Our VIPs were all honored to be asked, until they learned that not only would they be carving meat for two hours, but would be signing autographs all night. Mayor Bud Wessman told Tim at one point, "Now I know why you changed your name. My God, to be able to just sign B-U-D would be great."
Tim said, "It's too late to be just Bud. You're stuck with the whole thing this evening. Honestly, though, I never thought of that when I decided to be just Tim."
"What made you do that?"
"I'm really not sure. I think it was a feeling that when I had all of the ancestors I did, including a mother and father, why should I just carry the name of my father's father's father's father's father? Better to just be me, Tim."
"And Charlie felt the same way?"
"I don't think so. Charlie changed his name because I asked him to. It's as simple as that."
I spoke up, "That's right. It was important to Tim, so that made it important to me."
"I envy the relationship you two guys have."
Tim said, "Thanks, but break time's over. The autograph lines are getting longer."
Not everyone wanted autographs. Not everyone wanted all twenty autographs. But a lot did. It took until 6:30 the next morning to wipe out the last of the lines-Tim's, of course. We were exhausted. But the Red Cross chapter had sold 3,534 tickets for a total of nearly $ 85,000. There had been "tip jars" at each serving station, and then at each autograph station. Most people put in a coin or a bill, mostly ones, but a few fives and bigger, and one $100 bill. The jars were labeled "Tips for the Red Cross" and they netted just over $36,000. Most of the food was donated, and the University charged as little for the use of its facilities as its policies allowed. We couldn't, for example, not charge the Red Cross for staff overtime for the event. In the final analysis, the Red Cross chapter raised just over $100,000, an unheard of amount for a local chapter fundraiser. In Red Cross circles Frank Gilson was a celebrity; but when asked how to replicate the event he simply smiled and said, "You can't replicate Tim and Charlie."
The next spring bulldozers scraped the field clean of rock, charred wood, and missed potatoes. New screened soil, 20 inches deep, was brought in, evened carefully and rolled, and then the sod was restored, along with new seeding. By fall the field was perfection, ready for the continuation of Jumper's streak.
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