Yogi Berra’s quotes

When Yogi Berra died last week, I lost another of my childhood sports idols. Along with Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Roger Bannister, Edmund Hillary, Johnny Unitas and so many others. Now, Bannister, who broke the four-minute mile, is the only one left. Running must be good exercise, after all.

Still, deep down, I always wanted to write the obituary headline should that great New York Yankee catcher go during my lifetime. It would have said, simply: “It’s over.”

That’s because, of course, one of the many comments attributed to Yogi Berra was, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

He said a lot of things like that, statements that almost made sense but not quite. There were so many “Yogisms” that they couldn’t all be true. One of my favorites was that Yogi’s wife asked whether he would like to be buried or cremated when he died. He thought for a minute and said: “Surprise me.”

I can’t really fault him for the logic of his sayings, because there is a “Glynnism” that is still repeated anytime two or more people in my family come together for a reunion. The talk eventually gets around to the time when I was about 12 and had walked up the highway to fetch a few groceries for my mother at a country store that sat in a fork in the road. (Yogi once said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” But that’s neither here nor there.)

I was lugging a paper bag of groceries home, walking on the shoulder of the two-lane blacktop, when a new Chevy Impala stopped. It was filled with boys about four years older than I was, and it belonged to the father of one of them. I knew them from school.

“Hey, kid, want a ride?”

Now, I was no fool. My parents had warned me for years not to take rides from people like that. Big kids. Who knows what could happen to me? I hadn’t studied statistics yet, but I didn’t want to become one.

“No thanks,” I replied, “I’m in a hurry.”

The Chevy sped away, the boys laughing their heads off, and for good reason.

I stood there and gave myself a good dope slap with my free hand. “I’m in a hurry”? What did I mean by that? The Impala was certainly faster than my tennis shoes.

I shuffled home with my head hung low. How was I going to explain what I said the next day on the school bus. Although I was still in elementary school and those boys went to high school, most of them rode the same bus that took me four miles down the road and them a further four miles. I was sure to be ribbed about it once they spread the word around.

Had anyone ever said anything so nonsensical? I thought about running away from home. What saved me was the thought of Yogi Berra, and I felt a little better: After all, he once said: “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.

Reach Glynn Moore at glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

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