As you read this, I should be 30,000 miles above ground, sitting on an Alaska Airlines jet headed to Washington state.

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the passing of my dad, and I’m surprising my mom — my two sisters and brother already know (I had to tell them so I wouldn’t be stranded at the airport) — with a short visit. Barring weather delays, I will be back early next week. I know what your thinking, I spoiled the surprise by sharing it in this space. Don’t worry. Mom doesn’t read this column.   

The family is getting together that day to remember dad, who lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 56. The day will be filled with all his favorite things — Christmas movies, Skip Bo, pizza bread, pineapple upside-down cake, bean dip and dipped pretzels. And of course stories. Lots of stories.  

It’s a good thing that I shed a few pounds from Lindsay Knight’s evil 30-day challenge diet, because, from the sounds of it, I will be coming back heftier.

 Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my dad. I often talk to him in the shower — mostly about sports and the Clarkston Zoo (by the way, thanks to all the readers who messaged me after last week's column. We appreciated reading each one and were overwhelmed by how many people loved reading about Gizmo.)

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since my  last “real” conversation with my dad. 

 

NFL PICKS

I posted a 3-2 record in Week 8, which upped my season total to 24-16.  

There is not an abundance of great games in Week 9, but here are the best five of the group.  

 

HOUSTON AT 

JACKSONVILLE

What should Jacksonville do with Nick Foles? With Gardner Minshew leading the Jags to a 4-4 record, it is going to be hard to sit him. 

I’ve been all in on Minshew from his days at Washington State University. 

Clarkston — Jaguars

 

CHICAGO AT 

PHILADELPHIA

It’s time Chicago moves on from Mitchell Trubisky, the 2017 first-round pick who is slowing down an offense that has weapons. 

Clarkston — Eagles

 

TAMPA BAY AT

SEATTLE

Even though I will be near Seattle on Sunday, I will not be attending this game. 

Tampa Bay throws the ball a lot, and given the state of Seattle’s secondary, this should be a wild game in the Northwest. 

Clarkston — Seahawks

 

NEW ENGLAND AT 

BALTIMORE

New England has had it easy through the first eight weeks of the season. That changes in Week 9 when the Patriots travel to play the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens. 

Jackson causes a problem for every defense, even a Patriots D that is unbelievably good.

Clarkston — Ravens  

 

TENNESSEE AT CAROLINA

Carolina’s defense surrendered a 50 burger to San Francisco last week. The Panthers are better than that. 

Clarkston — Panthers 

(1) comment

adqrip

30,000 miles? Maybe 30,000 feet.... The earth’s atmosphere is only 300 miles thick...

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