Saturday, February 27, 2010

Farewell Tour Year Three

Well, it is starting up again, "The George Contreras Farewell Tour, Year III". In these last few days before I fly to Copenhagen and then take the train to Hässleholm, I go out with all of my family and friends to say our goodbyes.

It started last weekend with our visit to Andy and Jenn in Las Vegas.

On Friday, I had breakfast with fellow Rio Mesa H.S. retiree, Dick Bellman, at Eggs and Things in Camarillo, baby sat young Dylan for his mom, Cyndy and grandmom, Debi Murphy and then headed down to Los Angeles for lunch.

I was meeting two of my University of Washington friends who were driving up from Orange County as we decided to meet at a restaurant half way between us.

Where Else Would We Want To Meet!

Backroom Stools

I got their first, about 30 minutes before them, so I sequestered myself in one of their small, empty back rooms. I thought it was better for me to stay out of the mainstream of the hundreds of noontime patrons and the busy main dining area while I waited. The sawdust on the floor just adds to the ambience.

"Table for Three, Please"

Philippe's has been in business since 1908. I sat and wondered how many people have come through their doors and sat at tables like these with family, friends and business partners to have a great meal at an L.A. institution?

Counter Worker Reporting for Duty

All of Philippe's workers wear these tan uniforms, act professionally and, in some cases, appear as if they have been working behind the counters for most of the past 102 years.

Loren Brucker and Clyde Werner

Finally, Loren and Clyde arrived and it was, of course, French Dips for everyone!

Loren was my roommate in college and played DB for the Huskies as well as being an outstanding catcher for the UW baseball team.

Clyde Werner
#54, Kansas City Chiefs LB pressuring
San Francisco 49ers QB Jim Plunkett

Clyde was a tremendous athelete! Besides his obvious skills in football, Clyde was a great track athlete as well. Throwing for Tacoma's Wilson H.S., he won the 1966 Washington State Championship in the Shot Put with a heave of 62 feet, 9 inches.

In the fall of 1966 when Clyde arrived at the UW for his Freshman year, I was a Sophomore. In those days Freshmen could not play varsity sports. As a result, they played only a short 4 or 5 game schedule against other Freshman or J.C. squads. This also meant that they did not report to school until school started which was about a month after the rest of had started the grueling two-a-days in August.

I had heard about Clyde as was the cornerstone of the 1966 recruiting class for the Huskies. The first time I saw him was when he was pointed out to me in the lobby of the Neptune Theater on 45th Street just off of University Avenue.

Honest to God, I took a quick glance outside to see where his blue ox Babe was tied up! Clyde was wearing jeans and a plaid flannel Pendelton shirt and I thought for sure that my friend had mistakenly pointed out Paul Bunyan, not some UW Freshman named Clyde Werner.

It turned out that Clyde was indeed a great UW football player (2nd Round pick by the Chiefs in the 1970 Draft) and track athlete but more importantly, he was a great teammate and a better person.

We had a really good time as our lunch lasted for about two hours as we swapped stories and discussed all of our current maladies.

Actually, Clyde was down from Washington to take part in a three day research study funded by the NFL to see how over 100 ex-NFL players are progressing as they hit their 50's and 60's from both a physical and a mental health aspect.

Fortunately, he seems to be in just as good health as Loren and I were, i.e., creaking but working.

The only thing missing was Mark Johnson, but he refuses to go to Philippe's anyway so what the hell . . .



Anonymous said...


You really know how to hurt a guy! After nearly 44 years of knowing you, you continue to refuse to take me to eat at Philippes and then broadcast to the world through your blog that the first time that my old college room mate, CW, comes to town, you take him there. I am crushed!!

Don't forget, you are going to my Motherland, so I have my ways to get revenge!!


George said...

Ok, next time we go to Dodger Stadium for a game, we'll stop at Philippe's first.