A few weeks ago in mid-January, I emailed members of the Herd and reminded them that Shorty's birthday was coming up on February 1st. The email was as follows:
Hey Herdmembers, Shorty's birthday's coming up. If you happen to live in a bubble and have forgotten Shorty, he's one of the original founding members of the Herd. He's one of the main guys who has been instrumental in moving the Herd forward since 2001, and he's having a birthday. For the last five years, Shorty has been networking with Heritage Hall and the ticket office, helping to expand the Herd to Section 13, leading the charge to raise money for the Herd recruiting cart and the football office's video equipment, and helping to organize and supply the Herd tailgates. We should all pitch in a little before February 1st and pay for a singing telegram to be delivered to Shorty's place in McCall, Idaho.
I was surprised when I received only one response from Denise of Team Beer, "Who?"
So, a week later, I tried another email:
Herdmember, Trojan fans, friends and pretend friends of Shorty...
If people want to wish Shorty a Happy Birthday or have a little anecdote they want to write, I'll collect your well wishes and/or your threats of violence and/or hate, and I'll put a little collection on the Herd blog next week, February 1, 2007. If Shorty hasn't told you himself lately, he does put a lot of thought and work and effort (or he used to at least) into the Thundering Herd, and if you go to USC games and sit in the Herd and/or go to Herd tailgates, and you enjoy those activities (or the last five years) than Shorty deserves a little portion of your thanks. So if you can take a few moments of your time tonight and think of Shorty, after you've eaten of course, then write me a couple sentences. That's all I'm asking. A can of almonds a day...or whatever the phrase was. And if the great earthquake comes and Idaho falls into the ocean, as the prognosticators have said for years, then we won't have to do this again next year, now will we. So chop chop...
This time I received two responses. One from Trojan Belle:
Well, now. If Idaho's going to be beach front property soon, maybe you'd better wish Laocoon, Maverick6 and me an early birthday too! In any event, Happy Birthday Tall Boy. I've never had the pleasure of sharing a tailgate and a game with you but I know I would love it. You've been a gentlemen and a real pleasure to chat with all these years. Good, grief, is it a decade yet? Pretty close to it. Have a great day with many more to follow. And kick Brooks's butt next time you see him! We have to keep him in line, after all. :)
(photo left: Shorty and wife Becky)
And one from some Bruin guy, UCLA73. I had never heard of him before, but he seemed to know Shorty and somehow got on our mailing list. This Bruin guy had to correct my reference to almonds, and then he wrote a note to Shorty:
"It's a can a week. Details. I'm wondering why we no longer see the posts about Shorty and sheep. At his advanced age is he no longer able to, uh, perform? Anyway, Happy Birthday to one of the most loyal Trojans around!"
So after two emails pleading for some birthday wishes, and only two and a half responses, I had to get desperate. I wrote:
Herdmembers, Trojan Season Ticket Holders:
Shorty's birthday is tomorrow. Shorty is very tight with the ticket office. Send me a goddamn birthday wish for Shorty or else I will put your name on the list, I will give the list to Shorty, and Shorty will call the ticket office and put you in the sundeck next season.
That seemed to work. Here are some birthday wishes and/or anecdotes about Shorty.
The infamous Minx wrote, "Happy Birthday, Shorty" is secret code for Happy Birthday Shorty. (inside joke, of course, right Red?!) My first time to meet Shorty was in good ole NYC at the Waldorf Astoria. Inga and I were there for the Kick Off Classic, our first ever USC trip I believe. We made plans to meet up with Shorty and Red at the hotel restaurant. For some reason, the restaurant was closed and we weren't sure what to do or how to find them. All of a sudden I see these really tall men with USC hats on. I went out on a limb and nervously approached them and asked....."Are you Shorty?" All of a sudden I hear, "Red, we better run for it. It's Minx." From there we hit Rockafeller plaza, 3 pitchers ? of Cosmopolitans, a reformed gentlemens -only club (where I drank my first ever beer and Inga got passed above the crowd), a cab ride and some cows. (Damn cabbie stole my camera.haha) I can honestly say it's been all uphill from there. We have a ton of great memories and can always count on the "guys" to watch out for us. Happy Birthday, Shorty. We love ya!"
TFan sent a quote, "Men are like wine. Some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age." - C.E.M. Joad
The incomparable SCNut (see Red he is alive) sent a note and a webcard: "Shorty, Happy Birthday man! As you can see, I attended one too many Herd tailgates. Here is the page:
Another lost Herder named Yucca sent this story through the Cuban Embassy in Thousand Oaks, "There was time we went to the ucla/USC game at the Rose Bowl four years ago. We were having drinks at Crown City Brewery (Aesop, CDiddy, Rocks, and Mom were present) and we did a spellout in the middle of the bar. A lady sittiing next to us said "I'm surprised you can spell Southern California." She then showed Shorty the notre dame logo on her shirt. Shorty said something like "Lady, we're going to stick touchdown Jesus back in his box where he belongs."
GAB is on speed tonight or something, because he wrote more than one line, "Happy Birthday Sherty, My Best Friend. Wow is all I can say thinking back in the 60's when, with all our friends we packed up the V-Dub Bus and made our way to Haight-Ashbury in S.F.. Man I can't even remember much but I remember Sherty saying, Screw It, 200 Million Chinese don't even know we're living the life. In the 70's - I can tell you Sherty was the Disco King of Southern California. I can remember him as it was yesterday, Bell Bottoms, Open collared Tie Dyed Shirt, Beatle Boots with 3" Heels with Gold Fish in them. Hell the Women were waiting in line 10 deep just to Sniff his Shorts. I got more snatch that fell off him than I could get on my own. Sherty was the Man. The 80's - Forget about it. They wouldn't even let him in a Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, or Aerosmith Concert because all the Women would just turn toward him like nobody else was there. I can't count the times those Groups just left the stage in disgust. When Sherty was on his Hog, christ, the Women would just fall to the side of the road with their legs in the air. (photo left: Shorty laughing at Brooks) Another left over decade for GAB. The 90's - Pass, Sherty still gettin' it for all of us. 21st Century - Sherty still hasn't stopped, he makes a Child with ADD seem like they're sleeping. Mountain Climbing, Para-Sailing, Canoeing down the Amazon River, Sky Diving out of 747's @ 50,000 feet, Makin' every gal he meets. Who could ask for a better best friend. Once again Happy B-Day to the Best Friend any....What? Who? S H O R T Y....from the Herd............Never Mind.......GAB & Emily Litella
Okay, that birthday wish was hard to top (or understand) but Brooks tried, "Happy birthday on the 10th anniversary of your 60the birthday. I want to thank you for all the beer you spilled on my shoes when they still served beer in the Coliseum and for slapping me on the back of the head when I didn't do every STINKING THING JUST AS YOU WANTED! Would it hurt you, just once in a while, to smile and say nice job?"
And Shorty's only real friend, Idaho natlchamps also had to chime in, "Shorty does indeed know how to make the best Birthday spam…I mean, really. …broiled, boiled, deep fried, raw like oysters, it doesn’t matter. It still smells, looks like, and tastes like Spam..and that is Shorty’s talent. He knows I hate it and he still tries to make it look like the world’s best prepared perogies…Now that the seriousness is done with, let’s talk all things kiddingly...Shorty bleeds Cardinal and Gold…what better compliment on a Herd Blog?....a great bond developed before I ever actually met him…My wife first came across him up here in Idaho via his beautiful wife, Becky, and her store up here but I had not…My wife and I were back and forth, from the frozen north, to the sands of Malibu…and when I had been perusing and very occasionally posting on TFO I saw some guy mention something about McCall…I responded, like what the heck does this guy know about McCall??....I had lived in McCall for a few years long ago and been there off and on for more than 20 …Shorty had been in McCalI fulltime for awhile, but it took our mutual love of all things SC to make a great connection…Shorty is quickly becoming a legend up here…He truly knows how to throw a party…I have been to so many wonderful gatherings at his warm home overlooking a scenic river, and every time it is unique. Yes, everyone, Shorty is a fabulous cook, and an even better host. Last night one of his guests was the premiere caterer in Idaho and because of his reputation she couldn’t wait for her first visit…it was fun to see her and Shorty review and compare recipes, and she discovered first-hand that his reputation was well deserved.
But more than his culinary expertise, Shorty has a talent to bring together people from various backgrounds, sometimes people who have never met. At his home, under his gracious umbrella these people just click, and have a great time, and often forge lifetime friendships, hmm, sounds like the Herd, doesn’t it? Happy Birthday big guy. Tim
But no, that wasn't enough.
Even SCKid sent birthday wishes, "Since the first time I met you at the Oregon State game in 2003, it's been a pleasure knowing you. You are a funny guy who amuses me. Yes, you amuse me. To this day whenever I see a Bush/Cheney '04 bumper sticker, I remember what you did to Brooks' truck in the parking lot after the Kal game in 2004. I laugh everytime I think about it (Sorry Brooks, it was funny). May you have a blessed birthday as well as enjoying one of the Girlie Herder wines you're always going on about. Salud!"
JoeSC wrote, "Jimmy...Happy Birthday you older fellow Aquarian...and Herdsmen...Thanks for all the your time and work offerings to the Thundering Herd...It is appreciated..."
And finally, Dr. Z, first on the tailgate scene, last on the birthday wish list, chimed in, "I haven’t gone on road trips since the 2000 Kickoff Classic, and Shorty seems to be at his best on the road… at least when it comes to anecdotes. Mostly what I remember about him at home games was his pervasiveness. Until he had the bout with asthma, it seemed live he was always at the tailgates. The big black truck would roll up, and supplies and equipment would roll up. Set up, tear down and everything in between, Shorty was in the middle of all of it. Fat Tire, too. And bloodies. Really great bloodies! My birthday wish is that he’s well enough to return to the Coliseum regularly next season. I know the rest will take care of itself."
If I know the Herd, we'll still be getting Happy Birthday emails for Shorty through mid March, and I'll add those emails to the "comments" section, but for today, this is a start. Happy Birthday, Shorty. And Fight On from the Herd.