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Well Known People

Corky Cummings


Patti and I were together recently with some friends and someone asked the group who is the most well known or famous person you have ever talked to, not seen, but actually had a conversation with. Since I don’t normally hang out with celebrities I had to reach deep to come up with someone. 

Some of the names that came up from our friends were Ronald Reagan, John Wooden, Jerry Brown (former Governor of California), Hal Holbrook, and Jimmy Durante. As you can tell, most of our friends are old. It also should be noted that two or three of those conversations occurred at airports and were not very lengthy. 

Patti knew Farrah Fawcett in Corpus Christi, where they both grew up, but I’m not sure that counts because that was before Farrah became a star. The only person I could come up with was Pete Carroll. When he was the head football coach at USC we went to a kick-off banquet for the team one year and he went around to each table to introduce himself and pose for pictures with anyone who requested it.

While we were together I told him that a professional coach named Bud Grant once said that “losing hurts more than winning feels good” and asked him if he agreed. He said that he did and it turned out that he experienced that feeling in the national championship game that season. USC was beaten by the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl in one of the best games in college football history. Pete also lost a Super Bowl as the coach of the Seattle Seahawks later in his career. Although he won a national championship at SC and also a Super Bowl at Seattle, I believe that the two losses are the ones he has the most vivid memories of. 

I also met a pitcher for the New York Mets named Rick Aguilera. He isn’t a household name but his claim to fame was being the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. That was the game that the 1st baseman for the Red Sox, Bill Buckner, let a ground ball go between his legs which enabled the Mets to win the game. The Mets then won the World Series in Game 7. Buckner had a tremendous career but unfortunately he was always remembered for that one play. I met Aguilera in 1985 so I wasn’t able to hear any comments he had about the emotions that went into winning such an important game. 

People who are famous and live in the spotlight are totally different than the majority of us. I’m not sure I would feel comfortable being around celebrities because my life has been somewhat ordinary compared to the lives they have led. Boring might be a better description than ordinary but regardless, I have been happy with what life has dealt me and maybe there is some value in not being recognized in the grocery store. I would bet that a lot of famous people would agree.