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Besides planning trips, Burdell also writes this weekly column which tells about sports happenings now and 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago, sometimes a trip down memory lane that some of you may relate to, what the Ancient Sportsman (Burdell) and Ancient-ess (Charlotte) have been up to and about trips they have been on. Each week is a new adventure.
Tales of the 
Ancient Sportsman
     What a busy week. I am just wiped out. I think I covered a game or games every night of the week and four on Saturday. I was not at my best on Sunday, but the Lord graciously supplied my needs and He blessed us Sunday morning.
    After beef and noodles over mashed potatoes at Taso’s for dinner, I settled down for a much-needed nap. The Ancient-ess woke me with a reincarnation of a disaster from earlier in the week. It must have been Monday or maybe Tuesday, my days all run together. On that day I settled into the reclining chair for a nice afternoon nap.  CRASH! The air was shattered with a loud scream. I sprung from the chair to see what was the matter. The first thing I saw was an empty step ladder and I thought she had fallen off of it. I looked again and she was standing with her back toward me. As she turned to face me, I thought I saw a ghost.  She had been on the ladder, taking a Tupper-Ware tub of flour off the top shelf. She lost her grip on the tub and the lid popped off. The writers for the “I Love Lucy” show could not have written a better script. That avalanche of flour hit her right in the face. She had flour in her hair, behind her glasses and all the way to her toes. 
The first thing I did was to grab my cell phone and take a picture. I wish I would have had it on video because it might have made the world’s funniest. On Sunday afternoon she did it again, but not with the total destruction of the time before. She is getting better with practice. We may put a sign up over the cupboard that reads, “Danger, hard hat zone with occasional white outs”.
    Saturday was a big day for softball in Oskaloosa. The Oskaloosa Softball Classic was held at the Lacey Complex. 11 of the better teams in south central Iowa gathered for softball. It was not played in tournament style, but each team was guaranteed two games. The day’s schedule was put together with an effort to allow teams to play other teams that they would not see during the year.
The day began with a round of four games at 9:15 am, four more games at 11:00 am, four more at 12:45 pm and a final game at 2:30 pm. Teams that I covered were; Cardinal, Pella Christian, Sigourney, EBF, Pella and Oskaloosa. EBF and Cardinal each won both of their games. Cardinal beat Pella Christian 3 – 0 and Sigourney 13 – 3, while EBF knocked off North Polk 2 – 1 and Pella 11 – 6. 
    This was a tough week for me as the Ancient-ess and I made a hard choice. We are finding that our bodies do not work like they used to and mobility is getting more difficult. We put our heads together and decided that this will be the final year of Blessed Byways Tours. We will complete the tours that we have scheduled and then on January 1, we are finished.
   We have been blessed to host tours for 25 years and we would never have dreamed of all the things we have done and the places we have been. We have set foot in all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces and six foreign countries. When I walked across the stage at the graduation exercises at Griswold High School in 1958 our High School Principal, Emil Porter handed me my diploma and told me that I would go places. I didn’t believe it, but he was right.
    When you leave something you love so much, there is the pain of loss. How do you say thanks to all the folks who have made the journey possible? We have had the most wonderful group of travelers, our bus drivers have been first class, the people we have worked with behind the scenes have been so helpful and God himself has guided our ways and overly blessed us. It just boils down to two words. THANK YOU.
    I did have Monday off due to Memorial Day and in the afternoon I headed to the pond. Fishing was slow, but finally I got three bass that would run about two pounds each and a big bluegill. That was enough for a couple of quart bags of filets.
    I was in Albia Tuesday night for the softball game with Pella Christian. Albia won 5 – 0 and the game was over in time that I could go up to the baseball diamond and cover that game as well. I wrote the two stories Wednesday morning and went to Pella in the evening for a softball doubleheader marathon. The games started at 5:30 pm and didn’t finish until 11:00 pm, and Pella lost both games.
    I was in Eddyville Thursday for the Rockets game with Knoxville, Albia Friday for baseball with Cardinal and then in Osky Saturday for the marathon. Knoxville beat Eddyville 5 – 4 in an excellent game and there are three Dunkin sisters playing for Knoxville. I coached three of their grandparents in my first year of coaching at Twin Cedars. Those are blessings that are not measured in dollars and cents.
    Have a wonderful week and perhaps I will see you at a game.