By HOWARD BERGER
SAN JOSE (Dec. 20) — I’m about to enjoy the shortest day of 2014 after what was supposed to be the longest flight of the year.
Instead, “prevailing winds,” according to our captain, helped sever nearly an hour off the journey and we made it from Toronto to San Francisco Friday night in a mere five hours and three minutes… perhaps an all–time record between the cities. Not that anyone was bitching.
The end result is delightful: Winter officially arriving with me and my son, Shane, in northern California for six days. Bunking down here in Shark Land to catch the St. Louis–San Jose National Hockey League game tonight; then the Bills–Raiders National Football League encounter at the Oakland Coliseum tomorrow. Some serious walking and cable–car riding follows Monday through Wednesday in splendorous San Francisco — among my Top 5 world destinations since first visiting in the summer of 1978 when your rickety correspondent was 19 years of age.
LEAVING SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT LAST NIGHT AT 11:40 P.M. — 2:40 A.M. TODAY BACK HOME.
This clean and friendly metropolis off US–101, 38.9 miles south of San Francisco International Airport, brings back fond memories from my traveling days with the Leafs — except for the 1998 stop during which I visited a local hospital while passing a kidney stone. The Leafs, as I recall, did a much poorer job of passing and were routed by the Sharks.
I was saddened upon de–planing last night when I read about the death of former Toronto Argonauts defensive back Dick Thornton. Tricky Dick was 75 and a big part of my youth watching football at the old CNE Stadium. That he died of lung cancer didn’t surprise me. In August 2003, Dick spent a night with me and my family in our Thornhill, Ont. home. An otherwise delightful guest, he chain–smoked all day and all night, generating a cloud that rose to the ceiling of every room. Neither Susan nor I bothered with asking him to step outside; the light–ups came one after another and we had no desire for him to sleep on the back lawn.
DICK THORNTON AT OLD CNE STADIUM IN HIS ARGO PRIME — 1971.
Thornton was a terrific athlete and a flower–child of the late–60’s… he had “hippie” written all over him. How ironic that I would read about his death in San Francisco, the counter–culture hub of that era.
LEAVING WINTER AND PEARSON AIRPORT AT 8:35 P.M. EST FRIDAY…
CLOSING IN ON SAN FRANCISCO…
AND FLYING OVER THE SAN MATEO BRIDGE THREE MINUTES BEFORE LANDING. THE EAST BAY AND LIGHTS OF OAKLAND ARE IN THE DISTANCE.
Okay, it’s time for a bit of shut–eye. Some of you back home are waking up about now. Good night. Good morning.
THIS MADE ME LAUGH. CLEARLY, THE SILICON VALLEY PUBLISHERS DON’T THINK MUCH OF THE OFFICIAL SAN JOSE VISITORS’ GUIDE FOR 2014.
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