A trip home turns into heartache for stepsister

Usually Christmas is a time of joy, fellowship and family.

Cody Thorn

Cody Thorn

While there was still each of those at my mom’s house in Joplin this year, the last impression is one that I’m not used to feeling.

Lets start with my mom. We don’t talk much as I’m sure is the case with most 30-somethings that live 3 1/2 hours from home, but she calls everyone once in a while to see how I’m doing or if I’m going to any sporting event.

When I got down there on Christmas Eve she was on crutches from a knee injury at work the week before. So, that was different. I didn’t realize how different until the next day. About 20 of the would-be 30 crowd was there at noon — my brothers were the two families to the party — when they realized the extension cord that had all four of the crockpots running was never turned on, just plugged in.

And with my mom unable to walk much, she had to tell my stepdad what to do like 25 times. Or 50. He was a trooper though, but he has never made food for that many people. It was a job generally reserved for my grandma for most of my life and then my mom the past seven years.

She still mashed 20 pounds of potatoes on one bad leg, letting my stepsister and her kids get the potatoes on the stove to cook. Why she decides to feed a small army, I will never know, but she is carrying on the tradition of my family in doing so.

I think the part that hit close was when my stepsister Andrea left. She was rather quiet the whole day mostly holding her 1-year-old granddaughter.

When she did leave, my mom told us of the trials and tribulations she is battling. Her cancer has came back for the second time and at the age of 41, her doctors told her she needs to make amends with who she can. That sounds pretty bleak.

On top of that, her husband of more than 20 years left her on Dec. 23, causing a lot of juggling when it came to places to stay on the holidays.

It’s hard to be too joyous when someone you know is battling so much more than you realized.

Almost a Baker’s dozen

In Sunday’s loss against Seattle, Patrick Mahomes became the Chiefs’ all-time single-season passing leader, breaking the mark held by Trent Green.

While that is impressive, what he did later in the game really caught my attention. The touchdown catch by Charcandrick West made him the 12th different player to catch a touchdown pass from Mahomes.

I ran through my head who the 12 were. I came up with nine others, but I missed De’Anthony Thomas and Anthony Sherman. So, I decided to dig a little deeper, because, not watching the Chiefs’ defense was a nice break.

The only players on the roster that could typically catch a touchdown pass that hasn’t has been Spencer Ware, Marcus Kemp, Gehrig Dieter, and Kelvin Benjamin.

Then, I wondered how close that is to the record. Well, in 2017, Matt Ryan threw touchdowns to 13 different Falcons to set a new record. The previous mark of 12 was set in 2003 by Brad Johnson with Tampa Bay and then in 2005 by Tom Brady in New England.

The original mark of 11 was set by Sammy Baugh back in 1947 with the Washington Redskins. Back then, the NFL had 10 teams — five in each division — and Baugh’s team was next to last in the Eastern Division with a 4-8 record.

Fun fact, the Redskins finished behind a team called the Boston Yanks that season. The Yanks lasted only a handful of years — 1944 to 1948 — and played in Fenway Park of all things. The team moved to New York in 1949 and was the Bulldogs and then were the New York Yanks from 1950-51. The franchise moved to Dallas in 1952 and was called the Dallas Texans. In 1960, that was the team name of a franchise that started in the American Football League and later moved to Kansas City.

Random thoughts

The U.S. Department of agriculture unveiled a plan to expand work requirement for the food stamp program. A similar concept was in the farm bill that President Trump signed, but that provision was later eliminated. Both sides of the issues seemed to praise the news on social media. One faction is pleased that work will be required to get aide from the government. The other is worried the change would cut the numbers of area with waivers – where one third live in area where the work requirement is waived – by three-fourths.

Last I looked the GoFundMe page to build a wall got up to $14 million in over a couple of days. Still very short of the $1 billion goal, but hey, if someone wants to pay for it and it won’t cost the government money, why not?

Being at my family on Christmas and not in a rush to leave, it was one of the first times in years I have watched NBA basketball for longer than a glance here or there. I grew up in the era ­— albeit at the end — of Magic, Larry and Jordan. I used to be a rabid fan and would follow anything the Bulls would do. Growing in Missouri, there wasn’t a whole lot of options for liking an NBA team, so I like millions of others picked MJ. One of my favorite players on those late Bulls teams was Dennis Rodman, because he worked hard and rebounded. After watching a few hours of this NBA, I realized an offensive rebound is a rare commodity these days.