I’ve always found that writing down my thoughts has helped me cope with any difficult situation.
It’s something I’ve done many times before, and it works for just about any situation, be it grieving the loss of a loved one or making an important career decision.
Right now, I’m dealing with the former.
I spent this past weekend with my family and friends as we mourned the loss of my grandmother, Dorothy Knight.
After the final service and dinner on Monday, several of us returned to the home that my grandparents shared for as long as I’ve been around.
That unassuming two-story, three-bedroom house settled in an even more unassuming and quiet neighborhood just a short walk from the town’s elementary school is where I first I fell in love with the business of sports media.
It’s where I developed my passion for broadcasting.
I spent my summer days as a young child sprawled across the brown shag carpeting in the living room, my eyes fixated on the television as my idol, Harry Caray, welcomed viewers to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field for Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN.
Oftentimes, my grandfather Jim would shout, in his loud and boisterous voice, “Kevin, go outside and play with your brother.”
I fought to stay in so I could watch the Cubs play and listen to Caray call the action.
Grandpa, whose first name is my middle name, won the fights the first few times, but then, after I kept fighting day after day, I think he realized how important it was to me and left me alone as I watched intently.
I rarely missed a Cubs day game during those summers.
I wanted to be Harry Caray. I wanted to be the voice of the Cubs. I wanted to be the man welcoming viewers to Wrigley Field for Cubs baseball on WGN.
I wanted to be the broadcaster who was calling the action as Ryne Sandberg doubled down the line to plate two runs.
Those days built the foundation for the passion I have for this business now.
No, I didn’t become the next Harry Caray, but that’s just fine with me.
I have just as much passion for covering this area as I would for covering the Cubs.
So, after a few hours at that house on Monday evening, as we packed the car and prepared to leave, I was overcome with emotion as I headed toward the door.
I had said goodbye to my grandfather more than 14 years earlier and my grandmother just hours earlier.
Now it was time to walk out of that house for the final time.
That house is where Kevin J. Keller, the broadcaster and writer, was born.
I peered one final time at that same TV set and the brown carpet and wept.
I made many memories with my grandparents through the years, and I made many memories at 116 Bonnieview Ave.
Holy cow, will I miss that house, but I will always have the memories of those summer days to cherish.
And I will most certainly miss my grandmother, just like I miss my grandfather to this day.
I’m sure he was there to welcome my grandma to heaven.
And somewhere else in heaven, I’m sure Harry Caray was belting out another rendition of “Take Me Out To the Ballgame.”
If you, the reader, takes a lesson away from this, please let it be to always tell your family members that you love them.
You never know when they’ll be gone.