Breakfast Surprise

If you live in Los Angeles long enough – and I’ve been here over forty years – you will sooner or later bump into a celebrity.

I’ve never been one to slobber & squee over meeting an actor or actress (astronauts are a whole different thing) but that’s not to say there aren’t celebrities and people that I wouldn’t love to meet. My criteria for squee-worthiness is just different than most people’s.

Today we got a great opportunity to meet someone I admire.

We were eating at our usual Sunday morning, pre-grocery shopping spot. Just as we had sat down, a couple of guys down the aisle were finishing their breakfast and started to walk past us.

I thought that I recognized the one guy as he got by our table and I guess it was the look on my face that make The Long-Suffering Wife look up as he passed. He paused at the corner of the aisle a couple of tables behind us and she saw him, looked at me, said, “Is that…?” I said that I was pretty sure it was.

Never one to be shy, TLSW looked at him, gave him a big thumbs-up, and said, “Go Kings!!”

Bob Miller, the NHL Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Kings for the past forty-three years, then proved just what a gracious and kind person he is.

He could easily have just waved, given us a return thumbs-up, or whatever and it would have been just fine. He was just going out to breakfast on a quiet Sunday morning and didn’t owe us squat.

But he came over, introduced himself, and chatted with us for a couple of minutes. I was glad to see him looking healthy and back with the team after he had some major surgery last year that kept him out of the booth for the last couple months of the season. With the Kings’ season ready to kick off in just four days, we talked about the prospects for the year. I told him how much I had enjoyed his work for years.

We’re big hockey fans, and the Kings have been my team almost since their beginning. I was with them through all of the so-so years in the 1970’s, through the Gretzky years when everyone was jumping on their bandwagon, at the Forum and now at Staples, and through their first two Stanley Cup championship years. (This upcoming year will be their third!)

As far back as about 1976 or 1977 I can recall hearing his iconic, “He shoots! He SCORES!!” call on hundreds and hundreds of Kings broadcasts. Two years ago, when the Kings beat the Islanders for the Stanley Cup and I was in the Hartness House main living room in Springfield, Vermont while the Kings went into overtime and then double overtime, I had to celebrate alone and very quietly as they one, lest I wake up the entire building – literally!

Through all of that, Bob Miller has been to the LA Kings broadcasts what Vin Scully (who we also dearly love listening to and will miss now that he’s retired) has been to the Dodgers broadcasts and what the late Chick Hearn was to LA Lakers broadcasts. Los Angeles has been graced with three of the greatest, iconic announcers in their respective sports over the years, and it was a pleasure to get to meet one of them.

We’re looking forward to hearing the broadcasts with Bob behind the microphone starting this week. As well as watching him get champagne poured all over him next June. I won’t be in a small hotel in Vermont then, I’ll be in the stands, cheering my stupid head off.

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