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Pyne Needles
            by Ed Pyne, Publisher
March 15 2018
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
My favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, falls on Saturday this year so there will be a lot of celebrating. We get to take in the annual green breakfast at the home of my lovely cousin Paula Sweeney in Bloomington, and then on to the parade in Uptown Normal that starts at 2 p.m.
I consider myself to be very lucky. My family is all from Ireland. My grandfather, Ned Pyne,  came here in 1913 and his bride, Margaret Burke, came a couple of years later after he got established. My mother’s maiden name was Dorothy Fitzgerald of Bloomington, and she was just a wonderful person and had that positive attitude the Irish are famous for.
Here are a couple of  jokes about my clansmen you might enjoy.
• Paddy goes into a bar and orders seven shots of tequila and one Guinness. The barman lines up shots and goes to get the Guinness. When he comes back with the pint, all seven shots are gone. The barman says: “Wow! You sure drank those fast.”Paddy explains: “You would drink fast too if you had what I have.” The barman asks: “What do you have? The guy reaches into his pocket and says: “Fifty cents!”
• One night, Mrs. McMillen answers the door to see her husband’s best friend, Paddy, standing on the doorstep. “Hello Paddy, but where is my husband? He went with you to the beer factory” Paddy shook his head. “Ah Mrs. McMillen, there was a terrible accident at the beer factory, your husband fell into a vat of Guinness stout and drowned.” Mrs. McMillen starts crying. “Oh don’t tell me that. Did he at least go quickly?” Paddy shakes his head. “Not really - he got out 3 times to go to the restroom!”


February 22 2018
Great to see 1970s stars again
The ISU Redbirds welcomed back a very popular and successful men’s basketball coach and his family Saturday night. We met Gene Smithson, his wife Sandy and son Randy at a reception at Hancock Stadium. Many of Gene’s players from the past returned from his back to back 20-7 and 22-7 1970s teams to see if he still had those Hollywood looks with the curly hair and perfect mustache. Gene and Sandy now live in Ocala, Florida.
Randy Smithson resides in Wichita, Kansas where he and his dad once coached.  Randy, an all-state guard at Normal Community High School played for his dad at ISU.  Randy’s high school teammates came back to see him. Randy averaged 20 points per game, Lance Jones 17 and John Mann 16. The high scoring Ironmen were 26-4 in 1976 and were ranked No. 11 in the state. The only team they couldn’t beat was Decatur Eisenhower, No. 13, who they lost to three times. The last came in overtime in the Supersectional by a 75-65 score.
They rate right up there with the best.

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