In the weeks leading up to the show, the Illinois governor upped his COVID restrictions. First the restaurants and bars were shut down in DuPage and Kane counties, then Cook, then Lake and McHenry. Stores and the like were limited to 25% capacity. I figured the show would be cancelled but I never received a call from the promotor, and others I talked to said the show was a go.
After a night of dishing out candy for Halloween and a surprising number of trick-or-treaters in my little burg, I struggled to wake up and get to the show. I made it there around 8 a.m. and thankfully observed that the show was indeed a go. I may be one of the few that happens to support the Illinois governor and his COVID restrictions. We are in a pandemic, people are dying. I've had two clients die. This thing is real no matter what the Looney Tune deniers say or do.
But while I do support the governor, I, like many others, am having a tough time adhering to the mandated restrictions, even though I know better. This pandemic has made me realize that I am incapable of going cold turkey when it comes to certain things. Big Gov. P needs to enforce his mandate so people like me, who just can't help themselves, will adhere to the restrictions. I admire folks with self-control. I struggle with diabetes because of a lack of self control. For example, I know that foods like potatoes increase my blood sugar more than candy bars but I just can't stop eating potatoes. I love the freakin' things and I have been eating them my whole life. Diabetes and this pandemic have given me a lot of insight into addiction, self-control and my own failings.
Yes, I am addicted to card shows. Somehow I made it six months without going to a show. I don't know if I can do that again. Thankfully, it looks like the Schaumburg show and my Salvation Army show can run during the pandemic.
I find it easier to attend these shows knowing there are precautions in place. Everyone generally wears a mask. There is hand sanitizer available and I use it. The tables are spread out. I did not have any issues Sunday breathing with the mask on all day but the straps did start to hurt my ears around noon and the last hour was a struggle.
Achy ears aside, I had such a nice day hanging out with Lou and Don at the Schaumburg show. The crowd was down from last month and we had a lot of extra time to chat. Lou has so many good stories from the old days of card shows going to back to the old Chicagoland Sports Collectors Association from the 1970's. It is really fun to reminisce. While chatting, I observed that we were more than six-feet apart and wearing masks. I feel fine now and hopefully none of us catch the COVID!
I want to talk about my friend Lou a little more. Like me, he suffers from diabetes and has been to hell and back the past few years. Diabetes is just an awful disease and Lou has been hit hard by it. I am so thankful that he is back setting up at shows after a long hiatus due to his diabetes.
Lou is good people, a rare character that I am so lucky to know. While we were sitting at the show Sunday talking, I came to realize just what a great friend Lou is and how he's always watching out for me. Case in point -- that hub bub with John Leary. Back when John Leary came after me, out of the blue, when Mark Smith and I started what is now my Salvation Army show, Lou was one of the few guys that came to our defense and told John that he was in the wrong and should leave us alone.
In case you haven't read my old blogs, here is the abbreviated version of what happened: shortly after Mark and I started the show in 2014, John Leary, the promoter of the Orland show, started telling everyone who would listen that we were stealing the dealers from his show in Orland Park for our Milwaukee show. According to quite a few folks, John talked all sorts of trash about us. None of this made sense to me because nothing could have been further from the truth. Mark and I started the Milwaukee show simply because we wanted to attend a Saturday show in Milwaukee which did not have a regular Saturday show at the time. However, all the while we were still setting up at John's show in Orland Park. There were a few dates that conflicted and we skipped Orland for our show on those dates but we never had any intention to sabotage the Orland show or stop setting up there. In our wildest dreams we never figured our show in Milwaukee, which is a good 100 miles or so north of Orland Park and in another state completely, would have any effect on John's show.
So Mark and I confronted John and rather forcibly told him to stop talking trash about us and to stop spreading lies. John's response was that we had no right to promote our own show in another state, 100 miles away, and should have asked for his permission before creating our show. He honestly said we had no right to create our own show and had to ask for his permission! I hate to speak ill of the dead, but John Leary was an asshole to the ninth degree who thought he was the king of the card shows and the rest of us were his lowly subjects. I was not about to kiss that SOB's ring. He had no right!
As a result, Mark and I stopped setting up at the Orland show where I had been a dealer for 15 years and rarely missed a show. On the few occasions I had to miss an Orland show, John was an ass about it. When I told him I wanted to take my family on vacation to South Dakota and miss one of his summer shows, he told me not to go because South Dakota was not on his bucket list!! I ignored him and had a great time seeing Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills and the Badlands. South Dakota should be on everyone's bucket list!!
Back to the hub bub... there were some emails exchanged. I basically told John to go fuck himself. He then called up everyone he knew and tried to show them the emails. Lou told John he did not want to see the emails and should stop attacking Mark and I. John obviously did not listen to Lou so I took a four-year hiatus from the Orland show.
Eventually, John died and a new owner bought the show from his estate. My main man Lou, told the new owner Rich, that he should call Mark and I and get us back in the show. Thanks to Lou, Rich called me and asked me to set up. So now I am back at the Orland show, happy as a clam. Plus, since I moved my show to the first Saturday of the month, it does not seem to ever conflict with the Orland show and all is good. Even better is that Rich, the new promoter, does not care that I run a show 100 miles away and in another state... and why should he? My show is 100 miles away and in another state!!! It does not have any effect on the Orland show!!! For some reason, my show drove King John crazy. It will never make sense to me. But I am so thankful for Lou standing up for me and for getting me back into the Orland show.
Ah, lads, Lou's work was not done after Orland. After COVID hit and the Schaumburg show started up this past July, Lou called and said I should set up at that show. I was hesitant, being a vintage dealer at a show with a reputation for modern cards. In the end, I was desperate for a show and took Lou's advice and have really enjoyed the Schaumburg show these past few months and plan on continuing being a dealer there for the foreseeable future. The best part of the Schaumburg show is that I get to hang out with my pal Lou. I am so lucky to have Lou as a friend and to have him looking out for me!! Thanks buddy!!
Did I say that Lou always looks out for me? Well, Lou made my day Sunday when he brought in a guy selling his vintage collection. The seller showed his cards to Lou, who bought a bunch of them. Lou then sent the seller over to me and I bought a really nice group of 1933 Goudeys, 1934 Goudeys and 1948 Leaf. If I didn't run out of money, I would have bought more stuff!
Even though my sales were way down from last month, I had a really great day between hanging out with Lou and Don and purchasing some great cards. As usual, I also bought a bunch of cards from Junior. I am looking forward to the next Schaumburg show on December 6. I am going to have to change up some things for that show to spur some sales. My binders did not do well at the November show. I will probably go back to the display cases which worked out well in October. If you plan on attending the December Schaumburg show, please let me know what you would like me to bring out. A few guys asked for 1957 Topps baseball, which I did not bring out to the November show figuring wrong that I would do better with my football binders. I will have that '57 binder at the December show.
If you collect anything hockey, be sure to come to the December Schaumburg show and see Lou!! Also don't miss Lou's tablemate Don, who has some one-of-a-kind items as well. Good people make good times... which is probably why I am addicted to card shows. John Leary aside, I have met so many amazing people at the card shows. Makes me feel like George Bailey from "It's A Wonderful Life" some times. Zuzu petals!