I worked all day Friday then loaded up the car and drove out to Michigan to spend the night at my folks' house near New Buffalo. Horrible drive. Traffic was heavy.
Shortly after arrival, my dad drove my mom and I out to Portofino Grill in LaPorte, Indiana. The Portofino Grill is on a golf course and has both inside and outside seating. Dad said that he brings his cat sometimes and sits outside with the cat and eats at Portofino's.
I was glad we did not bring the cat and ate inside because it was too hot and humid to be outside. The inside is nice. Fancy dining area with an adjacent bar with the White Sox game on TV. My kind of menu with steaks and chops. I went with the prime rib, pictured above, house cut, which was 16 ounces. They had a 21-ounce cut but I did not think I could finish it. Dad went with a New York strip. Mom went with the salmon.
My prime rib was delicious. Cooked medium rare, the way I like it. I got a side of grilled asparagus and ate every last drop of the whole meal. Dad finished off his steak and boiled potatoes. He had ordered a baked potato but our waitress was flighty and she brought him boiled potatoes instead. Dad likes to give waitstaff hell, much to my chagrin. I was thankful he was relatively kind to the young woman serving us. Mom did not like her salmon. It looked good to me but she was adamant that it was horrible. I hope she forgets about it because I'd like to come back to the Portofino Grill and try a steak next time.
Once back at the house, I had a tough time falling asleep that night because the air conditioning does not work at my parent's house. It was soooo hot in there! My dad is the worst at maintaining a home. Growing up, he never fixed anything. My kids would probably say the same thing about me, even though my A/C works perfectly while dad really needs to get his fixed. I got an A/C guy, I wonder if he'd come out to New Buffalo?
Anyway, I set my alarm on my phone for 6 a.m. which was a little complicated because we were right on the border of the Central and Eastern time zones in New Buffalo. I observed that my phone will fluctuate between both times zones when I'm there. So I was not entirely sure if I was going to wake up inside the Central or Eastern time zone. Turns out it was Central while the show operator used Eastern. I thought I might be running late but not too bad.
Dad was setting up with me and he likes to arrive early so he was a little annoyed. Turned out we were crazy early. Inside the hall when we arrived it looked like a couple dealers had set up the night before then there were just two or three other guys setting up. The rest of the tables were empty.
While loading in, I met promoter Mike Moldenhauer, who was real attentive. He stopped by our tables a few times to see how we were doing during the show. Then, around noon, Mike purchased McDonald's cheeseburgers for all the dealers. I like Mike Moldenhauer!
I had two tables while dad had one. I put out all of my baseball binders and the wax I had brought out last weekend to the flea market. With this being my first time at the FOP show, I did not really know what to bring out. Dad had two display cases and all sorts memorabilia. He's a garage sale/flea market nut and goes most weekends. He was selling the sports stuff he picked up at the sales.
The rest of the vendors arrived a good hour after we did. I knew several of them. Two of the vendors had set up in Oak Creek while one guy I knew from Orland. The rest I had never seen before.
I was impressed with the inventory in the room. Lots of vintage cards which is what I like! I figured with so much vintage, we would have a nice turn out of vintage collectors. No such luck. Show opened at 9 a.m. I don't think I had my first sale until 11 a.m. I ended up with just three sales. Dad had two sales. We still made plenty to cover the cost of the tables which were crazy cheap at just $20 each.
I spent most of the day pricing the remaining cards to fill my 1964 Topps baseball binder. So it was productive, even though my sales were poor.
Regardless, I did enjoy myself because it was a freakin' card show. If you can't have fun at a card show then there is something wrong with you! My pal Mike drove in from the Chicago suburbs. Thanks Mike! I saw Bob Lucas and a couple of customers I recognized from Bob's Lake Station show. One of which was the famous Lowball Lonnie. Turns out Lowball Lonnie's real name is Joe and he knows my dad. The other Lake Station guy was Flaky Frank. Neither Lowball Lonnie nor Flaky Frank purchased any cards from dad or I. When I told dad how I dubbed Joe as Lowball Lonnie, he had a good laugh.
Then I met this older couple. The husband grew up in LaPorte while the wife was from California. They have a place nearby but spend most of their time living in California. The wife told me her husband is 80 years old. My dad is 86, so these contemporaries enjoyed talking with each other. After a while, the husband came over and showed me some of his childhood cards. He told me the name of the LaPorte pharmacy where he purchased cards from 1952 to 1956. While the building still stands, it is no longer occupied by a pharmacy.
Anyway, he showed me a beautiful 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson, a 1953 Topps Yogi Berra and a 1952 Topps Richie Ashburn. He wondered if he should get them graded. I advised that he indeed should get those cards graded. He had some money there.
Interestingly, he said only one store in LaPorte carried Bowman baseball cards in the 1950's. He said many stores carried the Topps cards. However, by the fall, none of the stores in LaPorte carried the last series, so he was never able to purchase the high numbers as a kid.
Many stories were told on this day, most by my dad, who is quite the storyteller. Mike sat down and chatted with him for a while. He regaled many others with tales about his pal Ernie Banks. Dad and Ernie were close friends and hung out together often. They went out to dinner regularly and also went on vacation together.
Unfortunately, dad never took me along when he hung out with Ernie. Only time I got to see him was when I had to go to Ernie's condo on the Lakefront in Chicago to drop off some paperwork, as my dad was also his lawyer.
One time in the early 1980's, Ernie wanted to play me in racquetball. He and dad played regularly but dad was poor competition, so Ernie wanted to give me a try. Unfortunately, Ernie wanted to play at 6 a.m. As you know, I am not an early riser, and was worse as a teenager in the early 1980's. I wanted to play racquetball with Ernie but could never wake up early enough! I can kick myself now. I was a dumb kid!
Anyway, for lunch, I had a chicken taco from the concession stand. Dad had a hot dog. Neither of us partook in the free Mickey D's cheeseburgers. I can't eat cheese and dad was filled up from the hot dog. Though, I still appreciate the gesture!
Overall, I really like this show. Everybody was really pleasant. The promoter Mike is a great guy. I thought attendance was decent. I might give it another try down the road. I don't think dad will set up with me but maybe he'd come and hang out.
After the show, we went over to Timothy's in New Buffalo. Timothy's is a regular stop for my folks. We eat there most every time I come out to see them. It is an excellent restaurant. It is a little pricey but the food is worth it. I had fish and chips. Dad had halibut in a cream sauce while mom had shrimp scampi. My fish and chips were excellent. The fish was fresh and tender. Dad seemed to like his halibut and mom liked her shrimp.
I may not have sold many cards in Michigan City but I had a nice couple of days with my folks. So, I definitely, gotta do this again.
It was a double bill weekend with Orland on Sunday. Orland blog coming soon.
I don't have any shows coming up this weekend, July 22 and 23. There really aren't any shows to do nearby. I'd have to drive at least two hours away if I wanted to set up anywhere this weekend. So, with the National coming up, next weekend, I think it is best that I rest up. I recognize that I just can't go like I used to, even though I really want to! I'll just stay home and prep for the National this weekend.
Speaking of the National, I am sharing booths 3716 and 3617 with my pals Dave McDonald, Paul "PJ" Balistreri and Scott Ziegert. As you know, I freaking love the National. There is nothing quite like it!
Then the weekend after the National, I better find some energy because the Oak Creek show is August 5. Dealer spaces are filling up fast. I should have 180 tables sold out for that show. Woot!
Hey! My blog did not get one comment in Michigan City. Do I have any blog followers in that area?
Anyway, see you at the National!!!
Below are some photos from the Michigan City show.