Road trippin’ with Harvey

Written by Bob on June 2nd, 2009

YUCAIPA – The question went something like this: “Harvey, it’s Bob. I’ve got the day off and I’m heading to Huntington Beach for the Yucaipa playoff game. Wanna go along?”

I knew his answer before he uttered a word. And away we went 78 miles through stop and go traffic, and lots of nonstop talk – some important, some B.S., and some mixed with lots of good laughs.

About three-quarters the way there a spike of low blood sugar had me feeling a little light headed, so I handed the keys to Harvey and said “take us the rest of the way.”

Now earlier Harvey said he had once lived near Huntington Beach so he knew the area pretty well.

But not well enough to keep us from getting lost. We did a few back tracks, sidetracks, turn-arounds, and asked three people for directions. Finally we arrived in time to see the Thunderbirds put runners on first and second in the first inning, but fail to score.

That was an omen that this just wouldn’t be the T-Birds’ day. They lost 10-2.

For a road trip partner, Harvey Kahn’s the guy. Affable and congenial, that’s Harvey. Down home in an Oscar Madison of the Odd Couple sort of way. With his bushy unkempt hair and thick bushy mustache, he seems the prototype to be puffing on a cigar with a cloud of smoke swirling over his head and dealing cards in a Friday night poker game with the guys.

Harvey. The name even sounds like someone easy to get along with – and he is. But he’s also of an independent laid back nature.

We shared stories. His best was the hitch hiking trip he took with his girl friend from California to Texas to join the Merchant Marines back in the 1960s as a young kid. That didn’t work out so well and Harvey needed a job so he hooked up with a Texas newspaper. And he’s been a news hound ever since. Now he’s reporting for the Yucaipa News Mirror, while I’m writing and shooting for the San Bernardino SUN.

So we meet up at the ballpark quite often. You can always spot Harvey. He’ll be the guy sitting somewhere near the backstop in a hard, white plastic lawn chair. Not an easy to carry fold up mind you. But a hard plastic one that he carries from ballpark to ballpark.

Harvey’s covered everything from rock bands to sports to city hall. He said that snooping a bit too deep into the expenditures of some city officials got him tossed from one job. Let’s just say that independent Harvey has punched many a key in many a newsroom over the years.

And he’s also played some third base in fastpitch softball. We once got into a “discussion” about how far a third baseman should move in, in a bunting situation during a Yucaipa girls’ fastpitch game.

“I’ve played this game 34 years,” I pontificated. “A third baseman needs to move in halfway for the bunt. He (she) can’t stay that far back!” (The girl was even with the third base bag.)

“She can’t come in when a power hitter’s at the plate,” Harvey countered incredulously as if he were talking to some ignoramus slow pitch player who didn’t know the fastpitch game.

But I digress. Let’s get back to our road trip. The stories continued to flow. When Harvey finally paused to catch his breath, I saw my chance and jumped in about the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. Born and raised in Southern California, I was floored that Harvey was a Twins and Vikes fan.

“Remember Camilo Pascual?” I asked.

“Oh, sure, remember Bob Lemon and Bobby Allison?” he popped back.

“Man they could hit the home runs – and how about the “killer?” Harmon Killebrew,” I countered.

Then I dropped a name I thought would surely stump him: “Remember Dave Osborne?”

“Oh, that guy ran hard,” said Harvey. “Hard to bring down. Tough runner.”

“Yah, him and Bill “Boom, Boom,” Brown were a good tandem behind Fran Tarkington,” I said.

We tossed names back and forth: Earl Battey (got thrown out at first base from right field), Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Jim “Kitty” Kaat, Tony Oliva, Rich Rollins, Rod Carew, Zoilo Versalles …and the names went on.

Stuck in slow moving traffic (Harvey still driving) we traded names and stories all the way back to Yucaipa where I dropped him off at his doorsteps.

Too bad the Thunderbirds lost Harvey. I sure would like to take another road trip.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. harvey m. kahn says:

    Hey Bob..That was a great road trip!..Let’s cover a Needles High football game..I’ll shut up once we hit Amboy.

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Harvey, I’m glad you found my site! Needles? Heck yah – You’re the best road trip partner I’ve ever had the privilege of getting a bit lost in Hunting Beach with – and you’re the only Southern Californian who knows the Twins and Vikings history. Since I got let go from the SUN at 12:35 p.m. on Friday, my schedule is wide open. By the way, I’ve got something I want to talk with you about. Got any free time Monday afternoon or Tuesday for coffee and a donut at the best little donut shop in Yucaipa? And that would be “Uncle Ray’s” on County Line Road near Third Street.

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