POKIN AROUND: The total awesomeness of being Matt Holliday

POKIN AROUND: The total awesomeness of being Matt Holliday

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I started Sunday, Nov. 6, by going to church at Salem in Ladue United Methodist Church on Lindbergh. My friends, Rachel and Jeff, attend there. They sing in the choir.

Rachel once was a reporter at the Journal. She sat next to me.

I drove to church that morning with Stephanie. She once worked at the Journal, as well. She was a page designer.

Stephanie had hosted a party Saturday night and while we were talking that night about turning our clocks back — and how it really wasn't 2 a.m. — we decided to go to church together later that morning.

I should mention that Rachel and Stephanie are professional women. They are educated Mizzou journalism grads. They speak well. They are informed about world events. They work for the same hospital group.

I should also mention that Rachel and Stephanie are much younger than I am. Many of my Journal friends are much younger than I am. Stephanie is 27. Rachel is 28. They live more in a digital world than I do.

I learned something else about them on Nov. 6. It involves the total awesomeness of celebrity. I'll get to it.

It was a fine worship service. Toward the end, the senior pastor encouraged us to stay focused on Jesus through the week and to look for opportunities when we meet others to ask if they have a church home and, if not, suggest Salem in Ladue.

After the service, we decided to lunch at Moe's Southwest Grill; it's on Olive Boulevard in Creve Coeur. We could easily have chosen Sweet Tomatoes or Stir Crazy in the same center. But as fate would have it, we didn't. We chose Moe's.

The four of us were in a line, placing our orders. I was last in line. Stephanie was next to last.

The restaurant was dark. From where we stood, to look back at the entrance meant staring into the sunlit glass facade.

There was a tall man with a black cap working his smart phone behind me. He was backlit so it was difficult — at least for me — to discern his features. Actually, I don't think I tried to discern his features. I was focused on food.

This is when Stephanie looked past me and asked the man if he was Matt Holliday.

As I looked, the man seemed to have a nimbus about his head — like the nimbus that hovers at the head of the Christ child in Renaissance paintings.

The man did not speak. He simply nodded. As if to say: Yes, that is who they say I am.

I thought: Wow! Matt Holliday! Should I get the rice bowl or fajitas?

Stephanie, on the other hand, articulated a response to that momentous nod.

"That's awesome," she said.

Rachel and Stephanie, struggling to find air, asked the cashier for two sheets of paper and when he gave them only one I thought they were going to jump the counter and stuff his head in the pinto beans.

They waited like hunters at a salt lick for Matt Holliday to make his way to the cashier.

The wall hangings vibrated as Rachel hissed to Jeff, who had mistakenly sat down at the far side of the restaurant thinking he was going to eat lunch: "Get over here and take our picture."

She said this in the same tone you would use to address a hated-neighbor's dog that is about to take a dump on your front lawn.

Matt Holliday signed two autographs and then posed for a photo in which he is smiling. After that, he took his enchiladas and ascended into his white Cadillac Escalade.

But before he had even left the parking lot, Rachel and Stephanie had posted their photo on Facebook. Every 15 seconds they checked to see if friends had commented.

The cashier then graciously took the time to inform us that because of the inconvenience Rachel and Stephanie had imposed on Matt Holliday he had made the executive decision to give the millionaire ballplayer a 60 percent discount on those enchiladas.

As the four of us broke bread, we tried to fathom the meaning of this fateful meeting.

We pondered the two words Stephanie had uttered: "That's awesome."

Was she saying that it's awesome to be Matt Holliday?

Can any life be all awesome all the time?

Did Matt Holliday think his life was all that awesome when that moth got stuck in his ear?

We also reflected on Rachel's words to Matt Holliday.

As she fanned herself like a Southern belle with a case of "the vapors," she had said: "I saw you at the World Series celebration."

Did she expect him to respond: "Was that you?"

We eventually concluded that there possibly might have been more thoughtful words to have spoken to Matt Holliday. Rachel could have invited him to the hospital where she works for an examination of his injured hand — with an "enchilada-like" 60 percent discount.

Then it hit us that we had so quickly lost our focus. No one had asked Matt Holliday if he had a church home.

Steve Pokin is a columnist for the Suburban Journals. He can be reached at spokin@yourjournal.com or by phone at 314-744-5704. His column is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PokinAround.

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