By TINA COX, Contributing Writer
My weekly phone calls from John Short brighten the gloomiest of days. There will be score predictions, a health update of Ellie Mae (John’s beagle), and at least one “okie dokie.”
There will also be a request of two plain hot dogs, an Ale-8 (from a machine) prior to tip off at Rupp Arena, if I am planning on being there. Always there is a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart. That is just what John does, spreads positivity.
A few weeks ago during a John Short phone call we were discussing the women’s basketball team. John said we need some really tall women to play and to my surprise he asked me, “Do you know why Maria Montgomery didn’t play basketball? She would have been a good un.”
I explained to John that Maria was a cheerleader at Boyle County High School and I thought her modeling gig was going well for her.
“Okie dokie” he replied. “I have always wanted to meet her. Do you think you could make that happen?”
To my surprise when I contacted Maria her immediate response was, “I have wanted to meet him for years!”
The meeting was set up 30 minutes prior to tip-off of the Mississippi State game Tuesday night. I told John to make sure he was there and I would bring him down to meet Maria.
In typical John Short fashion he was early and immediately called me when he arrived at Rupp to let me know he was ready.
John gave Maria his game prediction (CATS by 15 biguns) and of course asked Maria why she didn’t play basketball. She explained dribbling would be a problem and the giggles that followed from John were award winning.
Maria told John she had been listening to him for years on the radio (sports call-in shows) and was honored to meet him. “Well, thank ya,” John responded as a blush appeared his cheeks.
Maria guided John to the court for a picture, leading him gently arm in arm. This was the part I might have been a little misty eyed.
They agreed to meet again soon and John made me promise I would print and send him a copy of the picture.