Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The story of the Burgermiester, and how a snowmobile can be much more than a snowmobile.

This is the Burgermiester, First let me address my addiction, My name is Ray and I have an obsession with vintage and Classic snowmobiles.

I have sleds that are worth a lot of money, Some people do cars, some do guns, others do watches. My deal is sleds.

This is the story of the Burgermiester, Years ago for some reason I had the chance to meet Rosemont Mayor Donald Stephens, He struck me as a mans man, I had heard allegations of the way this guy ran his town. This was also a man who faced two federal investigations and was found innocent both times. No surprise to me, He was as I remember, a tough honest businessman who was slowly building a town that would make every other mayor blush from envy.

Well one day someone had said something negative on US99.5 about the Mayor, I think it was an old newsperson. That's where I stepped in and said whoa, this guy is straight up, so shut up. done. Move on....

Some years later I was doing the St Jude radiothon, and I get a call from Mayor Bradley Stephens, Donald's son, Brad had won the mayoral election in the wake of his legendary fathers run. By the way, Donald was the nations longest serving mayor ever. Brad said, "I hear your raising money for cancer, Can I donate?" He showed up an hour later with 10,000.00 from his campaign fund. Out of that day I had found a new guy. And mind you it wasn't the amount, It was the heart that that it was donated with, and as I recall it was an anonymous donation, no grandstanding, Just take the check.

From that day at Navy Pier my friendship with Brad was born. Years down the road he tells me "Hey I have some old sleds", I say "what ya got" That's when he tells me about the sleds, a 1982 Kawasaki 550 interceptor, and a Polaris 1985 Indy 600 SE, Both highly collectable, and better yet in pristine condition.

You have to understand something, When you tell me you have sleds,  I want them. Its like putting candy in front of a baby. I'm relentless, I cant sleep, I have night sweats , and yes I will harass you until I take possession, Now mind you, this is without a doubt one of the most polarizing political figures in the state. Now keep in mind that this guys trying to lure the Chicago Cubs to his town, But today he's enetrtaining some  crazed radio lunatic on a day long excursion to his family's vacation retreat to look at old snowmobiles. Priceless.

When I see what awaits I'm just dumbfounded. The sleds are awesome and the familys artifacts are rare to say the least. But I'm really taken back by what I can tell was once  a family playground. Among all the cool stuff I cant help but go back to 1982, and what it must have been like to just be able to bask in what has to be the most epic hang outs of all time.

Suddenly it became more than my quest for the" Burgermiester" I was in a history lesson that I hadn't planned on attending, In the eloquence of this play land I was privy to the fact that every family has it challenges and this one was no different. Perhaps I misread, But during my picking, there seemed to be something a lost childhood there.  I wont go into details. But the current mayor of this bustling little metropolis deserves all the good things he has. He has earned them.

At the end of the day the "Burgermiester" (German for the Mayor) was in my garage, along with some other really cool collectables, But cooler than that was the ride with "My guy" Brad Stephens. He's a smart man, and I learned more about Illinois politics than I need to know. More should follow his lead and this state just may get back on track.

On Saturday July 6th at Zanies, I get to stand up and roast this guy, Really should be an easy target, That's was what I thought when I was asked about a month ago. But as I procrastinate and the date gets closer, its a daunting task. Its easy to get up and blast on people you hardly know. In most cases I would relish the opportunity.

As cutting as I can be with my sarcasm, so far I'm at a loss. I guess I will let the writers do the job, And I will let this serve notice that if you live in Rosemont consider yourself lucky, Your mayor truly is the "Burgermiester" and you and I are better for knowing him.


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