Quite a long time between shirts from 1998 until 2016. Tragically, our dearly beloved Matthew Borowski succumbed to cancer in 2002, leaving bereft everyone who had had the good fortune to know him. His cheerful disposition, generosity and can-do spirit are an inspiration for all of us. As often is the case, his charismatic nature was the glue that brought and kept people together. Of course, life endures and the survivors mourn and must carry on, even though we can never forget. On a trivial note, in the intervening years I took up the game of competitive croquet. In 2015 I learned that a controversial photograph had surfaced, purporting to show the Kid and other Regulators in the midst of a croquet match. True or not, the unlikely pastime seemed to me an apt subject for a new shirt. Around the same time, during Matt and Becky’s daughter Alena’s wedding, our fellow Pageant-goer of years past, Keith Burns, suggested a grand reunion at the 2016 Pageant. Many of us managed to attend, enjoy Becky’s hospitality and bask in the glow of old friendships.
The models for Olinger and the Kid are respectively Rick and Charles Cooper, fellow members of the Chicago Croquet Club. The conceit is: “The historical record is incomplete, but a scrawled entry in the Tunstall-McSween ledger book indicates that the Kid had a nice 4-ball break going when a continuation shot took a bad hop at a fire-ant hill and subsequently ricocheted off a tent-peg at Colonel Dudley’s encampment, going out of bounds. Ollinger was able to score a Hail-Mary hoop shoot and proceeded to destroy the Kid’s position. Bad luck for the Kid’s faction continued as the Murphy-Dolan mob burned down the McSween home. McSween and 4 others were killed, though a number of others, including the Kid, escaped under the cover of darkness.” This nonsense probably only makes sense to someone like me, who knows a lot about croquet and the Lincoln County War.