By Gary Kopycinski
My high school students are always touched by the story of the yellow rose Myron Cope tells in his book, Double Yoi! The legendary sportscaster, the Voice (and what a voice) of the Pittsburgh Steelers for four decades, died three years ago this month.
His autobiography is smart. Cope labored over each and every word when he wrote. The following is my favorite story from that book. Today, as the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, I offer this today in Myron’s memory.
Spending much of his life an agnostic, Myron dedicates the chapter Mildred, the Bad-Luck Girl to his departed wife, writing directly to her.
As Myron tells it:
You left us, to be exact, on September 20, 1994. No more than several days later, I glanced out the window of my study, which looked out onto the front lawn. You had told me early on, about 20 years before, "You’re the gardener." I was a lazy gardener, so our three rose bushes dwindled to two, and those two became scraggly. Only in spring and early summer would they pop up a few yellow roses. Yellow was your favorite color, so I yelled for you whenever I saw a rose coming into full bloom. now, I noticed through my office window in lat September that a single rose had begun to bloom on the tallest branch of an otherwise bare bush. That rose fairly bust into fullness, huge and glorious. I beckoned Elizabeth, Mom, and you surely must know that as close as the two of you had been, she had reacted to your death horrendously, unbelieving. "Look," I said. "Do you suppose Mom is speaking to us through that rose?"
Do you think she’s telling us to hang tough?"
Through the rest of September and into October — a brisk, sometimes downright cold, October — our yellow rose stood robust atop that branch. On the final day of October, the rose wilted and died.
So ended my agnosticism.
As you know, Mom, if you’ve been able to look in on us after our rose died, I have not felt called to alter my life any more than I had after I nearly died in Dr. Laughin’ office. But I know you’re there.
Thank you so, so much.
No agnosticism here. We believe.
Some songs to cheer all, and, last, a word from Myron on The Terrible Towel.
The first is by the Trel-Tones:
Next, my personal favorite, from Gene the Werewolf (and, from my perch out here in Park Forest, Illinois, I have no idea who that is. "Yoi! Double Yoi!"):
Here’s a blast from "that 70’s" past:
And, of course, the original Steelers fight song written by Jimmy Psihoulis in 1973 (words below):