"We like aboy who will look his coach right in the eye when he is talking to him. If aboy comes up to me and starts talking while he is looking at the ground, Ibegin to wonder if he isn't hiding something from me. We ask all our men tostep right up, address us clearly and look directly at us during the entireconversation. This is a good habit for a boy to acquire and carry throughlife...We also stress the proper method of meeting people. The lads shouldshake their hands firmly and inform them that they are glad to meetthem."—NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL by Frank Leahy, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1949.
Freddie Leahy,who will never see 5 again, listened carefully to the man crouched beside himin the great living room of the big red-brick and white-trim house overlookingLake Michigan. Together, the man and boy somehow conjured up a picture of afootball coach giving last-minute instructions to a second-string quarterbackbefore sending him streaking into the game.
"Put outyour hand, Freddie," the man said softly. "That's the boy. Now look himright in the eye. That's it. Now say, 'I'm very glad to meet you, sir.'"
Freddie Leahysuddenly whirled and looked at his sister, Mary, who is 4, and at his brother,Christopher, who is 3, then peered out the window at Lake Michigan, sparklingin the Sunday morning sunshine.
October 31, 1955
Freddie turnedback and looked at his father, who is also the father of Mary and Christopherand Jimmy and Jerry and Flossie and Sue and Frank Jr.
"I want theflag," said Freddie.
Frank Leahy, thewinningest coach Notre Dame has had since Knute Rockne, shook his head."Say, I am very glad to meet you sir.' "
Freddie took along breath and said almost all of it.
"Sir,"said Frank Leahy, gently.
"Sir,"said Freddie, letting go the visitor's hand and looking his father right in theeye, "I want the flag."
"I want theflag," said Mary.
Frank Leahystood up and patted Freddie on the head.
"All right,where is the flag?"
The childrenpointed to the mantel over the fireplace. Frank Leahy walked to the mantel andtook down the Notre Dame pennant that had been waved from a boxful of Leahys atthe game in South Bend the day before. Christopher and Mary and Freddie heldout their hands. Frank Leahy looked at them and debated the problem.
"Well, now,let's see," he said. "Freddie, I think you and Mary ought to let yourlittle brother have the flag first. Then he'll let you have it after a littlewhile, won't you, Christopher?"
Christophernodded happily, took the pennant and, waving it, marched off with Freddie andMary and out the front door and onto the lawn.
Beaming, FrankLeahy watched them go. Then he turned, shaking his head, and walked to the sofaby the fireplace and sank into it. He bore no resemblance at all to thecharacter of the football newsreels two short seasons ago: the wildlygesticulating sideline marcher with the bashed-in felt hat. This was adifferent man altogether: composed and calm, smiling and youthful at 47, withhis clear blue eyes and his ruddy complexion, his wavy hair and the handsomeIrish charm of him. With the strong arms and the broad shoulders of a footballtackle, he was comfortable in slacks, sport shirt and a sleeveless sweater.
"Floss [Mrs.Leahy] and I call this house 'the stadium,' " he chuckled. He looked aroundthe living room and nodded agreeably at its comforts. "It was built by aChicago businessman. Floss found it about five years ago. It was anadvantageous purchase."
(The Leahy homesits on a hilltop acre in Long Beach, Indiana, just outside Michigan City andabout 30 miles from the Notre Dame campus.)
Frank Leahylistened to a compliment on his eight children and pondered it.
"We hopethey are courteous children," he said. He thought a moment and, his voiceprojecting a little, as from a speaking platform, he continued: "I believethat children should be taught discipline and courtesy at as early an age aspossible. I am aware that there are those whose views are diametrically opposedto my own. I do not doubt the sincerity of these people, but I disagree withthem. I think it is a lack of discipline within the family that is responsiblefor the difficulties some of our young people find themselves in. I feel quitecertain that if a sense of discipline could be made to permeate our children,we would have fewer worries about juvenile delinquency."
He waved an armaround the room.
"Here in ourhome," he said, "we hold family meetings when we can. I have been awaya great deal lately [Leahy is vice-president of Merritt-Chapman & Scott,the construction firm of which his friend, Louis Wolf-son, is board chairman],but when I have completed my present assignment, we will resume the meetings.We find them very worthwhile, We discuss family projects, assign little taskssuch as care of bathrooms, shining of shoes, so on and so forth, and we gradethe children on performance. For the one who receives the best grade, there isa prize of some kind. For the one at the bottom of the list, there may be somediscipline, say, the temporary loss of a privilege. We find the children enjoythe meetings as much as Floss and I do. We believe that all children arehappier when they have a clear idea of what is expected of them."
The screen doorin the entrance hall opened and closed and Leahy stood up. He peered out at agreat hulk of a man advancing slowly into the living room. There was no hint ofrecognition between them as Leahy walked around the sofa and toward thestranger. The big man stopped and stared as Leahy came toward him and for amoment it seemed that he might turn and run. Then Leahy's voice rang out:"How do you do, sir! My name is Frank Leahy!"
The big mangestured vaguely with the felt hat in his hand. "Frank, you don't rememberme. I'm—"
"JimReilly!" Leahy exploded, thrusting out his hand. "You old son of agun!"
The big manrelaxed and grinned. "Doggone it, Frank," he said, shaking his head asif he couldn't believe it, "you did remember me!"
Frank Leahythrew an arm around his neck. "Why wouldn't I remember you, Jim! We were atNotre Dame together, weren't we? Jim, how long has it been?"
"Nineteentwenty-seven, Frank," exclaimed Jim Reilly. "Say, I want to apologizefor busting in this way."
"Apologizenothing!" cried Leahy. "Come on in and sit down!"
"No, no,Frank," Jim Reilly protested. "I'll tell you how it was. I drove backwith a few of the boys to see the game yesterday and—"
"Where areyou living now, Jim?" Leahy broke in.
"Spalding,Nebraska," said Jim.
"How arethings out there, Jim?"
"Dry,Frank," said Jim Reilly. "We had a very dry summer. But, look, I justthought I'd drive the boys through here on the chance we'd run into you atchurch."
"Jim, I'mashamed of myself," said Frank Leahy, "but the fact is I overslept. I'musually at the 9:30 but this morning I'm going to the 11:30."
"So Iunderstand," said Jim Reilly. "I inquired at church and someoneintroduced me to your two daughters."
"Sue andFlossie went to the 9:30," said Leahy.
"Yes,"said I'm Reilly, "I met them. They are lovely, charming girls."
"I hope theywere courteous?" said Leahy, quickly.
"Extremelyso," said Jim Reilly. "They said I'd probably catch you here. Doggoneit, you look fine, Frank!"
"I feel alot better since I departed from the coaching profession, Jim. But where arethese friends of yours?"
"They're outin the car, Frank."
"Well, totell you the truth, Frank," said Jim Reilly, "they would love to sayhello."
"You bringthem in, Jim!" It was an order.
Jim Reillylooked at his old friend in helpless admiration. The whole story was written inhis face: the long years of claiming friendship with the most famous coach inthe country, then the long-promised trip back to Notre Dame, the needling ofthe friends who waited in the car ("You're not going back home withoutlooking up your old pal Frank Leahy, are you?") and then theshowdown—better than he had dared to dream.
"I'll go get'em!" cried Jim Reilly. "And we won't stay but a moment!"
Leahy walkedback and forth, shaking his head. "I haven't seen Jim Reilly for 28years," he said.
Suddenly, fromanother part of the house, other Leahys began to appear: Frank Jr., 19, asophomore at Notre Dame (all Leahy sons have Notre Dame scholarships), Sue, 17,and Flossie, 14, both in high school, Jerry, 11, and Jimmy, 7. Introductionswere made all around, with no prompting needed from Prank Leahy himself.
The screen dooropened and Jim Reilly led his three friends, all in their middle years, intothe entrance hall. He introduced them as Ned Murphy, Leo Semper and Jim Conway,all of Spalding, Nebraska. In the lull right after the introductions Sue Leahystepped forward: "Excuse me, gentlemen," she said, bowing to them, thenturning to her father. "Dad, would it be all right if I took theOldsmobile?"
"Why,"said Frank Leahy, reflecting just an instant, "why, yes, Sue. I'll drive tochurch in the station wagon."
"Thank you,Dad," said Sue, bowing to the guests, "and I'm very glad to have metyou all."
One by one theother young Leahys took their leave, with expressions of pleasure at having meteveryone in the room.
"Say,Frank," blurted Jim Reilly, "you've got to get to church. We'll justrun along and—"
"COME IN ANDSIT DOWN"
Frank Leahyshook his head. "You'll do nothing of the kind. Just come on in and sitdown. I've got plenty of time." He herded them into the living room andthey took their places around the fireplace.
Responsibilityplainly weighed heavily on Jim Reilly. His friends, in contrast, looked at easeand prepared to make the most of the audience.
"Coach, Isee where you're on television," said Jim Conway as Jim Reilly twisted hishat in his hands.
"Yes,"said Frank Leahy, "I am appearing on television every Friday evening underthe sponsorship of Zerone and Zerex. Those are antifreeze compounds made by DuPont."
"Iguess," said Ned Murphy, "you don't find that as tough ascoaching?"
Leahy smiled andshook his head. "No, I can safely say that the pressures are considerablygreater in the coaching profession."
"Say,"exclaimed Ned Murphy, "I can remember seeing you on television when youwere coaching, with that hat of yours on sideways and looking prettywild!"
Jim Reillypaled, but Frank Leahy laughed indulgently.
"Oh,yes," he said. "I suppose I used to get pretty wound up."
"Thepressure must have been terrific, Frank," said Jim Reilly.
"Thepressure was terrific, as you say, Jim," Leahy said, "but in my casethe pressure was largely self-imposed."
The guestsleaned forward.
"Is that afact, Frank?" Jim Reilly asked.
"That is afact, Jim," said Leahy. "There was no undue emphasis on winning everygame by the authorities at Notre Dame. But the Notre Dame coach is conscious ofother demands. Notre Dame is not an ordinary team; it has a great tradition tolive up to. There are the thousands of alumni all over the country. A coach isconscious of them as he sends his team out on the field. Then the coach isconscious of what I call the synthetic alumni, the millions who never attendedNotre Dame but have adopted the team as their own. The coach thinks of themtoo. He hears the cheers of the thousands present in the stadium, and it allbuilds up in him until he gets the feeling that it is absolutely unthinkablethat the Notre Dame team should go down in defeat."
The guests shooktheir heads in awe.
"I'll betyou're relieved to be out of it, Frank," exclaimed Jim Reilly.
"I have noregrets about my departure from the coaching profession, Jim," said FrankLeahy. "It is a job for a younger man. And Terry Brennan is doing amagnificent job."
"And now youget a chance to spend more time with your family," said Jim Conway.
"Not as muchas I will a little later on," said Leahy. "But that was a big factor inmy decision to retire from the coaching profession." He was silent amoment. Then he said slowly: "I can remember coming here to this house andthe children would come in and speak to me and I would look at them withoutseeing them or without hearing what they said. I was that preoccupied with myapproaching assignment."
Jim Reillyturned and glared at his friends with a what-have-I-been-telling-you look.
"Sometimesduring a game the thought would flash through my mind: 'What am I doing downhere? I have done all I can to prepare the lads for this game. Why can't I situp in the stands with Floss and the children and enjoy the contest?' "
No one could saya word for a moment after this staggering confidence. Finally Jim Reilly pulledhimself out of the sofa and rose to his feet.
"Frank,"he said firmly, "we're going to run on. You've got to get to church and alland we've taken up enough of your time."
The others gotup reluctantly.
"Now, wait aminute," Leahy said. "There's plenty of time. How about a littlerefreshment of some kind?" He pointed at one of the guests. "I'll bet Ican persuade you, Mr. Murphy." Murphy, a short, gray-haired man wearingglasses, laughed. "Coach, let me tell you something," he chuckled."These three fellows I'm traveling with are regularprohibitionists!"
"Allright," laughed Leahy, "something for you then!"
"Hold on,coach," Mr. Murphy said, still laughing. "There was a time when I coulddo my share, but I had a heart attack and haven't had a drink since!"
Leahy shook hishead in sympathy.
"That was 16years ago!" exclaimed Ned Murphy, slapping his leg.
Everyone laughedand Jim Reilly stepped forward. "Here's the payoff, Frank! Murphy owns aliquor store!"
After thelaughter had subsided, Jim Reilly put out his hand. "Frank, it's been justwonderful seeing you."
"What areyou running off for?" Leahy protested. "Why don't you stay and have abite of lunch?"
"No,no," Reilly and his friends chorused. "We're due in Chicago thisafternoon."
"Well, Iwish you had more time, gentlemen," Leahy said. "Would you have a fewmoments to come back and see the den? There are some trophies there that mightbe of interest to you."
The guestslooked at Reilly and he nodded. Then Leahy led the way to his office and denjust off the entrance hall. It is a comfortably large, air-conditioned roomwith desks for Leahy and his secretary, Harry Foster, who was on his staff atNotre Dame.
Leahy pointed totwo shelves holding a dozen trophies. "These were won in swimmingcompetition by the children," he said. Waving an arm around the room, heexplained: "The other things are mementos of the years I spent in the Navyand in the coaching profession."
Before he couldcontinue, Flossie Leahy, his 14-year-old daughter, walked into the room.
"Excuse me,gentlemen," she said.
"Dad, Mr.McBride is here with Mr. and Mrs. Leggett from St. Louis."
"Oh,"said Leahy, turning to Reilly and his friends. "Will you gentlemen excuseme?"
"Certainly,go right ahead," said Jim Reilly.
"I'll beright back," said Leahy.
After he hadgone, Reilly led his friends around the room.
On the wall werethe Scripps-Howard Coach of the Year award, the Man of the Year citation of theFootball Writers Association, the Paul H. Helms award for "noteworthycoaching achievement." There was a photograph of Admiral Chester W. Nimitzas he put his signature to the Japanese surrender, and at the bottom Nimitz hadwritten: "To Frank Leahy, a worthy horseshoe opponent and an old friend andshipmate...."
There was aresolution from the state legislature of Massachusetts adopted when Leahy leftBoston College to coach at Notre Dame. It commended him for "service to theyouth of America...and...the ideals for which he stood and practiced."
There was aphotograph of Leahy golfing with President Eisenhower and a framed "DearFrank" letter from the President. There were pictures of Leahy's nationalchampionship teams of 1943, '46, '47 and '49. The books on the shelves includedmany on religious and inspirational themes, as well as biographies. Among themwere Witness by Whittaker Chambers, You Can Change the World by Father JamesKeller, the collected works of Stephen Vincent Benet, a life of Gladstone, TheCaine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, Blessed Are the Meek by Zofia Kossak, GertrudeLawrence as Mrs. A. by Richard Aldrich and Champagne Before Breakfast by HyGardner. Over Leahy's desk was framed "A Game Guy's Prayer," written(not by him) in sporting terms and begging help in dealing with life'suppercuts.
Ned Murphy brokethe silence. "Say, Jim," he said, "do you think Frank would mindautographing our ticket stubs?"
The othersreached into their pockets and drew out stubs.
Jim Reillylooked at the stubs and breathed through his teeth. "He won't mind," hesaid slowly, "unless he's changed one heck of a lot since we were at NotreDame together!"
Just then Leahyhimself reappeared with Bob McBride, a former Notre Dame star and line coachthere under Leahy. With McBride were his friends from St. Louis. Before theintroductions could get under way, a quorum of Leahy children were on the sceneand joined the handshaking, looking each guest in the eye, getting each nameexactly right.
There was abrief discussion of the 1955 Notre Dame team and Jerry Leahy said, "Boy,that Lewis and that Hornung."
His fathernodded in approval. "Lewis," he said, "will be one of the all-timegreats and I think Hornung will be the greatest quarterback Notre Dame everhad."
"Everhad?" exclaimed Murphy.
"Everhad," said Leahy. "He can do everything—run, throw, kick, and he's agreat defensive player too, if you'll watch him. People frequently forget towatch the defensive play."
Mary Leahy, the4-year-old, came in, dressed for church. Her father immediately took her in hisarms and had her repeat "I'm very glad to meet you" to one guest afteranother around the room. Jim Reilly brought up the subject of the autographsand Leahy was delighted to oblige. Suddenly it was time for everyone to go andas they filed out, Jim Reilly whispered, "You've certainly been wonderful,Frank, and I appreciate it. I tried to get you on the phone a couple of yearsago, but of course you were pretty tied up at that time."
"Call me anytime, Jim," said Leahy. "You can always reach me through mysecretary."
The big housewas quiet until Frank Leahy's return from the 11:30 Mass was heralded by hisown voice ringing out at the front door.
"Floss!"he called to Mrs. Leahy, "Mary was a little angel in church!"
He sent Mary offto report the details to her mother in another part of the house and then hewalked into the den, sank into a red leather chair and put his feet up on theottoman.
The talk turnedto big-time college football and the critics who suggest that the game shouldbe abolished in the colleges and left entirely to the professionals.
"Iwonder," said Leahy, frowning, "if people who talk like that reallymean what they say or whether they are just trying to attract attention tothemselves."
He drew up aknee and kicked at the ottoman. "I think it would be a very bad thing forthe country if we didn't have the big college games on Saturdays, with thestadiums filled from coast to coast. These games provide people with anopportunity to release their pent-up emotions and to come together in awholesome atmosphere of good fellowship. I never get over the thrill of it.Yesterday, when the band played and the Notre Dame team came running out on thefield, a chill ran up my spine."
He clasped hishands in front of him and raised his voice as if addressing a crowd.
"But thegreatest moment comes," he said, "when the players and spectators standat attention and the band plays our national anthem as Old Glory isunfurled."
He paused andthen lowered his voice again.
"Footballand all competitive sports have a very good effect on our young people, eventhose who do not actively participate. They become permeated with the ideas ofself-reliance and giving the best that is in them no matter what the oddsagainst them may be. They carry these ideas into their daily lives. We saw itin the war when young Americans proved more than a match for the highly trainedbut regimented foe. We see the effect of the best sporting spirit when a BabeDidrikson becomes a victim of cancer and meets it by fighting back with all thedetermination and courage she displayed as an athlete."
A FAVOR FORFRANK JR.
There was aknock at the door.
"Comein," said Frank Leahy.
Frank Leahy Jr.entered the room and apologized for the interruption. "Dad," he said,"I'm starting back to school now."
"All right,son," said Leahy. "Are they driving you in the station wagon?"
"Yes,sir," said Frank Jr.
"Goteverything you need?" his father said.
"Well,"said Frank Jr., "I wonder if you could spare some golf balls."
"Are yougoing to play or just practice?"
"I thoughtI'd play a round next week."
"Allright," said Leahy, "take what's in my bag."
"Thanks,Dad," said Frank Jr., shaking hands. "I'll see you nextSaturday."
"Good,son," said Leahy.
"I'm veryglad to have met you, sir," said Frank Jr. before turning to go.
Frank Leahywatched him proudly as he left. "He comes home every chance he gets,"he said. "He misses his brothers and sisters."
Stretching hislegs out on the ottoman Leahy mused, half to himself: "He came to me at thestart of this term and said, 'Dad, I'd like to have a pretty serious talk withyou.' I said, 'All right, son, let's go into the den and talk things over.'"
Leahy leanedback in the chair and rubbed his hands together.
"After wewere settled down I said, 'Well, son, what's on your mind?' Then he said, 'Dad,here it is. I'm eligible for the varsity this year, but the truth is I justdon't believe I can ever be the kind of player your son would be expected tobe. There it is, Dad.'
"It was aserious matter with the boy. He felt that he had an obligation to make thevarsity. So I said to him, 'Son, I'm glad you brought this whole matter outinto the open. I've been wanting to have a serious talk with you. The fact is,son, you're not heavy enough, you're not fast enough to make a Notre Damequarterback.' But then I told him, 'You shouldn't feel bad about that. Iwouldn't have been the greatest player in the world even if I hadn't beeninjured. And, anyway, the fact that I could make the team and was subsequentlyits coach doesn't impose any obligation on you. You don't have to play footballat all. Sometimes some of us are given physical endowments, some of us aregiven other talents. A great athlete won't necessarily have a son as good as heis. Rocky Marciano's father is a very small man. But now, the fact that you'renot able to make the Notre Dame team doesn't mean that you can't be All-Americain other ways—you can be an All-America student, an All-America son, anAll-America big brother to your little brothers and sisters—as you are now.'"
(Even if FrankLeahy Jr. had decided to try out for the team this year, he could not have madeit. Continuing minor surgery has prevented him from playing anything morestrenuous than golf for the present.)
The elder Leahygot to thinking about quarterbacks in general. He repeated what he had saidearlier: that Paul Hornung was likely to be the greatest ever at Notre Dame.Then he continued on next page went on: "A quarterback should be aself-reliant thinker. At Notre Dame we concentrated on the mental training of aquarterback. Generally speaking, of course, a quarterback must try to get aheadof the opposition, much the same as a pitcher tries to get ahead of the batterby getting the first ball over for a strike. A quarterback will try for atleast four yards on first down by running his best back over his best blockerand, if possible, through a defensive weakness. Then, if he gets his fouryards, he has two or three downs to get his remaining six yards—depending onhis position in the field.
"But aquarterback has to be many things. I remember a story Knute Rockne used to tellabout the two men he called quarterbacks A and B. Quarterback A, according toRock, was a positive genius. He never failed to call precisely the right playat the right time. He would send the team marching steadily down the field towithin a few yards of the goal. But then something would happen. He could notsend his team over the goal line. He would lose possession of the ball and theopponents would kick out of danger. Then quarterback B might be sent into thegame. He was anything but a genius. He did not have the same instinct forcalling the right play. But, somehow or other, he might manage to get the teamwithin scoring distance. Then he would call upon the lads for the great effort.This time the lads would put the ball across. Why? Because, according to Rock,they wanted to make quarterback B look good, they wanted to score for him.Rockne said that quarterback B had the quality of leadership."
A TREAT FORJERRY
There was a tapat the door.
"Comein," said Frank Leahy, raising up in the leather chair.
Jerry Leahy, 11,Jimmy, the 7-year-old, and a friend named Mike trooped into the room.
"Excuse theinterruption," said Jerry. He turned to his father. "Dad, a slightproblem."
Leahy grinned."Financial?" he asked.
"Yes,sir," said Jerry. "We'd like to go to the movies."
"How muchare the movies?" said Leahy.
"If it's agood picture, it's 40¢."
"Assumingit's a good picture, you'd need $1.20."
"I've got myown money," said Mike.
"Yes,sir," said Jerry. "And I'd like to treat Mike."
"I've got myown money," Mike repeated. "I can treat you."
Frank Leahy tookout his wallet and looked in it. "I don't have anything less than a10," he said.
Jerry shruggedhis shoulders.
Leahy handed himthe bill. "See if your mother has change."
"Yes,sir," said Jerry, turning to go and directing the other boys ahead of him.At the door Jerry turned and said: "Excuse the interruption." He closedthe door behind him.
Frank Leahyleaned back in his chair.
"One time Iwas at a dinner with Harry Stuhldreher [one of Notre Dame's famous FourHorsemen] and he was speaking of Rockne. In the course of his talk Harry said,I think more of Rock rubbed off on Frank than on me.' "
Leahy wassmiling at the memory.
" 'One thingI do know,' Stuhldreher said, 'Leahy has made the rules changers work harderthan Rockne ever did.' "
With obviouspride, Leahy sat up straight and counted off on his fingers: "Harrymentioned the deliberate kicking out of bounds on the kickoff, thetwo-quarterbacks play, the so-called sucker shift and the feigning of injuriesthat caused so much discussion in the Iowa game of 1953—although Iowa had doneit the week before and other teams were doing it all the time."
(Thetwo-quarterbacks play actually had two men stand directly behind the center inquarterback position. The sucker shift called for a sudden movement to trickthe opposing team into an offside, which meant a five-yard penalty in NotreDame's favor.)
"A NotreDame coach," Leahy continued, "has to be changing all the time, keepinga jump ahead of his opposition. And every team is out to get Notre Dame. If Ihad been coaching another team, I would be out to get Notre Dame too. But thesuggestion that any of our innovations was unethical was absurd. Why, if Ithought I was deliberately doing something unethical, I couldn't live withmyself. As for the feigning of injuries, I remarked facetiously at the timethat what really happened was that the Notre Dame boy happened to look up atthe clock, saw that only a few seconds remained in the first half and thatNotre Dame was losing. This was such an incredible state of affairs, I said,that the lad fainted."
There was aknock at the door.
"Comein," said Leahy.
Jerry and JimmyLeahy and their friend Mike walked into the room. Jerry held out a handful ofbills. "I got the change," he said.
"How muchdid you say you needed, son?" said Leahy.
"Well,"said Jerry, "it's 406 for the movie and I'd like to treat Mike."
"I've got myown money," protested Mike.
"Allright," said Leahy. "Suppose you take three dollars."
"That wouldbe fine," said Jerry.
"And ifthere's any change, you bring it back to me."
"Oh, yes,sir," said Jerry, taking the money. He turned to the visitor. "Excusethe interruption. I'm very glad to have met you, sir."
"I'm veryglad to have met you, sir," said Jimmy.
Mike wavedshortly and followed them out of the room.
Leahy stood upand put on a pair of dark glasses and proposed a walk around the grounds.
"I'll soonbe able to spend more time here," he said, standing for a moment on theporch before the two stories of glass brick that frame the entrance to hishome. "My boss, Louis Wolfson, has agreed that I can work here in my officethree weeks out of four."
He went down thesteps and strolled across the lawn.
"Right nowI'm making a sort of get-acquainted tour of our companies. I find itfascinating. I'm not so much interested in the products that are beingmanufactured by our companies. I am interested in the people. As I watch themat work, I get the feeling that if I could just get over to them the idea ofgiving their best, a little bit more than is required of them, I think I couldshow them that they would go home at night feeling more at peace withthemselves."
He kicked atsome crab grass and growled: "Alumni grass." He laughed quickly andadded: "Nothing wrong with alumni."
He circled thehouse and stopped by a crab apple tree and pointed over a rise in theground.
"There's aswimming pool over there, but we converted it into a sand pile for Christopherand Mary. We didn't see any need for a pool with Lake Michigan in our frontyard."
He stood staringat the crab apple tree. The ripened fruit covered the ground under the tree. Hefrowned.
"Gettingback to my job," he said after a moment, "eventually, within two orthree years, I'm going to devote all my time to working against juveniledelinquency. It's something Lou Wolfson wants me to do. We're working on ourplans right now. First of all, we want to work for stricter laws against thesale of narcotics. And for heavier penalties. I believe that a man who sellsdope to a youngster is committing a crime worse than murder. Then we're goingto try to reach parents through radio and television. Remind parents of theirresponsibilities. We want to work for more teachers and better pay forteachers."
He studied thecrab apple tree.
"A study ofjuvenile crimes," he said, raising his voice a little, "will revealthat most offenders never had a chance to participate in competitive sports.We're going to do something about that. We're going to try to create more spacefor playing fields in the big cities. And in every state we will endeavor torecruit three or four outstanding athletes and make it worth their while todevote three or four years to this work. We'll be prepared to pay a footballplayer, for instance, as much as he would earn by turning professional. LouWoltson is going to be very active in this thing. He's a fanatic on thesubject. He's got four children of his own. He's a wonderful father. A finecitizen. Clean."
"A WASTE, ASIN"
He started towalk away and suddenly whirled on the crab apple tree. He pointed an accusingfinger at it.
"Somebodyshould have picked these apples!" he barked. "That fruit should not beleft lying there on the ground. It's waste. It's a sin!"
Thrusting hishands in his pockets, he started around the house again, kicking at leaves,scowling at the patches of crab grass. He moved lightly, hunching his broadshoulders and then raising his head to sniff the breeze off the lake.
On the frontlawn little Mary Leahy, the 4-year-old, was waiting for him. He knelt downbeside her to hear a whispered confidence.
He stood up andput his hands on his hips and looked down at her.
"Allright," he said severely, "but first tell me who you are."
Mary Leahybrushed back her blonde hair and looked him right in the eye.
"Daddy'slittle angel," she piped.
Frank Leahyswept her up in his arms.
"Excuseme," he said in an aside. "There's a small crisis at the sandpile."
He set her downagain and Mary Leahy took his hand and led him away—Frank Leahy, yesterday'sterror of the gridirons whose eight disciplined children had, in one way oranother, this bright Sunday morning, courteously relieved him of a Notre Damepennant, all his golf balls, both his automobiles and $3 in cash.
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
FATHER AND MOTHER
SONS AND DAUGHTERS
AND OLD COLLEGE CHUMS