I hope I can do this story justice. First, a little background. Chuck Schodowski is a rather popular, famous even, television personality in Cleveland, Ohio. He hosted a late-night show for decades — “Big Chuck & Little John” was the final rendition. They showed horror films and did corny skits in which Big Chuck was the Kielbasa Kid. At some point or other, everyone watched. Everyone.
When he wasn’t busy being Big Chuck, Chuck Schodowski was an engineer at WJW, Channel 8.
One day, decades ago, Senator John Glenn was scheduled to be at the station for an interview with the news team. Chuck Schodowski was to go to the lobby and bring him back to the studio.
Chuck says he was a nervous wreck and wanted to say the right things. He wanted to be sure John Glenn knew what a hero he was to all of America, and he rehearsed his speech again and again as he walked to the lobby.
“Senator Glenn, I just want you to know what a hero I think you are.” No, too gushy.
“Senator Glenn, thank you for all you have done for America.” Better, but still not right.
The words weren’t quite perfect and he was nervous, but he was pretty sure he could do it. At the end of the long hall, there he was, Senator John Glenn. Chuck swallowed hard and started walking, the welcoming words still running through his head.
At that moment, Senator Glenn turned around and started walking toward Schodowski. “All I could see was those blue eyes.” Before a word could be said, Senator Glenn strode up, extended his hand, and exclaimed with joy, “BIG CHUCK!!!”