Recently, while gathering information for an Independence Examiner Blog on “inspiration,” I sat down to have lunch with Joyce “Bubbles” Althaus. Her late husband was in the Fighting Item Company in the United States Marines. The Missouri Mavericks received much inspiration from the Fighting Item Company’s heroic efforts in the Korean War.


I learned many things from Bubbles that day: always remember and treasure your friends, think often of your amazing experiences and NEVER think you are too old to try new things.


Four years ago Bubbles, who recently turned 81, had never attended a hockey game.  When her son, Bill, became the Mavericks’ beat writer for the Independence Examiner, Bubbles began attending the games he covered.  Bubbles found a new sport to enjoy, met professional athletes who are always willing to talk with the fans and made many new friends.  We are all blessed to have her attend Mavericks games.


NEVER say you are too old.


During our conversation, Bubbles introduced me to great people I had never heard of and painted a mental picture of others I have heard of but have only seen in photographs.


In the early 1950s, she played bass clarinet in one of the best collegiate bands in the nation-Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. This band played under the direction of the legendary K.K. Anderson and was known as Anderson’s Army.


Bubbles proudly told me after her time at Central Methodist and Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), she tutored four students in writing and helped them earn their degrees.  I imagine she helped many others.


She talked of the time her step-father, Curt Kytle, took her to Athens, Georgia where he attended the University of Georgia. He also introducing her to former Bulldog and College Football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi.


Bubbles also spoke of several Mavericks’ fans by name with kind words for each one.


I learned a new word in my conversation with this relatively new hockey fan when she said, “I don’t want people to think I’m a flibbertigibbet.”  Ironically, according to Wikipedia, “By extension this word has been used as a synonym for puck.”


Not only did I have a wonderful conversation, I gained a new word for my play-by-play lexicon, and I’m a better person because of my visit with Bubbles Althaus.