It was an early lunch to beat the crowd at Corky's BBQ.
It was Chuck "Pigskin Preacher" Monan, Curtis Eubanks and your trusty scribe.
Chuck is one of the two preachers at Pinnacle Church of Christ (John Phillips the other). Curtis is one of my oldest friends, and we were reunited when Pinnacle was born.
On this Wednesday, Chuck was upset. Chuck doesn't get upset. He's one of the most non-judgmental people in the world. He loves everyone, so he thinks everyone loves him.
Well, not everyone. There is that small group at his old church who led to his ousting after 16 years and building the membership to more than 1,300. One of those guys had taken a cheap shot at our church recently and it hurt Chuck's feelings.
Consider the source Chuck was told.
Suddenly, the doors to the kitchen flew open, and in came Joe Kleine, who stopped to talk to two ladies at a table and then came over and crunched his legs under our table.
Joe was wearing a Kansas City Chiefs hat, probably about a size 10.
And a Chiefs windbreaker, probably size 5XL.
Joe is 6-11 with a heart twice that big.
Before we could start a conversation he excused himself to help the seating host and bused two tables.
That's just Joe, no job too big or too small.
His partner, Tommy Hilburn, is the same way. They and their wives have been friends since their days at the University of Arkansas.
Their work ethic and a great diverse menu have make Corky's a mainstay in Little Rock and North Little Rock.
Joe works at both, just not at the same time as he sometimes claims.
These days, Joe is also working for the SEC Network. He's really good, and he's on a couple of shows at 103.7-FM, The Buzz.
This, though, is about his love for all things Kansas City. Mainly the Chiefs.
Joe doesn't get his exercise jumping on and off the Chiefs bandwagon.
He's been solidly in place for as long as he can remember. More than likely his dad was a Chiefs fan as are his brothers.
For sure, Joe's two sons, two daughters and two grandchildren are Chiefs fans.
His wife Dana grew up in Dallas, and she might still like the Cowboys, but she always shares Joe's passions and pride.
Joe is not going to any of the Super Bow parties he was invited to this Sunday. He's staying home.
"I want, no, I need to see the game," he said.
It has been 50 years since the Chiefs played in the Super Bowl.
Joe was 5 when the Chiefs lost the very first Super Bowl, and he was a 6-foot-5 fourth-grader when they won the fourth Super Bowl.
He's been waiting for another championship ever since. Sometimes even patiently.
Joe may not be the reason for Super Bowl season, but he's definitely the reason yours truly will be pulling for the Chiefs.
Growing up in Slater, Mo., 100 miles away from Kansas City, Joe remembers listening to games on the radio as well as watching them on TV.
For one of the playoff games he loaded up both sons, Daniel and William, and his grandson and drove to KC for the game.
This is not a passing fancy.
Like most things with Joe, it is either rooted in his heart or he is just OK with it.
Years ago when Joe was the radio analyst for Razorbacks basketball, we were driving to the final game of the season. It was snowing and just before Clarksville we got caught behind an accident.
Joe made a call. Another friend was 3 miles ahead and had just cleared the accident. He waited while Joe, with suitcase in hand stomped down the freeway in a snow storm.
He arrived one minute after tip-off, but he arrived and did his job.
Sports on 01/31/2020
Print Headline: Kleine isn't just your average Chiefs fan