At the bar a man says, "Rocky, I know what you went through over in Nam. It took a lot of guts, and I'm glad you haven't cheapened yourself doing those Lite beer ads."
Bleier steps outside for some air, but the man continues inside. "Rocky wouldn't do anything like those Lite beer ads," he insists. "Not with the image he has, the way kids look up to him."
Two young drinkers at the bar look at the man in confusion.
"Who was that?" one of them says.
"That was Rocky Bleier. He got blown up in a jeep accident over in Vietnam," says the older man. "All guts and glory."
"I was born in 1967," one of the young drinkers says. "That's before my time."
"Well, I'll bet he's rich," says the other.
Outside, Bleier looks at the front of his old home. "The reason I haven't done a beer ad," he says in a conspiratorial voice, "is because I haven't been asked."
Later, Bleier stops at his grandmother's house. Minnie Bleier, age 89, grabs him and gives him a bear hug. "Oh, I'm so glad to see you," she whoops. Minnie was one of 16 children and has relatives "all the way from Little Chute to Green Bay. When I die they'll have to put a list up and down the paper where it says, 'Survived by.' " She roars at her joke.
Her grandson goes to the kitchen for some icebox cookies, and when he returns, the gold watch on his right wrist flashes in the afternoon sun. The watch was a gift from Bill Ring, the veteran running back for the San Francisco 49ers. Ring gave him the watch after the 49ers won the 1982 Super Bowl, in appreciation for all that Bleier had done for him. What Bleier had done was house, feed and inspire the marginally skilled Ring after he had been cut during tryouts with the Steelers in 1980. They now have six Super Bowl rings between them.