Then he told a story about a small-town preacher who had just finished his sermon when a very inebriated man jumped up and yelled, "Parson, that was a damn fine talk." The parson rebuked the man: "None of that strong language, brother." The man persisted, "That was a doozy, that was one hell of a sermon, Parson." The preacher raised his voice: "I will not tolerate that kind of language, brother, I'm warning you." The man whipped out a $100 bill and waved it. "Parson," he cried, "that was such a hell of a talk, I'm dropping this $100 bill in the collection basket." The preacher's eyes bulged as he exclaimed: "Hot damn!"
"That was Jim Hinesly's story," said Duffy, "and now try to get to bed early. Study a little but not too late. Good night."
Next day two chartered airliners carried Duffy and 38 players to Elkhart, Indiana, a town 15 miles from Notre Dame. Duffy was immediately deluged with speaking invitations, and he said he would accept as many as possible.
So, after having dinner with his players and sending them off to a movie, he showed up at the Notre Dame press dinner at the LaSalle Hotel in South Bend and chatted with Terry Brennan, telling him he had brought along the Irish shillelagh that has become a symbol of Notre Dame-Michigan State rivalry. It was presented to Duffy by the Homecoming Queen in 1954 as a good luck piece. When he lost that year to Notre Dame, he gave it to Brennan. Brennan returned it to East Lansing last year.
After a while, Duffy went upstairs to another banquet room and was introduced by Biggie Munn to the local members of the Michigan State alumni. Duffy delivered some of his best tested material and then excused himself with the explanation that he was due at a Knights of Columbus smoker in another part of town.
There was a capacity crowd of about 2,000 Knights at the smoker in a high school auditorium.
On the stage, squinting into the footlights, Duffy began by paying tribute to Knute Rockne, the Notre Dame spirit, and Terry Brennan. Then he said, as he had been telling audiences all week, "I'd settle right now for a one-point victory." The Knights gave him a big hand.
Duffy shifted his feet and looked up at the ceiling rather wistfully.
"You know," he said, "when we're young, we all have our dreams, our ambitions. I remember when I was 18, back in my home town of Barnesboro, Pa., I went to work in a coal mine. One of the first things I did was strike up a wonderful friendship with a boy named Fred. Fred and I used to sit and talk while we were waiting for the motor-man to bring back the empty cars. We'd talk about our dreams and our ambitions. I told Fred that my dream was to get a college education. I didn't know how I was ever going to do it or where or when, but that was what I wanted most of all in life. I asked Fred what he wanted. Fred didn't hesitate a minute. He said his ambition was to have a tailor-made suit, the best tailor-made suit in the whole town of Barnesboro. Fred talked through his nose, but he didn't say anything about having his adenoids out. What he wanted most of all was a tailor-made suit."
Duffy had his audience a little mystified, but in the palm of his hand. You could have heard a beer bottle drop.