Saturday, July 16, 2011


That is the name of a wonderful book I have just read, which was written by a legendary South Bend Orthopedic Surgeon, who happens to have just celebrated his 95th birthday. The author, retired Dr. Les Bodnar, is a good friend and fellow member of the Pathetic Golf League, which plays each Tuesday at the old Burke Golf course at Notre Dame University. Following 9 holes they adjourn for lunch at Between the Buns, and boasting conversations ensue about their golfing prowess and other topics. Incidentally, nobody keeps score, they can move their ball, and mulligans are permitted on each hole. Those who do not play golf, like me and Les, join for lunch.

Les has written a wonderful book reminiscing about his childhood as the son of a Chicago area carnival owner/operator back in 1928-1929, just before the Great Depression struck America. It was a kinder more gentle time when America was enjoying life to the fullest despite the hard times that were on the horizon.

There is something quite refreshing about Les’s book, because it speaks of a time when people enjoyed a life-style that was significantly less complicated, and they enjoyed simpler forms of entertainment. There are no swear words or vulgarity to be found in this lovely story, and it brought back many wonderful memories of my childhood, too. Les’s account about his first kiss is beautiful and that along makes the book worth reading.

It is important to note that Les later was primary orthopedist for the Notre Dame Football team for over thirty-five years and today proudly wears a National Championship ring. He also was one of the founders of what is now the very successful South Bend Orthopedic Clinic, and remains an avid bridge player. Les Bodner represents a true American success story and he is a real All-American gentleman.

I highly recommend CARNIE for addition to your reading list.


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