It’s a beautiful Saturday morning on the deck. The birds are singing, there is a gentle breeze rustling through the trees, and the sun is shining brightly. AND, I’ve decided to stay home and not fly to Seattle.
I love baseball. I played baseball as a kid, but I didn’t have much talent for baseball or any other sport, but I still played and dreamed. I stopped playing when I was 15, the summer of ’77, but I never lost the love for the game. As a kid, the season began with tryouts in March and games twice a week or maybe, three times a week through early June. It’s a long season for a kid but short in comparison to the season the professionals who play 162 regular season games and maybe get three days off in a month.
My son, W, played before switching to lacrosse, and my daughter played one year of T-ball (baseball without pitching) with boys before she made the transition to softball.
I’ve rooted for several teams over the years, but my home team is the Astros, the Houston Astros. When I was a kid, the Astros weren’t very good they lost more than they won, but when I was a high school they seemed to turn things around and won the division in 1980 with a one game playoff win against the LA Dodgers and they won the division six years later in 1986. Both times they played well in the LCS (League Championship Series) but not well enough to make to the World Series. They wouldn’t make it to the World Series until 2005 and I was living in Chicagoland. They played the Chicago White Sox and lost in four close games. I’ve always been an Astros baseball fan.
I am grateful for late mother-in-law who helped me regain my love for the game. We were Up North in July 2013 and she wanted to listen to her team, the Reds, the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds don’t broadcast Up North, that’s Detroit Tiger country so I ended up resorting to technology and got a subscription to the MLB app and unlimited audio streaming. The first game we listened to was a no-hitter. The following summer, in 2014, I upgraded to the video version of the app and we were able to watch a couple of games when she made her last visit Up North. She passed away in November 2015 and one of my lasting memories with her was talking with her about baseball and football, but especially about her Reds.
Every year since I’ve renewed my subscription for the MLB app and I always think of her when watch the Reds, I root for the Reds when they aren’t playing the Astros and it helps they are in separate leagues.
This spring I made an impulsive purchase and purchased two monthly passes to see all of April’s games for the Chicago White Sox. I don’t follow the Sox, but they are in the American League and the Astros will play them later in the year, and I prefer the Sox to the Cubs – any day of the week. Of the 11 games, I had a pass to see, I was able to make it to two games – one with my son and another with a friend. It was time well spent.
At the end of April, I went to visit my mom and my brothers, but mostly my mom. The Astros were at home and I coaxed my brother to take in a game with me before I left. We were able to see the first four innings before I had to leave and drive to the airport, but it was worth it. We had a good time. The Astros lost the game to the Oakland A’s 2-1.
Monday was our anniversary. It was our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. It seems like the other day I was waiting for my mom and step-mother on the sidewalk outside the church. They had gotten lost on the way from the hotel to the church. I can’t blame them, it’s easy to get lost on country roads. I still get lost when I go back to Ohio for a short visit and I get off the beaten track.
My brother David and I had been pacing outside the church, waiting. My other sister-in-law, B’s older sister had checked on us and asked what was up. It was the time before cell phones or at least inexpensive cell phones and few folks had one. I had no idea, I explained I thought they were lost. She seemed to accept it and went back inside the church. I can only imagine what was going through B’s head.
They arrived, more than several minutes late – my mom, step-mother, and sister-in-law climbed out of the car and hurried inside. My mom apologized and I smiled a nervous smile and muttered, “You’re off the Christmas card list,” under my breath.
I was kidding, of course. She gets a Christmas card every year and a call Christmas morning to wish her a Merry Christmas. She reminds me she got her Christmas card. And, we laugh.
She also reminds me that if they had arrived on time, the sunbeam, that had illuminated B and I at the precise moment we said our vows, would have missed us. Completely missed us, divine providence.
Much happens in 24 years – kids are born, parents and other family members pass away, there are job changes, career shifts, smiles, laughter, people change and grow, and all sorts of things that make a marriage strong. There are other highs and lows of life along the way.
I have much more grey hair than I did in 1991. Then, it was just coming in, and it’s longer, too. But, I still have my laugh and sense of humor and sarcastic wit, forged by experience and life’s hard lessons. I’ve learned to shovel snow, rake leaves, and be somewhat of a happy handyman that comes with being a homeowner.
Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You can’t have one without the other
Frank Sinatra is right, you can’t have one without the other.
Saturday morning I was at the flower market and got a dozen pink roses. They are beautiful, like B. They’ll last the week and then some, if we care them, like a marriage.
It was a busy weekend and time got away from writing, but that’s okay. I had time for the important stuff – family and love. Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune: “Love and Marriage”
I love sports. Football is my favorite sport, followed closely by baseball and auto racing, though auto racing does not get my interest as much it once did. The truth is that I enjoy just about any kind of competition.
Last week, I was invited to go to the White Sox game and tailgate with a group of men. I knew one of the men, Mark a teacher at my school; the other two were teachers in my district from other schools I didn’t know. The four men go to a White Sox game at least once a year and tailgate; they even travel to see an NFL game together. I joined because, Kip, one of the men, was sick, he has ALS and couldn’t attend. We had a good time, but for the entire trip, I was Kip. The trip was a ritual of sorts – getting ready, driving downtown, the seats in the van – I sat in Kip’s seat, parking in the same spot, setting up, cooking, eating, picking up, even to playing a game of beanbag toss. I had a good time, but the Sox lost.
On the way out of the ballpark one of the guys remarked,
“You know, every time we come, they lose. Maybe we shouldn’t come as a group!”
“Nah, that’s not it, the Sox suck. The pitcher gave it away today.”
Baseball is in the post-season and the San Francisco Giants will face the Kansas City Royals in the World Series starting next Tuesday. I got home tonight in time to watch the bottom of the ninth and three run walk off homer that propelled the Giants into their third World Series in five years. Tonette, my friend from San Francisco, is going wild in San Francisco. I can’t say I blame her.
I’ve been thinking about San Francisco lately. I enjoyed living there and I will never forget the three years I lived and worked in Bay Area.
ESPN is showing the 30 for 30 film – “The Day the Series Stopped.” The sports network produced the film about the Lomo Prieta earthquake and the World Series and it does a fine job capturing what I remember of that day and the weeks that followed. The film debuted Tuesday evening and I’ve watched it three times, each time I take away something different. It’s well put together and the message is how sport transcends life. Oakland A’s manager Tony La Russa explained it best –
I messaged my friend Tonette and asked her if she’d watch the film and she politely told me it brings back too many bad memories. I can understand. Continue reading My Memories of “The Day the Series Stopped”
Friday morning, August 1st, twenty more days and I’ll be back at school or work. I promised myself that when I began to call it work, I would get out. I still call it school, though there are days when it seems like work. There are years when I learn more from the kids than I ever thought possible and then there are years, like the year ahead, when there is a lot to learn (and re-learn) about what I am teaching and I re-invent myself.
Nevertheless, it is the first day of August and I am still Up North. I had plans to be home the last couple of days but my procrastination de-railed me. Sometimes my procrastination is a positive, because this time I get to spend more time at the cottage along the lake AND I get to spend come more time with my mother-in-law, aka grandma. She arrived last night and it is good to see her. I don’t know how many more trips she has in her, but I am determined to make her days here count.
When she arrived she noticed the yard, the flowers, the beds, and the deck had been painted and all the hard work B and I have put in. Actually, she noticed the results of all of our hard work. She also noticed the dent in the hassock and wondered what happened. We knew what had happened, but didn’t tell her. Ivy did it. I know, I know, blame the dog trick #1, blame the dog….but really, it is blame us, because we are the ones who allowed Ivy to jump up and sleep on the hassock. B and I looked at each other and winked, we feigned we didn’t know. O almost spilled the beans, but we winked and she got it. Continue reading August morn
O and I decided we needed a diversion, actually I decided I needed a diversion, something to get my mind away from what I was thinking, what was on my mind. Baseball, it is the space in between which takes us off our worries, for even a moment.
Baseball. I remember going to watch my home team, the Astros, play games indoors in the Astrodome. I’ve since moved away from home and my team has moved out of the Astrodome, but I am still a fan. I still pull for my Astros, though I have lost the connection to the ‘stros and I don’t get out to the ballpark as much as I used to; I still try to take in a game when I can.
The sun is shining and I saw a robin in the backyard as I poured coffee into my mug earlier this morning. It’s chilly now, but it’ll warm up this afternoon. It’s the last bit of Spring Break, today, tomorrow, then school resumes. It is always the best part of the year for me; not because the year is almost over and summer is on the horizon, but because what I’ve taught my students begins to blossom like a field of daffodils bursting with color on a bright spring afternoon.
Spring break this year was what it needed to be – a break. B and I decided to divide and conquer. Continue reading some things take time…
23 years ago, I had tickets to Game 3 of the World Series. It was the San Francisco Giants vs. The Oakland A’s. There are a few things in life that you’ll never forget, and going to a World Series game is probably one of them. Yet, that is not what I remember the date for, it was 23 years ago today that I was in a major earthquake.
I moved to the Bay Area in 1987 and B moved out there a couple of years later in ’89. She worked for Macy’s in the electronics buying office for the west coast. I loved baseball and I enjoyed watching games on TV. It was BK, before kids, Continue reading 5:04 PM, October 17, 1989 – 23 years later
It’s been a while, too long between my last post and today. Don’t worry, the days have counted and they are counting. Last week it was fifteen today it is eight, and counting.
W and I came home a week ago and we hit the ground running – school, errands, scouts, football, Continue reading T minus eight