Twoscore and several Baseballs ago

baseball, Little League, old days, sad

Just read a status update on Facebook that shot me back over forty years ago.
The update was innocent enough:
“Just watched a kid hit a game winning home run in a little league game across the street.”

I thought about it for a second and commented, “That could have been me 45 years ago.”

Then I thought, 45 years.
I’m getting old.
Not that I feel old but living life has made me realize that the years are soaring by.

The year is 1968. I played for Police Association.
I was #4, although that may be disputed in Oxford High School circles.
I was a pitcher and catcher, depending on what position I played in the last game.
And this was a time when some kids just didn’t make it on a team.
If you didn’t get picked, you cried like a baby and went to bed hoping to do better ‘next year’.
T-ball?
Learn to hit a ball for cripes sake.
At 10 years of age, opposing coaches hated when I pitched because I had a curveball that no one on their team could hit.

“The kid’s too young to be throwing junk,” some would say,
“The kid’s going to hurt his arm,” others would say.

My coach?

“See you next week.”

I have an old baseball in my closet that I wrote on a million years ago: “Beat Bayer Fuel! Won 6-4! Hit 1 home run!”
That old baseball still makes me smile.
There were no strange rules back then, no town-inspired political agenda to follow, no social media available to crucify a kid because of their lack of natural athletic ability, race or creed.

No Internet.
No Sirius XM radio.
No 9/11.
No Ricin.
No steroids.
No conspiracy theories.
No NSA controversy.
No IRS scandal.
No Global warming.
No Bay City Rollers.
No Boston Marathon bombing.
No Watergate.
No Tim Tebow.
No aluminum f*&^%$g bats (God, they suck and they sound even worse)
There was baseball, pure and simple.
[good times]

Technology has changed us.
Changed everything.
For the better?
You be the judge.
As a 54 year old looking back, waaaay back, these days are the ultimate in suck, the ultimate in ridiculous luxury
and overpaid athletes that we deem Gods.
I’ll take my old-fashioned shitty curveball.
I’ll take the old days.
I’ll even take milk delivered in cold glass bottles left on the doorstep of houses in the neighborhood.
But most of all, I’ll take a steaming hot dog with spicy mustard after the game and a bottle of Coke to wash it down with.
Those days were seriously close to Heaven.
Maybe they were Heaven . . .

Extremely Louder and Incredibly Closer

blog, writing, life, Facebook

Once upon a time my blog was an essential part of my life.
I lived here almost 24/7.
God forbid I should get some godforsaken CSS error that screwed with my theme (not my theme!) or my plugins.
Life gets in the way.
Politics get in the way.
Facebook really gets in the way.
Twitter? Not so much.
I realized tonight that I have neglected a place that once meant so much to me.
I have for all intents and purposes abandoned a creative harbour that held stories, memories and many things I once held so dear.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Like I need to tell you about last Tuesday night when I went to dinner with my wife for our 29th anniversary.
Anniversaries are supposed to be special and perfect, right?
We sat down and perused the menu when our waitress came by to say hi.
We ordered a few appetizers to start off.
Grape leaves & some hummus.

“Would you like something to drink before you order?” our waitress asked.

“Yes, please,” I said.

Pamela ordered an Almond Joy Martini and I ordered a Maker’s Mark Manhattan.
All was right with the world.

Our drinks arrived several minutes later. Perfect.

We didn’t even have time to toast when I spilled the entire Manhattan all over my crotch.
As the icy concoction slithered its way to my unsuspecting jewels and eventually to the crack of my ass, I felt the need for
a new pair of pants or at least a pair of Depends.
As my manhood rose up into my abdominal cavity to escape the chill, we laughed and laughed again.
You can’t make this stuff up.
They made me another Manhattan (in a sippy cup jk) and all was right with the world.
Although I did squirm and make funny faces as I ate my dinner.
Will we remember our 29th anniversary?
You can take that to the bank.

I guess the bottom line is that I’ve given up my energy to Facebook and other URL’s lately.
And while I love talking to friends it just isn’t taking care of my writing mojo.
Writers write stories and rarely do Facebook.
Change is in the wind.
“to thine own self be true”
And I am long overdue.
Let’s roll . . .

~m

Eggs

eggs, Easter, love, family, Easter Bunny, candy

 

Many years ago after Pamela and I got married, we began the creation of a family.
Sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes it seems like 100 years ago.
Perspective is such a fickle thing.
That I have been an absentee blogger has never been lost on my wife.
She said to me tonight, and quite casually I might add,
“When are you going to change the picture on your blog?
Write a post about the annual Easter Egg Hunt with the girls.”
I hate it when she’s right.
And I really hate to think she could be a better blogger than me.
If she blogged as well as she ‘Pinterest-ed’, she could put me to shame.
The reasons my blogging has slowed down to an incessant but slow drip is a post in and of itself,
for many varied reasons.
Tonight, though, I am here to talk about eggs.
Brightly coloured eggs.
Easter eggs.
Hard boiled eggs.
Egg salad sandwiches in a shell, yet to be born. [yum]

When our girls started walking we devised a plan for an Easter Egg Hunt to be held in the backyard on Easter morning.
We bought plastic pastel colored eggs that could be filled with all kinds of goodies, from candy and small toys (that nowadays are labeled as DANGEROUS! Your KID could CHOKE on THIS!) to dollar bills and matches.
(yeah, I’m kidding about the matches, calm down)
In New England, Easter morning could be rainy and cold so we needed to use something that would hold up to the elements.
It was the Easter Bunny’s job (namely, me) to hide the eggs in the backyard while the girls were sleeping.
When they woke in the morning to find an incredibly beautiful Easter Basket on their nightstand (compliments of Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny)
they were ready to don the appropriate clothes for the ‘going-to-get-mine-before-you-do’  Easter egg hunt.

Now it should be said that Mr. Bunny liked to have several Easter cocktails on the night before and while hiding the eggs wasn’t a problem, remembering where they were the next morning could sometimes be.
There are still eggs somewhere in our yard that I may never find.
I’m still looking for the elusive ‘Ben Franklin’ egg from years ago.
Can’t remember the exact year.
I’ve thought of using some power equipment to try and find it but the money I would spend doesn’t justify the means.
Right now, anyway.
Many years (and mornings after) would find the once loveable Mr. Easter Bunny reduced to the ‘Stupid-Easter-Bunny-that-doesn’t-know-how-to-hide-shit-we-can-easily-find’.
And, my moniker grows so damn lovingly.
I love it.

Fast forward to 2012 . . .

My girls have grown into young, beautiful and intelligent women and yet, I still have to hide eggs.
I am not a freekin’ Easter Bunny anymore, I am a grown 53 year old man.
I don’t have long and fuzzy ears or a cute little tail.
My ass is now flat.
I need three wallets to assimilate an ass bulge.
And I’m a crazy curmudgeon that thinks the world has gone insane.
Maybe I’m insane because I’ll still be out this Saturday night hiding eggs and loving it, rain or snow.
And on Easter morning I will still have no idea where the hell I put them . . .
In my heart, I’m hoping they keep the tradition going
because as silly as it was it’s a part of Pamela and me that will live on.
And maybe in the end, that’s what it’s all about . . .

A Happy Easter to all.

you and me

 

As life chugs steadily along it never ceases to amaze me
how many small pieces of our lives get shoved away like so many broken summer fans,
once treasured baseball cards and small gifts and such that meant so much at the time of the giving.
From the books we once started and never finished, to the phone calls we were supposed to make but never did,
to all the relationships we took for granted,
we get caught up with life; be it day to day, night by night, or dawn to sunset.
We are all guilty of this innocent abandonment of connection with the things we once considered ‘golden’.
What amazes me is that this purely human phenomenon  happens without our consent or recognition.
I become aware of it when and old friend calls me out of the blue or I hear a particular old song on the radio.
My mind is jarred and my brain gets pickled in a way that makes me realize that I have all but forgotten ‘the old me’.

So, here I am looking at a new beginning of sorts with the love of my life.
We will be picking up from where we left port so many oceans ago.
Our rare romantic dinners were filled with conversations about our three girls, their dreams,
wishes and ultimately our plans to try like hell to help them get there.
Those numerous transient conversations were never about us,
never about Michael and Pamela and how ‘they’ were doing.
I like to think that we were confident enough to know that nothing was being lost in talking about the girls.

I loved her.

She loved me.

It was an unspoken thing.

And I bought dinner. (always)

I don’t say all this in a dark and stormy ‘my-daughters-took-my-wife-away-from-me’ kind of way.
Life happens.
Children are born.
And more children are born.
Priorities are established and life continues on . . .  in a different way.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that I was blessed to be married to a woman
that could see the same pictures of life as me.
That doesn’t happen to many people, hence the alarming divorce rate, perhaps.
Our priorities were exactly the same.
Maybe that’s why my Pamela is still the best friend I could ever hope for.
I may even go so far as to say that she still ‘melts my butter’ and truth be told she heals the tattered soul in me.
Although she doesn’t even know it.
That is the beauty of ‘her’.
She just doesn’t know, never has, never will.
Amazing.
I want her to run away with me very soon because I want to tell her how much I have missed ‘us‘.
I think we have succeeded in raising three incredibly awesome daughters.
But now it’s time for M&P.
Destiny is a crazyass thing and what’s done is done and I pray we‘ve done right.
But maybe now is the beginning of the best part of our lives.
As long as I have my true companion, I think I’m gonna be alright.
Actually, I know I’m going to be alright. . .

3 Musketeers

On the eve of my daughter Hannah graduating High School,
I am a bit melancholy.
Maybe it’s because I know that life is going to change again for me, my wife and the girls.
Maybe it’s because my three daughters have almost all but left the ‘nest’ that was (and always will be) their home.
Maybe it’s because this event makes me realize that no matter how much I wanted to slow down the tick of the clock, slow down the lazy, hazy summers when I had all three of them to myself, pushing them on swings and endlessly enjoying the rides in the ‘StoryLand’ of their dreams, that time was not something I could ever control.
They just keep growing, like flowers in a distant and beautiful Spring meadow; a place I will always try to dream of.
I miss those days of innocence and sense of landing.
It was firm ground back then.
I had them.
They had me.
We all had home.
These days, I am a different kind of Dad that’s trying hard to answer different kinds of questions.
More complex questions than I had originally hoped for.
While my three stars are searching the galaxy for their corner of the sky, I hope and pray they find their
True North.
The world will be a better place because of them.
I just know it.
I could never ask for more than that.
Me and Pam are proud as a peacocks.
For today, leviathan congratulations to my little feisty one, Hannah. [Mark is proud]
Just know that all of you are but nebulae; stars that are just beginning to shine.
And 3 Musketeers?
My favorite candy bar . . .

love you all,
Dad

Luna

Time is like liquid,
an ephemeral step towards truth;
the marching forward of decades,
years,
months,
weeks,
days,
hours,
minutes
and finally seconds.
Sloppy seconds at best when you consider the moments that are totally wasted.
Time is like water,
dripping endlessly towards an endless sea of little to no meaning.
Or not.
3:13Am is no time to be kicking your legs off the covers.
Unless you can see the dials of the clock . . .

~m

Orange Crush

You’re in 6th grade and  you’re a dorky kid with acne, a really bad haircut,
blackheads that populate your face like buckshot and the fashion sense of Pee Wee Herman.
Every teacher’s nightmare, you are a somewhat uninspired student that only dreams of playing the guitar
and reading books.
This particular year takes you by surprise,
gets your freak on, because there’s this girl you see when you walk from class to class in that stupid straight line.
She smiles at you and you smile at her.
Yeah, that’s groovy, my man.
Hormones declare war somewhere inside your hideous purple pants with those terribly-coloured maroon pockets.
And although you’re no slave to fashion, these pants are cool.
You want her (or so you think) but you’ve yet to say so much as a word to her.
It seems too awkward.
You, are awkward, too.
Today she’s wearing an emerald green ribbed turtleneck with a matching green tartan-plaid skirt.
There’s a white bow in her dark brown hair and you discover that her eyes are chocolate brown, just like yours.
She has a nice smile and lips as crimson as a sun-ripened tomato.
You almost imagine her sitting in her room, gazing out of her window and wondering if she’s pretty.
And she is.
If you could read my mind, love.’ – Gordon Lightfoot
[you throw up in your mouth a little bit at that one lyric]
In one day, you find out that her name is Kathy and that she isn’t going out with anyone.
Her BFF Debbie says to you, She thinks you’re cute.
Ask her if she wants to go steady, you say.
(Does anyone ‘go steady’ anymore? You wonder to yourself.)
The next day Debbie gives you a small envelope and says, “This is from Kathy.”
Inside is a short letter of boyfriend acceptance and a small picture of her from the yearbook
(definitely not suitable for framing)
So, we’re going out, you think.
In that same train of thought, a switch fucks up, trains collide and you think, now what the hell am I supposed to do?
As a 6th Grader you are no good at romance and you’re even worse as a student.
The days pass like honey through a sieve and you see each other several times during the day.
The relationship has inextricably moved to the ‘greeting’ stage.

Hi, you say.
Hi back, she says, smiling.

It’s all good.

This goes on for what seems like two years but in reality is two weeks because you are too damn obtuse to know what to do next, what the girl really wants.

Hi, you say.
Hi back, she says, now sounding kinda pissed off.

You haven’t done anything.
No.
Really.
You. Have. Not. Done. Anything.

Debbie stops you in the hall a few days later and says, “Kathy has a message for you. She says, ‘sit on this and rotate’.”
She walks away and you’re left standing alone in the antiseptic smelling and all too shiny middle school hallway wondering what the hell ‘sit on this and rotate’ actually means.
It must be good, you think.

You talk to Bobby Collins, the oldest kid in the neighborhood and ask him what it means.
He laughs, holds up his middle finger and says, “Sit on this and rotate.”
While Bobby pees his pants from laughing so hard, you start laughing too as you slowly begin to understand the absurdity of love [life] [courtship] [and ultimately, the female gender]
You realize you have much to learn about this ‘going steady’ thing.
In your mind, you can hear Beaver Cleever saying to his older brother,
“Gee, Wally . . .  girls are kinda icky, huh?”
You don’t really believe that and you just can’t stop wondering what it would have been like just to hold her hand.

Valentine’s Day

Some people consider themselves fortunate to have one Valentine.
I am blessed with four beautiful hearts that I love intensely,
four women that make my life so incredibly and bitter-sweetly complete.
On this 14th day of February know that all four of you are truly my home.
In my crimson heart, I’m singing this song for all of you.

“I love you in a place where there’s no space or time . . . “

For my PaMeLa, SaRaH, JeNnA & HaNnAh . . .

Happy Valentine’s Day, miladies.

Arrivals!

Logan, runway, airport

When I started this blog over 5 years ago,
I had no clue as to just how much it would transform my life; the many people I’ve met, to the
relationships I’ve formed have amazed, humbled and yes, inspired me.
Maybe it was my heart splashed on the pages here that have brought some my way.
Many having been caught up in the same labyrinth I somehow made it through.
I’ve gained friends and lost some.
Made people cry and made them laugh.
What amazes me most is the unexpected things, the deep friendships that just ‘happened’.
Next week, Pamela and I will drive to Logan airport (read: Arrivals!)
to pick up two people that have not only forever changed our lives but have
found their way into the heart of this family.
They understand us as we understand them.
(although they both can still take the piss out of me at will. I guess I’m an easy target)
They will spend the better part of three weeks with us as we make our way
through a list of ‘to do’s’ that has been building since last August.
There will be music, food, drink, cigars, music, didgeridoo, laughter, jokes, sightseeing,
a long-awaited 4 day trip to the North Country and some very special conversations at midnight.
And I just aquired a nice CharBroil  ‘No-Oil’ infrared Turkey fryer.
The boys are going to have us some fun!
Mark has taken notes on several notable Boston eateries that he wants to visit. (no worries, she’ll be right mate)
Maureen just wants good cheeseburgers and pink lemonade. (after your Cincinnati Chili!)
I ask that you say a prayer for their safe arrival here.
This year we will have connectivity (unlike last year!)
Watch for some funny blog fluff.
Pamela, the girls and me are jumping like maggots on a barbie as we wait.
Our trip to Logan will be complete only after we see 3 Australian Akubras.
I will definitely be wearing mine.
There’s one Akubra  :smile:

~m

ps. I will personally be happy when Maureen and Mark see the gorgeous skyline below . . .

Boston, skyline

Swans

There’s a subdued purple crimson suggestion of a new day off to the east and I can’t help but wonder
what today will bring.
It’s yet another pedestrian Monday morning;
another chance to make the pieces somehow fit, a seemingly impossible task.
But there’s always that “what if” that keeps us all steadily on track.

I took a nice long stroll yesterday with my wife through a cemetery right near our house.
I cherish these walks because they set me straight,
keep me sane and burn calories (something my physician loves).
It’s quiet and peaceful and my wife and I consider the many folks there our personal friends.

Over the years, they’ve been privy to our most intimate conversations;
our quandaries and concerns, our aspirations and clandestine dreams.
As we walk and try to somehow figure it all out; this life,
this frantic situation we always find ourselves in.
Most days, we leave the cemetery with more questions than we came in with
making me wonder if that’s the way it’s really supposed to be.

The cemetery is surrounded by water and my wife sees a lone swan off in the distance,
floating silently on the water.
There’s no breeze and the murky water appears to me as black glass; static and dim,
the reflections of indigo sky above screaming of a visual paradox.
So much like our lives, I think.

“I wonder where the other one is.” She says.

“The other one?” I ask.

“Yeah, they always travel in pairs. Like us. That’s the way it is with swans.”

“I didn’t know that,” I say, “I only see one.”

“Me, too,” She says.

My wife scans the area surrounding the pond and seems sad the swan is alone;
an almost bittersweet sentimentality.
Our conversation veers off on another relatively impossible tangent as we continue our walk
around the winding cemetery road,
both of us unconsciously searching for the second swan.

~m