Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How the cheapskate Joe DiMaggio weaseled out and Ted Williams made me a Red Sox fan!

September 25, 2013 18:23 Boston

This is not the place where I’d boast about the Red Sox clinching the division.  I would not do that.  Besides it happened a few days ago.  It’s almost history. I can silently gloat behind the veil of these sentences, instead I think back to a couple of weeks ago when I saw a game at Fenway with Ali and Amanda and Joe as well as Katie and Ben.  It started out as one of those slow weekend mornings, when you wake up and hear the pats of rain falling on the panes of glass.  You want to pull up the covers and hide and let the dreams linger back in.  It was a Sunday in Boston.  Suddenly I was gripped with the anxiety, we have tickets for the game and it may be rain out…we walked through the drizzle and took our soaked seats and watched as the Sox beat the White Sox.  And this leads me to this past Sunday.  I am not a Yankee’s fan.  But I was at Yankee stadium on Sunday.   True, I was a Yankee fan years ago.  I was shocked and ecstatic when Bucky slapped that pitch over the monster.  I watched the game when I came home from St. Phillips,  Back then at the bus stop we’d have a  contests which of us could best imitate the Yankee at bat.  There was Mickey Rivers who dragged his bat behind him as he came up to the plate.  Slump your shoudlers...easy.  Reggie who spit such a unique way - the challenge was too much for our young lips. Chris Chambliss who’d swing and hold the bat out facing the pitcher in a menacing way and then there was Munson who always fixed his batter’s gloves before each pitch.  I remember when he died and I felt the loss the leader...of the captain.  I was a Yankee fan I tell ya…What happened?  Well, let me add I was always a Met’s fan and for years I could root for both teams.  Mets and Yanks.  But about that time when I was imitating the players as the bus stop - I’d write letters to some of the former players.  I still have “Smoky” Joe Woods autograph who personalized a piece of paper for me and shared what teams he played for and when.  He was a great Red Sox pitcher who pitched in the 1912 World Series.  There was a sarcastic junior high school English teacher, Mr. Anderson a Boston native who chewed and threw the heavy peanut M&M’s at the punks in the back of the class when they were not paying attention to him.  He was a Sox fan who had amazing precision with those little rocks which he forewarned us. He shared a story, while in college he brought one of his black friends home.  He grew up in a white Irish Catholic Boston neighborhood.  He knew as they got out of the car, the curious neighbors were peering through their curtains wondering why he brought the man to their neighborhood.   He looked around and pointed to some of the houses, and proclaimed, “I can’t wait till your family moves in!”  I have to add to the Yankees, one of the players I wrote to was Bobby Richardson who was great second basemen for the Yanks.  I read his autobiography.  He was a Christian and I valued his faith.  So here is the deal.  When I was 12 I cut out a picture of Joe Dimaggio from the Yankee yearbook and sent it to him.  I wrote a letter to Ted Williams and mentioned my birthday was coming up.  DiMaggio sent the picture back – signed, but…postage due recipient.  The mailman walked down our driveway with the letter which was a rare event, what the hell what he doing?  He said he was there to collect money for the letter.  And it was more than the price for a measly stamp.  Jolting Joe didn’t want to spend money on the stamp!  Ted Williams sent me a birthday card.  The switch was made.  Thank you DiMaggio and I will always have a soft spot for that great hero, Ted Williams.  I started rooting for the Sox…and The Mets.  Who did you root for in ’86?  The Mets.   This past Sunday I went to the Yankees game.  I wanted to see Andy Pettitte since I knew he would hang it up after this season and he declared last Friday he was retiring.  He is another Christian and this is a secret, I would root for him.  He used to have a cross on the NY on his cap, but I'm not sure if he still has that.  For the past couple of seasons I wanted to see one of the greatest pitchers Mariano Rivera.  Sunday was the day.  Mo is another Christian and I gained more respect for the man off the field for his support of his native Panama as well as local underprivileged communities - specifically churches.  I paid through my nose for a nose bleeder.   It was Marino Rivera day. Metallica played Enter the Sandman, Jackie Robinson’s widow and daughter were there since Mo is the last player to wear 42.  Former players and the stoic Joe Torre came out and I cheered.  I always liked Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neil.  I can say it here.  But I wanted the Sox to beat them each and every time.  Wade Boggs?  You should not have been a Yankee.  But I digress.   The wind was brisk and I waited.  Better, I pleaded for the sun as the faint light and scattering warmth crept up the rows to finally got up to me.  The sun light was faint through the clouds.  Andy had a perfect game going to the sixth until the kid next to me, this tobacco chomping spit dripping punk says, “Is he pitching a perfect game?”  The very next batter was walked.  The end of perfection and a fan behind him tells the dipshit - you jinxed it.  It was your fault!  The first hit he gave up was a dinger.  I’m sorry the Yankees lost the game due to a rookie mistake on third base.  There was a SF Giant’s fan who was bouncing up and down.  I wanted to smack him. Hold a second, I am not a Yanks fan and I pulled back and took a deep breath.  But I saw Mo.  It was perfection. He wielded his power, bats erupted; sending splinters into the blades of grass…and I watched him stretch before the release, it was a special sight even if I had the advantage of being on the furthest deck.  I saw Mo and I came home and wanted to let you know tonight may be the end for the Yankees and I am sorry for you since I appreciate the history of the intense rivalry between our teams.  This year was different.  I wanted to feel as if the Sox were going to go into the playoffs against the Yanks as the better team.  Only then would I gloat…like I did back in 04.  But through all the years I've learned each side has immense respect for the other team, but there is a reference for the way some of these men lead their lives away from field.  I am a fan of Mariano Rivera and I am grateful he is retiring.  Thank you for reading this...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Long Island has a new airline, Pen Air flying to Boston - all aboard!

Monday September 9, 2013 19:33 10,000 feet or more above Connecticut

Flying Pen Air for the first time from Islip to Boston.  We took off from the old terminal, B 17 to be exact.  I recalled bringing Phil there when he was in the Navy and watching the red lights of his US Air prop fly away into the night.  That was when you can wait at the gate seeing the passengers off or waiting for their arrival, that was before 9/11 and the necessary security measures. I’m sitting in the last row.  The seat does not recline, yet there is a woman in front of me and she is stretched out like a beached whale and asking for more to drink.  There is a steward, an older gentleman who speaks gently.  I watched his pre-flight routine unlike the other flights I’ve taken just because he asked me to pay attention and there was only him, not a line of attendants.  Behind the steward are the pilots who are behind a locked door.  It’s a smooth flight thus far.  I was thrilled with the prospect of taking a prop and felt a rush when we pulled away from the gate, passing the dark green National Guard helicopters, a row of Cessna’s and I remember the lessons I took at Mid-Island all those years and moneys in the past.  Up to Boston to see Mo Cheeks tonight and then driving to Wooster to spend the night and to meet Todd King.  If feels as if we are descending….and we are.  19:41 the steward made an announcement we have started the decent.  It will take at least another ten minutes before wheels are down, and I can feel the wind on the narrow plane as we move into the area.  Amazing.  Time to shut her off.

September 10, 2013 17:56 10,000 feet above Connecticut

Last night Amanda met me at the baggage claim at the airport, holding a sign she made: DAD…it makes me smile thinking about it.  We took a shuttle bus to the Enterprise terminal and I was struck how subtle she was as she flirted with the young man helping us.  She was sweet, but as I looked down they were giving each other the eye perhaps since I was in my jovial good mood.  I was with my daughter.  Had meetings today with Todd up in Boston, the first was out of the way and will remain nameless.  I think it’s best to keep a distance from writing about work and my blog.  That’s all.  It’s overcast up in the clouds, which is different from what we had last night.  A clear flight up to Boston, a little rocky, but not too bad. I plan on using this airlines more often since it’s easy.  You walk on and can sit wherever you’d like.  I chose the same seat as last night.  Like a train commuter we like our seats and keep returning to them.   We’re rocking a little more and I imagine we’re getting ready to land soon.   Airport to airport 45 minutes, but if I drove…five hours at least in traffic…so the flight is much better.  I can see the Long Island Sound or perhaps that is the ocean….the sun is setting.  We were told it’s a gusty on the ground…but it looks as if the clouds are clearing up.  I will be home for dinner and will need to write more of my novel.  I can’t believe I didn’t call Katie or Ben, but this was a pure business trip, except for seeing Mo Cheeks.  I should add we bought some ice cream down the block from her school; I had pumpkin since I’m off the beer.  What route are we flying?  I’m closing up since I’m expecting to feel…and there it goes…the decent…and Long Island is below.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Watching the Ladee rocket pass over Long Island on its way to the moon and random thoughts on the tourist train

9/07/13 Train to Penn

There is a family on the train chatting away, not a care in the world; they’re making sauce from scratch.  And what else did she say?  I never said that. You have a bad memory.  It’s been weeks since I wrote down my thoughts.  Last night we had a fire in the back yard and Ali and I relaxed on the lounge set, under the stars.  

Some guy just left his bag in the aisle and went back into the bathroom.   Don't leave your bag or I will call the cops.  He’s having some issues. On his cell phone.  Gets off at the next stop.  

So, last night there was a rocket, the Ladee that blasted at 23:27 from Virginia.  At 23:25 we were outside and waited, scanning the skies and searching.  I thought we lost our chance since I waited for it to pass.  It’s scheduled to orbit the moon on October 6th.  Since it was a clear night, most of the east coast was able to see the rocket blaze over the trees or tall buildings and fade away to become a small diminishing dot in the blackness.  After a lot of prodding my son such as it’s a rare event, it's historical, you won’t get this chance…reluctantly Joe joined me and Ali outside.  I saw it cut across the sky and pointed it out.  It was a glowing cigar slowly rising into the night.  Joe was excited as was Ali although she was not too certain it was the rocket.  

Ali and I were sitting outside earlier today and she told me more about the federal tests for the schools which is her rallying call.  She will be interviewed by a TV station in Virginia.  

Shit, I can’t think there are too many conversations on the train.  This teen is saying LIKE…LIKE…I’m Like hold on…I can’t do it.  Parallel parking is too hard.  I hear them more when the train slows down.  Why? Take a deep breath and get the word like out of your vocabulary the world will be less polluted. Easy there…The next station is Hicksville.  And as the noises rise, the voices rise and I am trying to tune out from their popping gums and LIKES.   I can’t stop, they keep sucking me in…stop…now someone is cranking their music, this is a different world from the commuters I was used to riding with.  Let me remember this crap the next time I consider taking the train into the city on a Saturday.  It’s easier but this is painful.  Divide sign which is in Hicksville.  There is a clear divide between these generations.  There are true tourists coming in and taking over...

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