The ‘R’ Word Part 4

We have a screened in porch at the back of the house and afternoons during summer are often spent down there, just chillin’.  We have woods behind the house, and woods to the east.  The neighbors to the west are generally, I say generally, quiet, and so the porch is very much a vacation spot for us.  Iced tea, cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies, a good book, what else do you need?.

Usually, we don’t get it set up until early summer, after school shuts down, but this year, with both of us rrr… rrrrr…. rrrrrrretired, we are getting to it earlier; sweep the floor, roll out the carpet,  arrange the furniture, fix the screens, ahhhhhh.

While I was doing all that I realized that my pace has changed, noticeably.  There is no hurry now.  I work for maybe fifteen minutes, and sit down for ten.  Work another ten, sit for fifteen.  There is no unconscious internal clock whispering, ‘you’ll be away next week, so get this done’, or ‘the weekend is only two days, you have to get it done’, or ‘here’s a list of things you need to get done….’

The easiest metaphor is driving;  I used to be doing 75 in a 60 zone, but now I have pulled off the highway and am rolling serenely through suburban streets keeping it under 35.

Perhaps a better metaphor is going to the beach.  I can remember walking up a hill, a sand dune actually, from a city street.  At the top of the hill was a magical transformation.  Behind me, houses fading in the sun, heat rising from the pavement, traffic lights, cars, trucks, people in a hurry.  In front of me, sand, blankets, seagulls, waves, the blue, blue ocean.  A completely, totally, comprehensively, inarguably, different world.

Here’s what I mean;   On my porch, I had the carpet tied up and stashed in a corner.  When I untied it, I saw there were a couple of knots in the cord.  Generally, I would ignore the knots and probably throw the cord away.  Today, I calmly picked and poked and pulled at it, untying it all, and then coiled it up neatly to be used again.  It took a few minutes, but, so what?  Really, so what?

Everything is the same, it’s just different.


Here’s a great old song with the right attitude; The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra doing Sunny Side Of The Street.   How can you argue with a song with lyrics like ‘Life’s all reet, if you dig that beat, on the sunny, sunny side of the street’.


Baseball On the Radio

It goes without saying that it has been a long, long winter, and yet I just said it.  There was a blizzard in my drive way, glaciers in the parking lots, fierce wind, bitter cold, short days, black ice, frozen lakes, rivers and harbors.  It finally ended on Monday, April 6th, at about four PM with Baseball On The Radio.  Yes, Baseball On The Radio is the wrap-up, the death knell, the climax, the grand finale of jumpin’ Jack Frost. Baseball On The Radio single-handedly, valiantly and discreetly ended winter.  It made the ice melt, the flowers bloom, it chased away the clouds, put smiles on grumpy children, turned on the sprinklers and even cued up that god-awful music that the ice cream trucks play.  Oh, yes.  Yes it did.

Today’s game happened to be the season opener between the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies, played in Philadelphia and won 8-0 by the Sox, but that really didn’t matter in the least.  Any two teams from any two cities would have sufficed; any stadium, any uniform, any pitchers, any final score.  After all, it wasn’t just baseball, it was Baseball On The Radio.

I don’t remember what what I got on my math final when I was twelve, or what little girl I had a crush on, or what was on TV on Friday nights back then, but I remember the tone and timbre of the voices of the announcers describing, yes, Baseball On The Radio.

Mel Allen— “Going, going, gone!!” or, “How about that.”

Phil Rizzuto — “Holy Cow.”

Red Barber —  “He’s sittin’ in the catbird seat.”

Bob Murphy — “Time for the happy recap.”

There was also Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner, Bill White, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Curt Gowdy, Tim McCarver.  Now, of course, there is John Sterling with his “It is high, it is far, it is gone!” and Gary Cohen for the Mets with his simpler “It’s outta here!”  The newer guys don’t quite have that panache, that brio of the golden age.  Perhaps my golden age.  But it seems to me that their curve balls don’t break across the plate, their fast balls don’t quite hop, their knuckleballs don’t really flutter.  But still, it’s baseball.  And not only that, it’s Baseball On The Radio.

 Here is a clip of Mel Allen calling a home run by Roger Maris in 1961.  Ironic, I know, that this is video and not audio, but close your eyes just for a minute and get a whole different feeling for a baseball game.  Shivers.  I get shivers.

Toot… toot… toot

That’s just me, blowing my own horn.  Not real loud, not too long, just a discreet honk to say ‘Ahem, I have something to report’.

A short story that I wrote will be appearing in an online publication, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, shortly.  It, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, is a small  publication managed by students of the University of Arkansas.  Obviously, they are an exceptionally bright group; sensitive, cultured and possessed of a deep reverence for quality literature.  Probably all darn good-looking, too.

It, my story, is titled “Reservations, Darling,” and, in my humble opinion, is not one of my best.  I can’t even recall where the idea came from.  It must have just floated into my consciousness, like a seed landing in a crack in a rock, and against all odds, flourished.  If you are interested, here is a link to the Foliate website;

I’m told it will appear around April 1st.

This is not the first time I have been published, in fact it is the fourth.  I think.  This is not big-time publishing; we’re not talking about The New Yorker here.  There is no money involved, only a warm, Sally Field ‘You like me!’ kind of a moment.

So, a notch on my word processor, a feather in my cap, a star in my firmament, a warm fuzzy.  I’ll take it.

Here is Sally Field receiving her Best Actress Oscar.  Toot, Sally.  Toot.