The Permanent Fatherly/Sonly Record
The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill has sent us this update, from her husband: “Subject: Little League Coach’s Diary, Vol. VII, Ch. 1.
“‘I felt what I almost always feel when I am watching a ballgame: Just for those two or three hours, there is really no place I would rather be.’ — Roger Angell, writing in ‘The Summer Game.’ [Bulletin Board can’t help but interject: These days, the great Mr. Angell would have to write “Just for those three or four hours. . . .”]
“I coached my older son’s baseball teams in more than 200 games over the years, starting in T-ball and ending last fall with his 18U fall baseball team. I probably watched another 120 games for school and academy teams that I did not coach.
“Though I did not know it at the time, last Tuesday night he played in his last Legion game. I was there to watch.
“It was a weird game.
“He usually started in the outfield, but this game he did not enter until the fifth inning — as a pinch runner at first base in a first-and-third situation with two out in a close game. He stole second — off a lefthander, no less. On the next play, a wild pitch scored the runner from third, and the catcher threw the ball away. My son had advanced from second to third on the wild pitch and took off for home. He nearly dodged a tag, but was called out. He limped away from the play, and the coach decided to send in another player in his spot. The team ended up losing, then lost its second playoff game Wednesday. Because he had to work two jobs that overlapped with Wednesday’s game — that’s life at 18 — he was unable to be there and the season ended without him.
“I am not sure I will see him play in a game again.
“I have hundreds of memories from watching his games over the years. Some are specific plays, highlights and lowlights. Other images are just snapshots in time: a smile, a slide, a conversation, or the way he ran when he was 5.
“Because I coached nearly half of the kids on his high-school and Legion teams, I also got to see friendships develop over eight or nine years. I could not be happier that these kids were still playing this summer as young men, all because they love the game and enjoy it with their friends.
“I would be too trite to say those thoughts and memories were on my mind all spring and summer when I watched the games. Instead, I was excited by what happened: his diving catch in right field, followed by a one-hop strike home to save a 3-2 lead (and the game) against Southwest; his double over the left fielder’s head against Como; his throw from right to gun down a runner at home against Fridley; getting the team’s first hit and scoring its first run against DeLaSalle; and his teams’ having a ball.
“In some ways, I wish there were more to come. In other ways, I can’t complain. He got as much out of youth baseball as he could, enjoying it to the end with his friends. Mostly, though, it was just good to be at the games. I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.”
The Permanent Fatherly Record
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Dad didn’t need an Alexa; he had Bess. Dad always had trouble coming up with the right name when he told his carpentry stories, and Mother was right there to help him out. It was easy for her because she knew the fellows and had heard the stories told over and over again.
“Things changed when Dad retired and spent his days watching television. He would be telling a friend about a funny show he just saw, and then he wouldn’t be able to remember the name of the show. Or the actors . . . or just when he saw it, so he would holler down to Mom to come to his rescue. Sometimes he would give her just enough clues so that she could manage to satisfy him, but often poor Mom was at a loss to help him out because his questions would be something like this: ‘Hey, Bess. What was the name of that fellow on the TV show I like?’ Mom would ask him to describe what show he was talking about, and he would say: ‘You know! That one that comes on right after that other one I like.’ His frustration would mount with each shake of her head until he would bellow, “Hell’s bells, how did you ever manage to teach school? You never know the answer.'”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You’ve reminded us of the elderly fellow who was trying to tell his buddies about a great new restaurant in town. He said he and his wife had both loved it . . . but he just couldn’t remember the name of it.
He said: “Oh, dear, let me think. What’s the name of that flower? Pretty flower — you know the one. Usually it’s red, but it can be yellow, too, or white. Has really sharp thorns on it?”
One of his buddies said: “A rose?”
He said: “Yeah, rose, that’s it. Hey, Rose, what was the name of that new restaurant we liked?”
The kindness of strangers
MoonGlo writes: “Last winter when we were vacationing in Florida, I was browsing on the beach. A woman, shelling nearby, came up to me and asked what kind of shells I was looking for. I said I only looked for shark’s teeth and sand dollars. I told her I had found several shark’s teeth, but had never found a sand dollar. She said she and her friend had been taken to another small island nearby the day before, and they had found dozens of sand dollars. She asked where I was staying and said she would bring me a sand dollar the next day. I sort of forgot about it, but the next day, my husband walked in and handed me two beautiful and perfect 3-inch sand dollars.
“I never saw her again to thank her, but am certainly enjoying this beautiful gift from a stranger.”
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “A recent article described places where a sign was put on a park bench. It said people were welcome to sit down there and chat, so they did.
“On Sunday, I attended my St. Paul neighborhood’s annual festival. I got a bratwurst and sat on a bench to eat it. A man asked if he could sit there, too, and I agreed. He thanked me multiple times for letting him sit down, and for talking to him. He appeared to be profoundly lonely, and reaching out rather than lashing out. He had some nervous mannerisms that could worry folks who haven’t learned to look past fidgets, etc. Luckily, I have experience with nervous tics.
“It occurs to me that we should have places where lonely folks can sit and share a brief bit of sunshine. Some of my most interesting conversations have been with folks I never saw again. They worked because we can speak more freely when we don’t have to worry about a future.
“Lately the politics around us has been loud and stressful. I vote for more park benches.”
Gaining everything in translation
Mrs. Patches of St. Paul: “Recently I went to a rehab center for a short time. (It wasn’t a good fit for me, so I wasn’t there long.) I was sitting at a table in the ‘lounge’ doing a Sunday crossword when a man walked in, sort of rubbing his abdomen. Since this was ‘rehab,’ I guessed that he was hurting. As we tried communicating, I realized he spoke Spanish and was struggling very hard to translate his words into English. I know almost no Spanish, so we struggled along for several minutes — making stabs at trying to find meaning.
“I heard one word, alto, which I knew meant high (despite having sung in choirs where the alto is the low female voice). So I tried ‘High?’ More back and forth, and I was able to discover his pain was high and it was worse at night. How did I do that? I take no credit; some power helped me, I know.
“And I was able to bring a smile to his face, and he shook my hand as he left and said ‘Gracias!’ Now that word I DID know!”
Life as we know it
Organizationally Challenged of Highland Park: “Subject: Canes.
“Due to a bunch of knee problems, I’ve been using a cane for a few months now. It’s no fun, and one of these days I fear that I’ll trip on the danged thing and end up using a walker.
“One of the challenges: You know how you have to watch where you step in the yard when you have a dog? Even if you are conscientious about picking up after your dog, sometimes you miss something. Then it’s entirely likely that you will stick your stick in the sticky stuff and not realize it until you’ve used the cane all over the place and the poo has dried and hardened.
“Think it’s difficult to clean dog doo-doo out of shoes? Yeah, try cleaning out the four-prong rubber waffle-like thing at the end of the cane!
“I finally hit on the idea of dragging it through rain puddles in the alley rather than using an entire roll of paper towels. The neighbors must have thought I was nuts. But it worked, and now I am a very careful when strolling through the grass!”
Our pets, ourselves
And: In memoriam
Dolly Dimples: “It says in Ecclesiastes: ‘There is a time for everything . . . a time to be born . . . a time to die. . . .’
“Recently we had to make the gut-wrenching decision that it was ‘time’ — time to relieve our beloved Percy of his disabilities due to his failing health. With the help of a caring veterinarian, he peacefully fell asleep on the couch snuggled against his beloved mistress. Tears flowed as we grieved the passing of our much-loved companion, who unconditionally loved each one of us.
“Percy, a rescue dog of undetermined age, lived with us 15 years or so. He was selected to be a member of our family by my grandson, who was about 4 years old at the time a pet store had a sale of pets waiting to be adopted into forever homes and families. When grandson saw Percy, he begged his mom to get him. Mom became Percy’s favorite person. Wherever she was in the house, he wanted to be there. I said he was attached to her like a shadow.
“Percy did not have a mean streak in his little body. He accepted anyone who came to our house — be they family members, guests or service people. After he made a quick sniff of their shoes, he’d do a little welcome dance while wagging his bushy tail vigorously. We miss that welcome-home greeting when we return home from shopping or other errands.
“Percy never gave sloppy licks on the face, as some dogs do. He was more of an air-kiss guy. He expressed his affection by looking you in the eye and flipping his tongue in and out of his mouth a few times.
“He was skilled at searching for treats and sweets that were not properly stored out of his reach. If someone (usually Grandma) dropped food on the floor at meal time, he would snatch it up before anyone had a chance to pick it up.
“He would share a space on the couch with anyone who was willing to share space with him.
“He enjoyed his neighborhood daily walks with either his mistress or his master. It gave him the opportunity to check the ‘news’ other dogs had posted on bushes or sign poles.
“At bedtime, his favorite place to sleep was curled up by his mistress’s feet.
“We miss you, Percy, but our memories of you will live in our hearts forever.”
Our pets, ourselves
The Astronomer of Nininger: “Harper is the current canine resident of our home on a lofty bluff above the Mississippi River. She came to us as a rescue dog, more housebroken and well-mannered than most.
“She is a Weimaraner by breeding, but seems to think she might be more a human. Sure, people do tend to humanize their pets to the Nth degree, but Harper takes it one step further. She really acts like she is one of the family.
“When we come home, or if anyone comes to visit, she greets them with a big toy. I meant big when I said that. Her typical toys are 2 feet across, and she loves to run up and down the hall with them, prancing with glee as she moves forward in dance-like bounds. She is nondestructive. She still has her toys that she came with to us some six years ago. Her favorite one came from Ikea — a huge green stub of broccoli.
“Harper is a multi-bed dog. She has dog beds in four different rooms; the one on the floor next to ours in the master bedroom is where she spends more time than any other. But if one of hers is not available, a couch or human bed will do.
“When we go down to the river, she always wants to accompany us. Down there she can carefully walk on the dock, but often finds herself fully immersed in the muddy, algae-blooming waters. No problem; she loves to take a shower. I just need to tell her that she needs one, grab her towel and she will lead the way to the shower in the bathroom of our study. It does take a few moments for the water to warm up, and then she sits in the shower stall so patiently while I apply shampoo and scrub any crud from her coat. I think she likes to be clean.
“She enjoys going with us. On the river, she loves the pontoon boat where she can go under the Bimini to get some shade. She loves going for a ride in the pickup truck. Just ask her if she wants to go for a ride, and she will become almost glued to your side until we leave. When we go to the drive-up window at the bank, she begins to salivate as we approach the portico. They know her by name and keep doggy cookies on hand. She loves life and people.
“Harper is not your usual dog. She even has her own Facebook page. She has more ‘friends’ than I do. Of course, everyone wants to be friends with Harper. That is a mutual expectation. Lick — lick.”
Everyone’s a (movie, journalism, and movie journalism) critic!
Semi-Legend writes: “Subject: Again?
“In the Star Tribune’s Sunday Variety section July 25, I saw a headline: ‘Are remakes wearing out their welcome?’
“I thought: ‘That story again?!'”
Everyone’s a (movie) critic (responsorial)
CK in CG: “Kathy S. of St. Paul mentioned the movie ‘The Farmer’s Daughter,’ which, she says, was supposedly set in Minnesota. Kathy S. also states that actor James Arness appeared in this film. This is, of course, another Minnesota connection. Mr. Arness was from Minneapolis and attended Washburn High School (with my mom).
Or: It just don’t add up!
Zoo Lou of St. Paul writes: “Subject: ‘Bonanza’ and other oddities.
“In the 1987 comedy ‘Tin Men,’ some aluminum-siding salesmen are in a diner discussing life’s more perplexing aspects.
” ‘This show “Bonanza,”‘ one of the guys quips, ‘is about a 50-year-old father and his three 47-year-old sons. What kind of a show is that?’
“I remember this line getting a big laugh from the audience at the Har Mar Theater. In reality, the guy wasn’t far off. Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright) was just 13 years older than both Pernell Roberts (Adam) and Dan Blocker (Hoss).
“It brought to mind other cases of age disparities and odd casting choices. Cary Grant was a mere eight years younger than screen mother Jessie Royce Landis in ‘North By Northwest.’ Jimmy Stewart was also eight years younger than mom Agnes Moorehead in ‘The Stratton Story.’ Talk about robbing the cradle!
“Shows centering on the trials and travails of the high-school experience can really test the belief that age is just a number. Sidney Poitier was 28 and Vic Morrow 26 when they starred in ‘Blackboard Jungle.’ Mark Arnold, the bully/jerk in the film ‘Teen Wolf,’ looked totally out of place with his five o’clock shadow among a sea of peach-fuzz faces — not surprising, since Arnold was 27 at the time.
“And then there’s the ‘preppy’ cast of ‘Grease’: Stockard Channing (33), Michael Tucci (32), Jamie Donnelly (30), Olivia Newton-John (29), Barry Pearl (27), and Didi Conn and Jeff Conaway (both 26). They were closer to getting Social Security than their high-school diplomas. [Bulletin Board says: Literary license, people!]
“Finally, Bea Arthur in ‘The Golden Girls’ was actually one year older than Estelle Getty, who played her mom. I’d like to hear Dr. Ruth discuss this biological anomaly with the casting director.
“But I think a quotation from W.C. Fields in ‘You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man’ provides a simple answer to these perplexing aspects of life: ‘They baffle science.”
This ‘n’ that
From Al B of Hartland: (1) “Years ago, my wife and I lived at the edge of a small town. Shrews got into our laundry room. That’s right, shrews. They were likely hunting the mice that were a part of our laundry-room menagerie.
“Shrews are the smallest Minnesota mammals. The venomous saliva of the short-tail shrew aids in subduing larger prey like mice. We couldn’t tame the shrews.
“I’ve never seen a shrew in the house we live in now. We still have odd things. We have six lawnmowers in a shed. There was a time when we didn’t own a single mower. I need to cull the mower herd, but until then we’re living the American Dream.”
(2) “Thoughts while trimming my nose hairs:
“It’s a small town if there is nowhere to get air for your tires.
“If you have a name that is hard to spell or pronounce, you will spend your life correcting people.
“I wish I could Google what I couldn’t remember and was going to Google before I forgot what it was that I was going to Google.
“If you lose a good-luck piece, how lucky could it have been?”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: For everything, turn, turn,turn . . .
“King James Version: ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ 1 Corinthians 13:11.
“Now as an elder, I buy them back at antique prices.”
The Permanent Family Record (responsorial)
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “The story from The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, about traveling to Dundas to get married in ‘a little stone church in Dundas’ caught my eye. I grew up on a farm just south of Dundas, and in 1966 I got my first chance to be in a wedding (as an usher) when one of my brothers got married in that very church. Yes, a small world. [Bulletin Board says: Especially around here.]
“Don and Rochelle got married on June 18, the 36th anniversary of Mom and Dad’s wedding. It was a beastly hot day. The service was fairly long, and of course the little stone church lacked anything as modern as air conditioning. Somewhere in the middle of the ceremony, I knelt on one side of the sanctuary, facing the center. Next to me was the other usher, a brother of the bride. When I glanced over at him, I could see a veritable river of sweat pouring off his nose! Across from me, facing us, was my twin sister, who was a bridesmaid. I was kind of keeping an eye on her, and I thought I noticed a bit of wobbling. Sure enough, straight over the kneeler she went as she fainted and her bouquet bounced out toward the witnesses. Luckily another brother of mine was in one of the front pews, and was apparently also watching her, as he darted (quite a feat for a man his size!) up into the sanctuary and caught her before she even hit the floor. He told her in no uncertain terms to ‘SIT,’ and retrieved her bouquet and gave it to her.
“Unfortunately she pretty much cried the rest of the ceremony, while the bride and groom were not even aware of what had happened because their backs were toward the rest of us. But this was always a vivid memory for the entire family in that ‘little stone church’ in Dundas. That brother has been gone for 30 years now, but his widow and two daughters live in Wisconsin. Sometimes it is hard to remember (until something like this rattles the old brain) that they were married less than 23 years, and the daughters were 20 and 7 when they lost their dad.
“Every day really is precious.”
KH of White Bear Lake: “Subject: Consider Yourself Warned.
“If you choose to walk on this section of sidewalk, and you happen to twist an ankle, your lawsuit might not make it to the Supreme Court.”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division
Our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: What a coincidence!
“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:
“‘We offer Bible Tech Support
“‘Sundays @ 10 AM’
“The next message gives the day and time of the worship service. You guessed it — Sundays at 10 a.m.”
The highfalutin amusements
FWD’d by Tom’s Wife of Arden Hills: “Let’s Never Get Rid of Newspapers . . .
Not exactly what he had in mind
Or So He Says Division
He is Donald: “Subject: They’re starting to name everything.
“I know that weather-related events such as hurricanes receive names, but I was surprised to find that forest fires are being given the same treatment, and on the sports pages, at that.
“The evidence is found on Page 5B of the July 31 edition of the Pioneer Press. It is the headline for a continuation of a story: ‘Wild fire Fenton.’
“‘When did they start to do this, and why in this section?’ I thought.
“In an attempt to solve the mystery, I turned to the front page of SPORTS, only to be confronted by this: ‘”I missed it”: Leipold fires GM Fenton.’
Band Name of the Day: The Air-Kiss Guys
Website of the Day, recommended by JBBaby: ‘Virtual safari’: Wildlife photos from around the world