Posted tagged ‘Boston Red Sox’

“O’ how full of briers is this working-day world.”

July 20, 2012

Most mornings I’m finished with writing Coffee by now and have gotten on with my day, but not this morning. I woke up late, had three cups of coffee and just took my time reading the papers. It has to do with the weather. Today is cool. It will be in the mid-70’s and will stay cool for the next couple of days. Today is also dark. The sun is hidden behind a cloudy sky. I think it’s a wonderful day.

I had to figure the day of the week when I woke up. Usually I have a Wednesday play which helps give definition to the week, but I didn’t have one this week so I am a bit discombobulated. Because I watch the Red Sox most nights, I don’t have favorite shows on certain nights to help me keep track. I guess in the long run it doesn’t really matter what day it is.

When I was in college, I worked every summer at the post office in Hyannis. Back then Hyannis was a sectional center which meant all the mail was filtered through there so they hired a lot of summer temps. I was a mail sorter. I sat on this weird stool which was tilted toward the mail sorting boxes, and I wore a rubber thumb to help me sort one envelope at a time. I had my own rubber thumb given to me when I first started, and I was warned not to lose it. That should have given me a hint about working in the post office, but it didn’t. At first they had me working the general mail which just meant sorting the mail into states or cities. It was the easiest board, as they called the sorting stations, to work. I had such a good memory that I was also sent to work the Boston station board sorting into towns around the city. I worked Massachusetts which divided the general mail into cities and towns, and I worked Illinois and Ohio. I never did understand why we broke those last two into towns. Working in the PO was about the most boring job I ever had, just sitting and sorting from noon to nine. Once in a while I’d get to cancel the mail and I always enjoyed that, especially the postcards as they were so thin a bunch would slide through the canceling machine all at once. Whenever I’d find a postcard all filled out and stamped but without an address, I’d sent it to a friend. None of them ever mentioned those odd people who sent them postcards. The best time of the night was when we had to tie out for the 9 o’clock pick-up. That meant every piece of first class mail had to go on trucks to Boston. We literally tied each bundle from each slot on the boards using two elastics and then each bundle got an identifying destination on a paper wedged under the elastics. That was hectic emptying all the boards, but it was the only time I had fun working there.

The last time I worked in the PO was the summer before my senior year in college. At the end of that summer, I was actually offered a full-time job starting after Labor Day. I didn’t laugh or snort or breakout in hysterical laughter. I just said no thank you.

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe…”

June 30, 2012

Today will be warm, 85˚ warm. Right now, though, the house is still morning cool, especially this room. The dog is sleeping in her crate. I can hear her snoring. She and I both slept in this morning. Last night I was up until after 2am watching the Red Sox playing Seattle first then some really bad movies. My taste definitely changes when the choices are so few. I’ll tolerate almost anything to pass the time until the Sandman comes.

My acorn squash has flowers, and I have already eaten some of my tomatoes. I figure my first year with a vegetable garden is a success. Not only that, it’s been fun watching everything grow. Today I’ll have my cherry tomatoes in a small salad. The first tomato got popped right into my mouth. It was wonderful!

Today is quiet. Usually on a Saturday I can hear people’s voices and lawnmowers and the occasional car going down the road. I don’t know where everybody is, but I’ll take the quiet. I have  new book called The Leftovers which is calling for me. I figure a cold ice tea, the book and some cheese and crackers will be terrific on the deck later.

Fall is my favorite season here on the cape, but summer is a close second. It is when spend my days outside, even to taking an outdoor shower. I grill my dinner. We have movies on the deck. Some afternoons I fight Gracie for the lounge and I take a nap. The nights are filled with the wonder of fireflies flitting around the trees and the mornings are bird songs. Even the sounds of lawnmowers are welcome.

Sometimes I look at the cape as if I were on vacation. I drive on all the scenic roads and along the shore. I visit shops instead of stores. Sometimes I stop for lunch and have clams or shrimp and French fries as take-out. Every now and then I eat at A&W Root Beer and always have hot dogs. A sunny day is the best time for meandering. Everyone else is at the beach. The roads are mine. The last time I roamed I went all the way to Wellfleet. I took Route 28 down and Route 6A back. Before I went home, I stopped for an ice cream cone. It was a perfect day.

“As I grew up, I knew that as a building (Fenway Park) was on the level of Mount Olympus, the Pyramid at Giza, the nation’s capitol, the czar’s Winter Palace, and the Louvre — except, of course, that is better than all those inconsequential places.”

April 20, 2012

My friends and I had the best day yesterday at Fenway Park. It was filled with people wandering all over taking pictures, touching revered parts of the park and watching current Sox on the field and in the bull pen. All of us patiently waited in lines to see parts of Fenway usually off-limits, and most everyone wore something which proclaimed their allegiance to our home team. We touched the manually operated scoreboard on the green monster, watched Dice-K throwing and Bard and Buckholtz warming up. We saw Bobby Valentine, the new manager. All three of us sat on the little bench in the Sox dugout where Tito used to spend most games and went up in the elevator with Wally who was only to glad to have his picture taken. We found my brick in the Bill Monbouquette section by Gate B and sat in the pavilion seats with the best views of the park. We also sat for a while in the press box once filled with typewriters but now loaded with USB ports. This afternoon we will be glued to the TV to watch all the 100th birthday festivities starting with an entire park toast to Fenway, a toast hoping to make the Guinness Book of World Records. 100 years ago John Francis “Honey Fitz”  Fitzgerald, JFK’s grandfather, threw out the first pitch and the NY Highlanders lost. We’re hoping the final score will reflect that historic game.

I went out earlier as Gracie was barking, and I wanted to find out why. She was trying to jump the 6 foot fence around the yard to get at the loose dog on the other side. Twice she got her front paws on the top but couldn’t pull the rest of her over. I went down, grabbed her collar and brought her in the house. Her exertions were exhausting and Gracie is taking her morning nap.

Today is sunny but chilly, a typical spring day on Cape Cod. When we drove to Boston yesterday, the closer we got to the city, the fuller the trees were and some were already leafy. Cherry trees were in blossom. Our trees have small buds.

Gracie gets a trip to the dump today.

“Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.”

April 19, 2012

It’s really early for me to be up let alone be working on Coffee, but we’re going to Fenway Park this morning. There’s an open house in celebration of Fenway’s 100th birthday which is tomorrow. For today, an off day for the Sox, areas like the bullpen, the dugouts and the left field scoreboard will be available for up close and personal looks. I also get to see my brick which is now a permanent part of the concourse. It’s like having a star at Grauman’s Chinese Restaurant minus the footprints. For the big celebration game tomorrow, the Sox and the Yankees will be wearing throwback uniforms. In 1912, the Yankees were the New York Highlanders, and they lost 7-6 in 11 innings. I hope the Gods of baseball will smile on the Sox in celebration.

I have loved baseball for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I watched my friends play little league at the field near my house. It had dugouts and a screened backstop and bleachers on both sides of the field. Every Memorial Day, the little leaguers marched in their uniforms, those old, bulky wool ones just like the uniforms the Sox wore. The little league teams were named after teams in the major leagues, and there was a draft day every spring after tryouts.

I loved the old uniforms with the high stirrup colored socks and the white socks showing on the sides underneath. Names like the Red Sox and the White Sox made perfect sense back then. A few players still wear them that way now, and I like the look.

Baseball was easy to understand: three up, three down and nine regular innings. The nuances I learned as I grew older: things like a squeeze play, the infield fly rule or a Texas leaguer.

I will never forget my first game at Fenway Park. It was a night game, and I walked out of the concourse near the bleachers and saw spread out in front of me the greenest grass I’d ever seen. It seemed to sparkle from the lights lit around the field. It was glorious.

“When we lose Fenway, we lose the sense that somebody sat here and watched Ted Williams hit.”

December 26, 2011

The sun popped out, took a look at the day and went right back behind the clouds. The wind is blowing but the day feels warm at 40°. All of the animals are sleeping, and I think them wise. The day after Christmas is always a bit of a letdown. The anticipation is gone, and the wonderful Christmas music disappears off the radio. The tree gets lit every night, but its job is pretty much done. Today is, for me, a day to sit and look at my presents again and do little or nothing. I’m not even going to get dressed. Brushing my teeth is about the only planned activity.

My friends gave me a brick for Christmas but not just any brick. It’s a replica of the brick with my name on it which will become a forever part of Fenway Park when the bricks are laid in the concourse near gates B & C. This new brick walkway is part of the celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of  Fenway Park. I can’t even describe how excited I was when I opened my present. It’s about the best present ever, at least since I got my bike.

I have loved the Red Sox since I was a little kid. In those days the bleacher seats cost under a dollar, and day of game seats were always available, even for the best seats, the boxes right beside the field. When I was in college, the guy I was dating would have his mother pack a box (sorry!) lunch and we’d head to the park. He always bought seats near the dugout. A game at Fenway is like a game nowhere else as so many seats are close to the action. It’s almost as if you were on the field. Last year was a bust for my Sox, but, as always, we fans know the next year will be a better one. That has always been our mantra.

The sun is back, and the sky has patches of blue. It will be a lovely day after all.

“He slud into third.”

August 8, 2011

It rained all day yesterday, sometimes heavily. Gracie didn’t go out until early in the evening when it was just sprinkling. Today is cloudy and humid, and I feel closed in by the humidity which sucks in all the air making it difficult to breathe. A leaf bounces in the air every now and then but there is no breeze. Even the birds are quiet, their songs dulled by the thick air. I have no ambition whatsoever.

I stayed up late and watched the Sox-Yankees game and was rewarded with a Sox win in the 10th. It amazes me that after so many games already played this season these two teams are only one game apart. Not bad for the Sox who started out 2-10.

Baseball is easy to understand which is probably why it is my favorite sport. I have no idea how football works other than the basics. I don’t even know what most of the guys standing on the line are supposed to do. I don’t care about my football ignorance  nor do I care to learn any more. I still watch and applaud a first down for my team or a great run or a magnificent pass; however, when the  announcer describes the play, he might as well be speaking gibberish.

From the time I was young, I understood baseball, even the intricacies and most of the terminology. I did learn a new one last year, the Mendoza Line. It hadn’t come up much with the hard hitting Sox. Years ago one of the male coaches in the high school where I worked considered women dabblers when it came to sports. I was in the teachers’ room when baseball was the topic of discussion. I mentioned it was my favorite sport, and he sort of smirked and asked if I knew anything beyond nine innings and three outs. I said I did, and he questioned me. Most of the questions were easy, and I handily answered them. He thought he’d get me with hitting for the cycle, but I knew it. He gave a look at the guys at the table and asked about a Texas leaguer. He stopped asking when I knew the answer. I was tempted to ask him about the last book he’d read, but I figured I’d be stereotyping, and besides, I knew from past conversations he considered Sports Illustrated a classic right up there with A Tale of Two Cities.

“Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves”

August 4, 2011

Yesterday was perfect: sunny, breezy and cool. but today there is no sun which makes the air feel damp and chilly. We had a deluge the other night with thunder and lightning and nearly two inches of rain. It was dramatic and wonderful.

Tonight I’m going to the Red Sox game. It’s Peace Corps night. If you watch the game, look for the sea of red shirts in the bleachers, around 350 returned volunteers and their families. That’s me waving every now and then. Before the game, there will be a parade of Peace Corps country flags on the field. I’ll be one of the flag bearers. Between innings 3 and 4 and 7 and 8, we’re holding up tiles which will come together as the Peace Corps logo. You won’t see that. You’ll probably be watching a Sullivan tire ad or one for Dunkin’ Donuts.

Sometimes I wish I were money rich. I wouldn’t move into a bigger house or buy a different car, but I’d take my family on a huge trip. We’d travel on the Mediterranean and stop in so many places. I’d take a million pictures. Some would be in black and white like the travel pictures from the 30’s. They’re my favorites. I’d have the women wear hats and dresses for a few of those while the men would be in suits and wearing fedoras. My nephew’s son would wear short pants or knickers and an argyle vest over his shirt. In the family picture, we’d be lined up by height.

I would have loved living in the 30’s when people took the grand tour of Europe before they settled down into their lives. I’d bring a steamer trunk and fill it with satin like dresses, a few with flowers, hats with veils, a couple of pairs of fancy shoes and some sturdier ones for walking. A fox stole would be packed for those chilly nights. For the fancy dinners on the ocean liner, a few long dresses would do just fine. After dinner, before going to my cabin, I’d sit and have a drink or two in the bar, smoke my cigarette from a long black holder and have witty conversations with my fellow travelers. At every stop I’d buy a sticker for the outside of my steamer trunk.

After my trip, the trunk would be stored in the attic. In it would be a few souvenirs, some pictures and my diary. Years later, someone would find it, dust it off and spent an afternoon with me on my adventure.

“Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses, A box where sweets compacted lie.”

May 7, 2011

The morning is beautiful, sunny and warmish. I woke up to the sound of the lawnmower next door. It reminded me of every Saturday morning all summer. The lawn now is lush and green, the way it is only in the early spring before the heat of the summer sun finds it. As I write, it is being mowed and trimmed. Gracie is an interested spectator.

Last night from the bleachers I watched the Red Sox get thumped by the Twins. I ate a Fenway frank and shared some popcorn. It was fun being back at the ball park under the lights, but I would have preferred to see them win or even stay close. They have one more game to impress me as I have tickets in August.

I had Rice Krispies for breakfast this morning. I should have been sitting on the rug in front of the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons instead of reading the papers while I ate. They still snap, crackle and pop.

I can see the leaves on the oak trees. They are finally catching up with the other trees in the yard. In the front garden, many of the perennials have appeared. They make me want to buy my flowers and my herbs. That’s always a favorite shopping spree. I walk along the rows of flowers dragging my little red wagon behind me as I fill it. This is a red and pink year. I have plenty of white flowers. My friend, the garden maven, gave a list of plants to add to my garden this year. She has well over a hundred varieties in her various gardens so her advice is welcomed.

Later, I’ll venture to the deck and sit in the sun. The few errands I have can wait until the day is cooler in the late afternoon. I just can’t imagine wasting a warm day with blue skies and a gentle breeze.

“When you are sitting in your own house, you don’t learn anything. You must get out of your house to learn.”

May 6, 2011

The sun is shining, and it’s already 60°, a perfectly lovely day. The animals have taken their usual places in the sun and Fern is stretched and basking.

Last night I was my friends’ house for dinner and games. I felt something on the outside of my ear and grabbed a tick on its way up to my hair. All night long I was itchy and the idea of that tick gave me chills. Bloodsuckers are so gross.

The Red Sox got drubbed last night, and I hope they got losing out of their system as I am going to the game tonight. We have bleacher seats we won at trivia last week. I don’t remember the last time I sat in the bleachers, but they used to be the easiest seats to get. All four of my nephews have fond memories of their first games ever at Fenway. I took them all, and we had bleacher seats. They can still describe the days, the games and the food. All four are huge Sox fans. One of them is coming tonight.

I got a call at 8:15 this morning. It woke me up. The caller asked if it had. I grumpily said yes. I had gone to bed late, around 1, and I still needed a bit more sleep. I always observe the 9 to 9 rule-no calls before 9 and none after. 8:15 is just wrong.

Today I reserved my room in a guest house in Accra. Julie, the manager, and I had a lovely conversation. Even after being away forty years I automatically fell into the English pattern of speech we all used when talking with Ghanaians. We spoke slowly and enunciated T’s like in waTer, pronounced waTa, and beTTer, pronounced beTTa, so we could be understood. Idioms and colloquialisms were out. Julie had no problem understanding me, and I was thrilled. She was amazed that I had lived in Bolga and was going back after 40 years. During the conversation she    laughed several times with a hearty Ghanaian laugh. She wanted to know how old I am now, and said how wonderful when I told her. Julie is going to meet me at the airport. I’m just sorry I arrive at 6:50 pm as I would love to relive my first journey from the airport and my first look at Africa and Ghana. After so long, I suspect I’ll be amazed again.

“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”

April 9, 2011

Today is perfectly lovely though still a bit chilly at 48°. It’s the lack of any breeze which makes the day feel almost warm. The cats have staked their claim in the sun streaming through the front door. Gracie is outside playing with her pal Cody. He leaves his own house, runs here and barks at the door to come in and play with Gracie in the backyard. When they’re done, I let him in and open the front door. He runs home and leaves an exhausted Gracie behind him.

The Red Sox won their first game yesterday. It was against the Yankees and was a see-saw game until the seventh. I’m thinking being home was all they needed. Yaz threw out the first pitch and Johnny Pesky said, ” Play Ball!” I love tradition.

I used to own lovely stationery. In the corner of every sheet was an embossed K. Having that box made me feel special. Though I haven’t any of those sheets left, I still have some boxes of note cards left over from the days of handwriting. I’d send a thank note for gifts and special evenings. I haven’t done that in a long while; instead, I write an e-mail or make a phone call, but they just aren’t the same. Taking the time to write a note elevates the gift and the gift giver. I think it’s time for me to go back to that lovely tradition of  giving thanks in a special way.

When I was in Ghana, I sent blue aerogramms. My writing was tiny, and I filled every open space. My mother saved several of those, and I love reading them. They aren’t filled with exciting travels or stories of marvels, but they give a chronicle of my every day activities, my students and my trips to the market or my rare evenings out at the Hotel d’Bull for a movie. Back then, I thought the news quite boring, but I knew my family would be thrilled to read about Ghana and what I was doing. I never thought I’d be reading them forty years later.

Writing letters has gone out of style and been replaced by e-mails and blogs. I imagine, though, I too would have had a blog of my adventures in Ghana, but I do love having my letters and re-reading them. They are a narration, a log, not dependent on an internet connection. They are far more substantial.