Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the tag “Beauty”

Mis-Matched Socks That Are Not Mine

Mismatched socksTHIS PAST SATURDAY WAS ONE OF THOSE MARATHON DAYS. I use the term Marathon in the sense of a long ordeal, because there is no way on earth you are ever going to get me to run 26 + miles for anything. In fact, you are not going to get me to run 26+ feet for anything. Let’s consider that issue settled, shall we?

Moving on –

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Leaves of…uh…Leaves

covered_bridgeIT IS THE LATTER PART OF OCTOBER IN INDIANA. The trees are at their peak of Autumnal color. The leaves I saw this morning were red, yellow, gold, and blue. Blue? That turned out to be a plastic bag stuck on a branch.

People come from all over to look at the trees and go “Ooh” and “Ahhh.” After that they eat lunch and drive away. They never stay to help clean up the leaves as they fall to earth.

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Now It Is Time To Stare Out Of The Window

hornsby_rogers_1“PEOPLE ASK ME WHAT I DO IN WINTER when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Rogers Hornsby

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Baseball, its History and its Allure I offer up that quote from Rogers Hornsby (1896 – 1963). He is in Baseball’s Hall of Fame and is considered one of The Greats of the game. He played and managed from 1915 until 1953.

This well known quote about what he did in the off season says so much more than is apparent on the surface. It is more than just a game. It is more than just a metaphor for life. Baseball is a living, breathing superlative.

Baseball season is over now. Over for me, that is. True, there are still the Playoffs and the World Series to be decided, but my team is not there. They have gone home and so have I.

Oh, I imagine that I will watch some of these games, but because I have no one to cheer for, to anguish over, and to call by their first names, I will watch to enjoy the beauty of the game itself.

Someone, I forget who, said that, “Baseball is a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.” But if your favorite team is not playing it is like watching a ballet covered with dirt and pine tar. It is beautiful to watch, but you know that something is wrong. Where are your players?

Now that the season is over we, I and my wife, the lovely and Southpaw, Dawn, are keeping an ear cocked for any news about trades and player moves. Two of our pitchers have announced that they are retiring. Who will fill their spots in the rotation and bullpen? Who is going to be a Free Agent the day after the World Series ends? How are players recovering from injuries and surgeries? Will they be ready for Spring Training?

Spring Training – the truest harbinger of the changing of seasons. That robin may be frozen to the tree branch outside our window, but if Timmy’s hip surgery has brought him back then can new Black and Orange T-shirts be far behind?

We are not any different from Rogers Hornsby. We are also staring out of the window waiting for spring. But our window gives us a view of more than the snow and ice. It gives us the latest news and rumors.

The “Hot Stove League” is electronic these days with 24/7 talk and analysis as well as wishing and hoping. There will be second guessing until the cows come home and number crunching until it all turns into meaningless babble. That is when we pop a DVD into the machine. We can bundle up and watch Matt Cain’s Perfect Game and the Four Game Sweep in the 2012 World Series. We can sit in awe as MadBum strides in from the bullpen like Paul Bunyan ready to clear-cut the Kansas City Royals once again.

I can’t speak for the people who love football, tennis or golf, but don’t ever try to tell me that Baseball is “just a game.”

A more modern lover of the game than Hornsby, columnist George Will – who never played in the Majors, said, “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.” 

Now that the season is over we are also sitting by the window waiting for spring. It won’t be long.

Everything Looks Different Today

lover come back

IT WAS AFTER 3:30 AM when I finally crawled under the covers. The game was over – after more than five hours. I didn’t watch it all, of course. I slept from the seventh inning up until the bottom of the fourteenth – a nice nap. Did I miss much? Not really. The Giants lost, I was sleepy and it was almost time for the sun to peek above the eastern horizon. Dang.

My internal alarm clock usually wakes me up at 7 AM, but I knew that today it wasn’t going to work.

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I’d Rather Have Green Beans

giphy-6WE RECEIVED A COUPON IN THE MAIL the other day. It came from one of the Mega-Stores – those places that sell everything short of nuclear weapons and reasonably fresh green beans.

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What? I’m Sorry. What did you say? Huh?

Mr Bean asleepWE STAYED UP MUCH TOO LATE LAST NIGHT. When the SF Giants are playing on the west coast the games don’t even begin until 10:15.

Do the math. I can’t.

I didn’t crawl under the comforter until close to 2 AM and my eyes popped open just before 7 AM.  I got up – stumbled to the bathroom – relied on a lifetime of aiming in the dark, and stumbled back to bed.

At about 8:15 my eyes popped open again, only this time they functioned as advertised. I got dressed in whatever was closest.

It was then that my wife, the lovely and already up for some reason, Dawn, said, “You aren’t going to wear those pants, are you? There is some kind of stain on the back.”

I checked. She was right, but whatever it was, it was up near the belt – and my butt doesn’t go up that high. I must have either leaned up against something or there are loose stains floating in the air and one landed on my tookus.

The morning, which came much too soon anyway, was getting off to a very iffy start. I hadn’t even gotten out of the bedroom and I was having to make major life decisions like: What pants should I wear that don’t have a stain on them? Critical Thinking and Haute Couture, both before coffee.

Socrates would have blanched at that situation. “How did I get a stain on my toga? It’s too early and I haven’t had my… (Whatever Greeks drank in the morning. I know that hemlock was an afternoon aperitif.)

Anyway –

After dressing for the second time I took a look at myself in the mirror. Even with heavily impaired vision due to lack of sleep, I could see that things were going to be difficult unless I took positive action. If asked to give a capsule description of how I looked I would have to say that I had that “Disgruntled Former Employee” look going on. I needed a shave, my hair combed; my shirt buttoned correctly, my moustache trimmed, and my glasses cleaned.

If I had come to my own front door, I wouldn’t have let me in. Dawn would have dialed 911.

I started a major reclamation project by combing my hair, trimming the ‘stache, and fixing my shirt, even tucking it in. Shaving was going to have to wait until later because I am the only person I know who has cut themselves to the point of drawing blood while using an electric shaver.

When a day starts off like this one I am eternally grateful that I have no major plans or important tasks. It is a good thing that I’m not on the police bomb squad, or doing that new heart, lung and liposuction surgical operation.

None of it would come to a happy ending.

I think that the best thing for me to do today is to try to avoid heavy machinery, and attempt nothing more complicated than filling plastic bags with school supplies for the church’s “Blessing of the Backpacks” children’s service which is coming up soon.

No sharp objects. No volatile liquids. No human interactions beyond asking for coffee to be poured down my gullet. I’ve already asked if they have IV bottles at St. Arbucks – they said “No,” but I think they are holding out.

Today’s game starts at 4:05 PM. I can deal with that and I feel confident that tomorrow morning will find me alert, snappily dressed, and functioning at a level closer to the expectations of my species and chronological age.

Well, here’s hoping.

 

I Dream Of Columbus

Columbus_MapTHIS MORNING AS I SAT SIPPING my coffee and pondering my next step, I noticed a gentleman who was wearing a T-shirt that said, “Canyonlands – Moab, Utah.”

When I stumbled up to get a refill I stopped by his table and we chatted about that remarkable part of the country. As we spoke I saw the sparks light up in his eyes. He was like me – a man who breathes better on the road.

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A Day Filled With Sunshine

summertimeHERE WE ARE MOVING INTO MID AUGUST and we are having a very “Late September Day.” The sky is a blue canopy and the sun is shining.

When I got up this morning the temperature was in the mid 50s. I actually wore a light hoodie when I went for coffee at the Chapel of St. Arbucks. There were school busses driving around, getting ready for the resumption of classes next Monday. Yes, it was all very Autumnal.

But…but… I’m not ready for summer to be over.

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A Memory Delivered By FedEx

20150806_115017WHEN I GOT BACK HOME this morning after coffee Dawn said that there were two boxes waiting to be opened. FedEx had delivered them – sent by my niece Susan who lives in North Carolina. The boxes were filled with memories.

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What A Wonderful Idea

20130702_184921I WAS REALLY STUMPED about what I should write about for today’s blog posting. There were plenty of crazy stories in the news – like the guy who was arrested for trespassing when he was discovered sitting naked in the middle of a pig sty, incredibly drunk. His only explanation was, “I really like pigs.”

No, I didn’t want to use my bandwidth trying to understand that.

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It’s Haircut Time!

kim-jong-uns-haircutI GOT MY HAIR CUT ON MONDAY. I needed a haircut a month ago, but with all the travelling and such I never got around to it. My head was beginning to look like a Chia Pet version of myself.

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I Can Feel My Skeleton Fading Away

FB_IMG_1434634497017

AS I LOOKED OUT MY WINDOW I saw mountains that still had snow crowning their peaks. The sky was streaked with clouds turning red and orange in the dusk. That sure ain’t Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Place without mountains).

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A Rose Is A Rose Is A .357 Magnum

magazine rackI WAS WANDERING through the recently reconfigured aisles of the Kroger’s Supermarket this morning. Whenever they do make changes like that it takes a while for me to be able to find anything again. I end up having to go up and down all the aisles. I know that having me do that is the objective, but if I haven’t purchased canned lychee nuts  in the last forty years I probably won’t be doing so anytime soon.

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A Thing Of Beauty In Nine Innings

Double Play Giants

IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING this blog for very long you would have picked up that I am a BIG fan of San Francisco Giants baseball. I lived there for 25 years and it gets into your blood stream. I’ve infected my wife, the lovely and articulate Dawn, with Giants Fever and we both stay up much too late when the Giants are at home on the west coast.

Last Tuesday night they were playing in New York against the Mets. It was not a good day for the Mets.

Giants rookie starter Chris Heston (no relation to Charlton Heston, the famous actor in many over-wrought, epic, budget-busting, biblical and quasi-biblical Hollywood movie spectaculars.) threw a beautiful, complete game, No-Hitter against the Mets.

Heston gave up no hits and no walks. The defense behind him played flawlessly, committing no errors. Three Mets did get on base when Heston had a pitch or three wander off track and hit the batters. That was it.

We watched the entire game and it was a thing of beauty indeed. Young Heston (27 years old) showed poise, self-control, and laserlike concentration. He completed the game averaging just a hair over 12 pitches per inning. Very economical.

I know, I know. Some of you are going, “Here he goes again on his baseball kick.”

I do admit that, on occasion, I do wax rhapsodic about The Game and talk about it as if it was the most important thing in the world. I know that it isn’t. Coffee is the most important thing, with baseball executing a hook slide into second place.

How does a thing like this happen to an otherwise rational adult? I don’t know. All I know is that it happened to me and I make limited pretense to being a rational adult anyway.

Baseball is a child’s game played at breakneck speed, even though some people complain that it moves at a snail’s pace. It is the only major team sport played without the tyranny of the clock. It is the only team sport where it is the players on defense that control the possession of the ball.

It is the only sport that, as a child, I could play with any degree of success.

Growing up with full use of only one arm and one leg I was no threat in basketball, football, tennis, hockey (Gimme a break), track and field, golf, or swimming.

My skills in the pool are close to that of a blacksmith’s anvil.

Those other sports were beyond my abilities, but in baseball I could make a reasonable effort and get reasonable results.

I couldn’t run worth a damn, but if you hit the ball far enough you don’t have to. Even so, my hitting was marginal, but I was a good pitcher. My one good arm was strong enough for me to scare other kids my age.

My career was limited to games with and against other neighborhood kids. I wanted to play on a “real” team, but that required getting a doctor to sign a form saying that I was physically able – and that was never going to happen. I guess they felt that having me running around the field while wearing steel braces on my leg was not a good idea.

Oh, well. Time passes.

Since those days I have remained an avid fan of The Game, transferring my loyalties from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Cleveland Indians and onto the San Francisco Giants.

When you finally find the treasure the twisting route on the map becomes unimportant.

I love the game for its complexity as well as its simplicity; for its quick as a rabbit speed as well as its 19th century leisurely pace; for its hammering brute force as well as its almost balletic delicacy.

Watching a cleanly executed 6 to 4 to 3 double play is sharing in a filigree of speed, timing, prowess and unerring accuracy – all while avoiding the spikes of a charging runner.

Yeah, so I do get excited by things like Chris Heston’s No-Hitter the other night.  I enjoy watching it and appreciate the skill and hard work it takes to make it look so easy.

On an evening like last Tuesday it was all so beautiful.

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