Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Mid-Summer Classic

So, I'm sitting here watching the All-Star Game, also known as The Mid-Summer Classic.

While it isn't exactly true, calendar wise, (summer is officially less than a month old), it's halfway through the baseball season. Close enough, I guess.

The All-Star Game makes me think of being somewhere else. We were always on vacation during the All-Star Game when I was a kid. One year, I saw it in Myrtle Beach. Another, in Hilton Head. Still another in Jackson, Wyo.

I remember the year Tom Selleck hit one deep in the celebrity home run derby. I remember the tragic, terrible year Bud Selig let the game end in a tie. (A tie? In baseball? Sigh.)

My dad and I watched the game together if I happened to be home. Tim Reeves and I have watched a couple together. We've held a few parties at Drew Weaver's parents' house and at the Shelton abode over the years.

Tonight, I'm suffering through sciatica (insert an old man joke here if you'd like), so it's just me, the dog and the TV. That's OK.

What's up with the DH being allowed in a National League stadium for the All-Star Game? Who comes up with this stuff?

As much as I respect him, Mariano Rivera is just a closer. It reminds me of the way Mickey Lolitch answered the question once:

"I was my own closer."

And don't let the door hit you on the way out, Tim McCarver. Can you believe this blabbermouth actually had the temerity to record an album of American pop standards? It still gives me nightmares.

Ah, I don't know. The national pastime isn't what it used to be.

But, then again, neither am I.

Monday, July 15, 2013

With a little help from my friends...

Hi gang.

Sorry I didn't duck back in last week. Losing a loved one is tough. But you don't need me to tell you that.

Jenn and I visited my grandmother's grave after I had to cover the rodeo at Red Gate on Saturday night. I was glad to see nobody had stolen the flowers. The sun was setting. The tears flowed.

It's been that kind of week.

I'm seeking solace in the usual place -- music. Gospel. Elvis. Sinatra. Others.

And, darn it, I'm experiencing moderate-to-severe lower back pain. I think it's either a pinched nerve or sciatica. I have a history of both. I'll find out more tomorrow afternoon.

But enough of that.

Hey, you know what? No amount of money in the world can put a price tag on the value of friendship. I've been blessed with a host of friends. Too many to name. You know who you are.

My definition includes someone who sticks by you through thick and thin, who lifts you up, who kicks you in the butt when you need it, who lends a sympathetic ear, who doesn't just call when something is needed.

Mine have enriched my life. With my friends, I have laughed, cried, had more fun than should be legal. They are my rocks.

Maybe The Beatles said it best:

"I get by with a little help from my friends."

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Saying goodbye to my grandmother

Well, it turned out not to be the vacation I expected, but I was in the perfect place for peace.

My grandmother Lydia Beeler Mabe passed away last night. She was 88.

She was taken to the hospital June 29 after falling at her home. She hadn't broken anything but scans revealed cancer that had metastasized from a lung to her liver and beyond. She had been hurting longer than she had admitted.

Doctors gave her a month. She stayed for seven days. Her hospital/hospice stay was short. For that, I am thankful. I am grateful, too, for our final conversations last week.

I will need time to tell you more about her. Meanwhile, I will send you the link to a column I wrote last week for the newspaper. (This link will work until Sunday, June 14.) Any other words at this point seem inadequate.

Before cutting my vacation short, I spent much of the week in quiet, solitary contemplation. I read Jonathan Schwartz's memoir and "2001: A Space Odyssey." I listened to Schwartz's show on Sirius/XM. I sought solace in the Great American Songbook and in the music of Elvis Presley and of John Denver and of Francis Albert Sinatra, all of the sweet songs that pluck at my heartstrings.

I watched "Star Trek" and "Magnum, p.i." and "Harry O" and, on a deliciously stormy night, I watched "Night Gallery" and enjoyed the shivers up my spine.

I sat on the screened-in deck and watched the rhythm of the rain. I watched the waves wash across my Walden. I remembered. I wept.

My hope for you is that you enjoyed a safe and happy Independence Day. My wish for you is that you have a wonderful week.

Hug a stranger. Tell somebody you love them. Smile just for the heck of it. Dance in the rain.

Life, in all of its mysteries, is a short stay, indeed.