Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We Are Family....

....I Got All My Sisters With Me

Well, actually, I have two daughters, Bigger E. and little e.

And usually they, their mom C., and me, do things together, just like the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates*.

Tonight, however, we did not.

Because the two E.'s and C. took Grandma L. to Stanley Park.

To watch an outdoor performance of the so-called hit musical 'Grease'.

I did not go.

Instead, I went to the ballgame with my friend M. to watch the lowest of the low - the short season rookie league Vancouver Canadians play the Eugene Emeralds.

M. is a fellow science geek and he is probably even more of a baseball freak than I am.

Unfortunately, much of his passion for the game is tied up in the New York Mets due to the fact that M. grew up in Queens, two blocks away from Shea Stadium.

And he was twelve in 1969, the year that the Metropolitans and Tom Seaver turned 'Amazin' and won the World Series.

Which, of course, was the same year that Aldrin and Armstrong walked on the moon.

Even back then I can remember feeling sorry for Aldrin, forever doomed to be in second place, for no good reason at all.

Myself, I was nine in the summer of 1969.

And the other thing I remember thinking, also for no good reason at all, was that I would be this ridiculously old man of 40 in the year 2000.

Imagine that.


It was a see-saw, error-filled game at Nat Bailey Stadium tonight.

And the sky changed hue and colour about 93 times before the heavens went black and the crows alit from Little Mountain and headed east towards my house.

And there was a gang of raucous, but good-natured, young twenty-somethings sitting behind M. and me that seemed to enjoy listening in on our stories of long gone bleacher glory.

However, in the bottom half of the 8th inning, after the beer had taken hold, I got the distinct feeling that the kids were really just humouring us when they began to mercilessly heckle the opposing third baseman with the unfortunate name of 'Felix' after he made a couple of throwing errors.

Of course, being the respectable elder that I have now become I did not partake in said heckling.

Between innings, however, I did mention to the young louts that if I was the heckling type, which I assured them that I was not, that I just might yell out the following:

"Hey..... Felix! Tell your girlfriend to stop bugging me!"

Now, at the time I uttered these words I wasn't sure if they scored any points or not.

But later, as we shuffled out of the emptying ballpark, one of the kids asked if we were coming to the 'nooner' tomorrow afternoon.

I told him that we would have to miss it because of this crazy thing called work.

The kid said that was a bummer. Then he asked, kind of sheepishly, if I would mind if he tried out my line on Felix.

I said sure.

Then I smiled to myself as I thought of the old codger who taught me that very line back at a time when I too was a twenty-something young kid who would slack-off for a day game at the drop of a hat.


In the end, I beat the girls home by about half an hour tonight.

Little e. was exhausted, and she has to get up early for daycamp tomorrow.

So we skipped the 'Harriet the Spy' at bedtime and went straight to the story songs instead.

And then, when I was sure she was asleep, I played Nebraska.

I was fishing around looking for Springsteen stuff awhile back when I came across a clip of the guy they used to call 'Alvin Lee By The Sea' when he was a kid. He was talking about why he wrote all those bleak songs that became that album in 1982.

It was, he said, because, he wanted to write about what it might be like if all those things you believed in when you were twenty-five didn't come true.

Which I thought was a pretty amazing concept. Maybe even more amazing than the 1969 Mets.

But what is really and truly amazing is the fact that Nebraska itself is now twenty-five years old.


*Dale Berra, Dave Parker, John Milner , their friends and associates, and maybe even the Pirate Parrot, excepted, of course.


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