Hey.

Good morning. I wish it to be a happy year for all of you earthlings, but I’m not going to wish anyone a happy new year. After day one, it becomes redundant. I do wish everyone a bunch of great days to follow after and beyond January.

However, I’d like to specifically mention people like my friend who has made this a good year. Thank you.

Take Care.

Jesus Christ is Coming to Town

Yesterday, Jesus stopped by our house for biscuits and gravy, so that was pretty cool. We hadn’t met him before, and we have to admit, he’s quite an affable fellow. Upon arrival, He tossed off his robe and Birkenstocks replacing them with a cashmere sweater and sneakers. “Even I get cold and uncomfortable sometimes.”

It was a short visit because we didn’t have any wine to offer. We told him we do have plenty of water though. He just laughed and said, “I get where you’re going with this. That’s a myth…..just like Santa. That bearded mountain of Jolliness couldn’t climb down a chimney if there were cookies deep fried in chocolate sauce in the fire place. Ha! Merry Me Day. Take it easy, and God Bless you. I’m out.”

Thanks, but c’mon

Green bean casserole is widely known as the most difficult and treacherous thanksgiving side dishes since wine.

I’ve struggled with this dish with green beans, store bought onion strings and cream of mushroom soup.

My wife offered to prepare it this year, while I, for the last fifteen years have prepared cornbread dressing, and stuffing for the bird. Gravy included.

I will give her this. If she makes the casserole, I’ll take her to Hamilton.

I’ve heard it’s 3 hours long.

Punishment

Days Like This

Van Morrison, one of my favorite unintelligible song writers, wrote a song regarding the simple notion that “There will be days like this.” His Mama told him this.

Some people take that so negatively.

We all get sick and it stinks. We have to take out the garbage. That stinks. Your wife likes watching birds more than holding her husband’s hand. My Mama never told me about those days.

Birds were fun for my mom to watch, analyze and depict. Britt, my wife, feels the same. My mother told me to embrace the goodness of the world while accepting the fact that we are all flawed. According to my wife and late mother, birds can even be flawed, but it’s not deliberate. It’s simply the isosceles triangle of life.

18

Spending 7 and a half hours should be something special at a ballgame. And, it was….when you are 10. Actually, it was still terrific the other night and we are in our fifties…other than my wife. (She’s 25).

My wife, brother, friend. and I spent this amount of time and 18 innings at the park. Was it fun? Yes! Did you feel as though you were at a Catholic Mass sitting and standing? Sometimes. Because the game was quite stressful, did you want to slit your throat? Never.

In our backyard, 7 and a half hours was nothing while playing baseball. I can’t speak for any other of my brothers or hooligan neighbors, but after ten hours, we were still having fun until the dinner bell rang.

Quotes

Mark Twain is my favorite writer. Shakespeare is my least. However, They do have some good quotes. “Frailty, thy name is woman”. Get real, Shakes. “Golf is a terrific way to ruin a walk.” That’s Twain.

Me, a lesser known idiot, “There can never be enough mayonnaise”

I’m making bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches today while watching college football.

This is for my friend, Marshall.

Wild Cards

One eyed jacks and suicide queens aren’t the only wild cards this time of year. In baseball, you start depending on the wild card team you are rooting for to make the playoffs. For my team, that hasn’t worked out quite the way I wanted for the last twenty or thirty or forty years. But, as much as I hate losing, without getting too upset, you look to those who maintain hope during fruitless seasons of doom.

Baseball means nothing to many. To others, in different parts of the country or world, it means everything. People in third base countries are provided wealth by players signing contracts in the major league empire just to support their home country’s livelihood. For that, I try to appreciate the meaning.

My sister, Teresa, is a wild card and represents not just something, but everything about what I love about the game of baseball.. The pure fun, the nostalgia, and the simple desire to recognize greatness while simultaneously having fun.

It’s difficult maintaining a relationship with someone, for example, my sister, who lives in a State far away from us. She’s in Tennessee, I think, and I live on an island in the Pacific Northwest, I think. That’s a load of crap. Not the areas, but the excuses for not communicating. I hold myself fully responsible for this.

I’ll tell you what’s wonderful about this time of year. My sister and I have a love for baseball which connects us, and we don’t bitch and moan about who has called who, or have you talked to them, and how are the grand nephews or nieces we won’t know the names of until they graduate. We simply talk baseball, and it’s glorious. Teresa knows a hell of a lot more about the sport than I ever will.

Out of respect, she follows my team which has never won, nor been to a World Series. I follow her teams because, well, she’s my sister. That’s what’s beautiful. At this time of year, it’s fun, and it’s everywhere.

I don’t gamble anymore, but if I did, I’d bet onTeresa. She’s an ace in the hole.

No Hitter?

Going anywhere with Patricia was similar to attending a Jimmy Buffet concert. Fun? Guaranteed. Also, full of some delightful surprises.

August 12, 2015, Patricia and I attended a Seattle Mariner game together. Before the game began, Patricia was bellowing, “Go Mariners!, Go Mariners!” which was strange because she never bellowed anything. It was more like screaming or a delightful cackle. Being her brother and friend, and my seat mate, I just couldn’t shout positively about a team I believed unworthy of this type of adoration. Let’s call it straight, The Mariners sucked.

As a baseball nerd, I love attending games with people who appreciate the boring, yet complicated art of the sport. Sometimes, I expect those people to be like me. I pay attention at games. Patricia wasn’t like me. She wasn’t like anyone I knew. She was an original.

We watched eight innings together, laughing and enjoying the game she wasn’t watching. I was recognizing something special, and it wasn’t just the game. Patricia and I were watching a no hitter, an extremely rare occurrence and something neither of us had seen before. I knew what was happening. She didn’t.

Baseball superstitions are essentially ridiculous, but there are times you don’t want to irritate the baseball Gods. You never mention a no hitter is occurring until the ninth inning. Otherwise, the pitcher is doomed for failure. So, it turned out perfectly swell for me. I was keeping my mouth shut, and I knew Patricia would keep hers shut because she didn’t know what the Hell was happening. She was simply enjoying the game and atmosphere, just not the details. Normally, that would have bothered me, but to witness her pure joy during a game which was historic for us made me think, “Damn. I wish was more like her”. Instead, I was feeling the pressure vicariously from the pitcher. It was making me nervous.

In the ninth inning, Patricia turned to me and said, “This is so much fun, but why is everyone so excited? The Mariners have a big lead. I’m surprised people aren’t heading for the exits.”

That’s when I directed her attention to the scoreboard. “Do you notice those zeroes on the the scoreboard? They don’t just represent zero runs, they also display the Mariner pitcher is three outs away from a no hitter.”

Insert Patricia’s jubilation. “What!!!!!!!!?”

I told her we may see something live very few people will ever get to witness, even on t.v..

For the last three outs, her screams became something even an earthquake would respond to by saying, “Ok, settle down, Patty.” I loved it. She was loving the game more than me. I didn’t think that was possible.

The no hitter was kept intact, and I”ll never forget it, but I didn’t celebrate it. I celebrated a person who didn’t give a Yankee dime about the outcome. As always, she was celebrating life. Remarkably, because of her, so was I. Absolutely proud and honored witnessing it with her, I was so pleased to have the gift of her as a sister.

Personally, I hate parades, but Patricia deserves one. St. Patrick can take a back seat today, because, as you know, it is St. Patty’s day. She is watching us celebrate her. Damn right.

Organize This

After straying from organized religion years ago, I am now personally against organized singing.

Growing up in a Catholic world, filled with internal prayer, we were required to attend church, even while on vacation. I didn’t enjoy being asked to sing with the choir, but felt too guilty to leave those behind who could not sing a lick. If the fellow parishioners who couldn’t hold a note would have followed me, as if I was a tiny tow headed Moses, I would have parted the red pews for them. At eight years old, however, I never had the guts to lead. I also didn’t really participate, only mouthing the hymns. Either lead, follow, or get out of the way? I did none of the above.

Following communion, we’d all leave, smoke our cigarettes, make fun of the singing, head for home or to the race track and look forward to confession. My major sin was making fun of those who couldn’t sing. That guilt was good enough to propel me to attend church again the next week to confess my sins of mocking other parishioners, followed by more hymn lip syncing, and inevitably more mocking. Organized singing is, ultimately, a vicious cycle, and a sin.