Following them … and not by much of a distance, either … were a mixed bag of posse wannabes. A few professional lawmen, a clutch of bounty hunters, and anyone else that had a gun and a horse and could be drug up by the sheriff and the railroad people.
The horses were exhausted and it wouldn’t be long before they collapsed unless they were allowed to stop, rest, drink, eat. For that matter, it wouldn’t be much longer before they, themselves, collapsed.
Whose idea was this, anyway? They could have hit a bank or a Wells Fargo shipment. Hell, they could have hit half a dozen stagecoaches without setting off this kind of frenzy. It was those railroad guys. They really didn’t like bandits. Which they were. Damn.
Don’t you hate it when that happens?
It was getting dark, now. The sun was setting over the mountains. Where could they go? Ahead were the Superstitions … and there was nothing up there but jagged rocks. Where was water? Some grass for the horses and a place to lay themselves down and breathe.
In the distance, they could hear the hoofbeats of oncoming horses. They looked into the fading sun and they knew.
By the time you hit your retirement years, “play with” can take on an alarming tone. The problem is that our taste in fun has not changed, but we have. So even though we used to love formula racing, our aging bodies might not be up to the split-second timing required to handle them.
Some of us collect miniatures or just plain collect. Others of us see for a less perilous path to entertainment, foregoing mountain climbing, NASCAR racing, and deep-sea diving.
Then there are the rest of us who never did that in the first place. We have to give up other things, like powerful hallucinogenic drugs which don’t work well with pacemakers.
Fortunately, there’s a whole world of other stuff to try.
A friend took me to a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park. It was the middle of April, so there was a chill in the wind. I layered up and topped it off with my retro Brooklyn Dodgers tee-shirt. It was Jackie Robinson day. Everyone was wearing the fabled #42.
April is the beginning of the new baseball season, when hope springs eternal. Anything could happen. The haves and have-nots are equally in the race. For me, it’s also when I open the cookie jar of memories, mentally racing around the bases to those days when I listened to our boys of summer on the radio.
Vin Scully was a 20-something rookie broadcaster, calling his first season of Brooklyn Dodgers games.
The Korean “conflict” dominated the radio news, which preceded the important stuff, baseball. The Brooklyn Dodgers were “America’s Team” in 1950. Vin Scully was a new breed of a sports broadcaster. He mixed in stories about President Truman’s desegregation of our Armed Forces and “discontent” about the integrated Dodgers’ team.
Scully used phrases like “Goodnight, sweet Prince,” after Jackie Robinson turned in another memorable game amid jeers from rabble-rousers. It was curious to this young fan who dreamed of becoming a teammate of Jackie Robinson, Peewee Reese, and Duke Snider. I’d wear Dodger Blue with pride, I promised myself.
I thought it would be wonderful if they played baseball all year round and the stories would always be about the Bums and the dreaded New York Yankees. How terrific to listen to Vin Scully and not those other people talking about grown-up stuff. Scully even mentioned things we were studying in school and made them sound exciting.
I’ll never forget his referring to April as “the cruelest month.” I’d steal that line a zillion times.
A couple of decades later, chance opened the door to meetings with Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and other fabled Boys of Summer. Campy was friendly and outgoing, eager to share stories with a newbie reporter. He would say, “Life is good, young fella. You gotta appreciate it.”
Jackie Robinson would glare at Campy as he wove the stories of good times with the Dodgers. Sometimes, he would interrupt Campanella with a sharp, “Enough, Roy. Enough of that fiction.”
Robinson would turn to me, his eyes blazing, seemingly angry. “Life isn’t a ball game, young man,” he once said. Then, he gently patted me on the shoulder, noting that I was a good conversationalist and listener.
It was a bit confusing. It happened that way several times.
People like Campy, Peewee Reese and even a reluctant Duke Snider would share that Jackie Robinson was an angry, complicated man on a mission. The inner turmoil, anger, frustration, and multiple health issues took Robinson from us way too early, at age 53.
1950. So long ago. A time of innocence for many young boys like me.
Almost two years have rolled around. It’s the beginning of October and the playoffs are about to begin. Our team is in them. It has been a record-breaking year, so regardless of what comes, we’ll remember 2018.
Vin Scully retired last year. I keep thinking “Maybe we can bring him back, just for this one final set of post-season games … because we need his eloquence.” The world is not running short of baseball commentators, yet I feel we need him.
Depending on how the mid-term elections go, so will go this country. It’s no small thing. It’s possible the future — our future — depends on what happens during the next few weeks. It’s daunting and frightening.
Baseball has been a saving grace for me during this otherwise disgraceful year of political ugliness and international ill-will. Could a World Series win fix this?
Somehow, I doubt it. We need something bigger than a ballpark win this year.
Do you prefer Apple (‘I’ products) or Android for your technology ‘fix’?
I work primarily on a PC. I like the organization and I also appreciate the huge amounts of functional software I can get for it. I have an android (Samsung) phone which I use when I need it (not often) and three Kindles (probably more like five — a think a couple are just buried somewhere) which I use to read and listen to audio books and sometimes, to watch a movie. Mostly to read or listen.
I also have an “air” Mac. I bought it so I’d have something a bit less weighty to haul with me when I travel. I don’t do much with it, at least in part because finding decent graphics applications has turned out to be much harder than it should be. I won’t “rent” Photoshop and my disks won’t run on a Mac. I got a program for it, but haven’t gotten around to installing it and I’m sure I’ll be sorry about that in due course.
As for music? I have a CD/radio player because we have quite a few CDs. We also have a lot of DVDs and we watch them, too. I’m not a wild fan of “the cloud.” I can’t tell you how many times having something downloaded has made it possible to listen or watch or read — without cable being involved. It’s very freeing.
I like having parts of my life NOT connected to wi-fi. I’ve worked with computers enough to know what they are good for … and what they are not good for and I certainly don’t want one running my entire life!
What’s something on your personal bucket list?
Don’t have a bucket list.
What would you name your boat if you had one? The Unsinkable 3? The Please Don’t Sink? Your choice! Also, what would it look like? Do you want a motor yacht, a sailboat, or perhaps a dinghy?
I had a boat. A 16-foot centerboard sailboat built originally to race but used by us mostly to drift through channels on Long Island’s south shore.
We named it “Gwaihir,” the Wind Lord (eagle) from Lord of the Rings. Kind of a big name for such a small boat 😀
Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?
Anyone from a Jane Austen novel. I am not a fan.
What brought gratitude, a smile or laughter to your life this week?
Getting out to take photographs on the only sunny day of the week AND discovering that Garry can hear!
My vision isn’t as good as it used to be. I can see but only wearing exactly the right glasses which these days, is nigh unto impossible. I can get close, but never exactly right. I can read with no glass. Middle vision, I use computer glasses but right now, they are a bit too strong and I need a new checkup and new eyeglasses — for which I don’t have money.
Without sharp middle vision, I can’t clearly see the LCD on my camera. If I wear my distance glasses, I can’t even read the dials on my camera, let alone focus a lens.
So I am dependent on autofocus. Which, fortunately, is a lot better than it used to be — depending on the camera I’m using and of course, the lens.
So here’s the story of the pears.
Garry and I are at River Bend Park. It is part of a long string of parks surrounding the Blackstone River, all loosely titled “the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor.” One step to the left of a national park.
All the parks are linked by the river or the adjacent canal, or one of the river’s many tributaries. Then there are the streams, swamps, other smaller (and sometimes nameless) rivers, lakes, and ponds. This particular section of the park includes a big barn build during the 1700s on land that was a farm. Hence the name River Bend Farm.
I’m looking at a big tall tree which, as far as I can tell, is full of big yellow flowers. And then, while I was trying to find the flowers, I heard a “thunk.”
Thunk? Flowers do not make a “thunk” when they fall. Flowers are inclined to float gently to the grass. This “flower” hit the ground solidly. Realizing that I wasn’t looking for yellow flowers, I pulled out a small camera with a really long lens and eventually realized that all those big yellow flowers were actually bright pears. It was … a pear tree.
I took pictures. I was not sure I got any sharp ones, but I shot anyway. It turns out, I got more than a few and they are pretty good.
Later on, Garry said that he knew it was a pear tree because he narrowly avoided getting bonked on the head by a falling pear.
Funny about it being a pear tree because I used to have a huge old pear tree in my backyard in Hempstead. That was at the first house I lived in as a married woman. The pear tree was a cross between a Bartlett and a Bosc and produced the best pears I’ve ever eaten. It produced tons of them.
The neighbors all came by with baskets to collect pears. I still had tons of them remaining. I made pear pies, pickled pears, gingered pears and of course, we ate them. Despite that, there were bushels of pears remaining.
In the course of events, we all learned a great truth. Do not sit under the tree when the pears are full-grown. Because one of those big babies — completely unripe and hard — falling from the upper branches could knock your head in.
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!