Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mother Country Syndrome

Most Americans love Britain. She is, after all, our mother country, and how can you not love your mother? That’s why America ground to a halt when we heard the news about Lady Di, and why we were glued to our satellites when Kate Middleton married Prince What’s-His-Name. I believe the technical term for this is Mother-Country Syndrome (MCS). As unpopular as it may be to say it, perhaps our love for Britain causes us to overlook some important things.

Here in rural Maryland, for example, lots of people have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, which we are told comes from ticks. I’m not so sure. I’ve noticed that some of those who contract it are indoor types who work in offices and live in homes that are generally tick-free. Besides, it’s called Lyme disease, not Tick disease. Surely I’m not the only one to notice that lyme is obviously a British spelling of lime. We don’t need Miss Marple or Inspector Lewis to deduce that America’s outbreak of Lyme disease can be traced to infected British fruit. Was it just coincidental that America’s first reported incidents were in New England?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Count Your Children

My parents had piled the kids in the Plymouth station wagon and we were on the first leg of a long vacation trip, no doubt headed to a beach, with Dad driving late at night.  The back seats had been folded down, and the five kids were lined up like logs on blankets, trying to sleep.  Somewhere along the line, Dad stopped for gas.  Later, when he came to a toll booth, the attendant said, “Count your children.”
“Count your children.”  
Dad turned around.  “Ricky, Russy, Kenny, Dindy…Wait!  Where’s Dougy?”  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Field of Nightmares

The summer after I completed sixth grade (yes, Pretty Boy, I completed sixth grade, and I resent the question) my family moved from Maryland to central Florida.  (And yes, they brought me with them.  One more question like that and I might just stop answering you.)  The move was exciting, although I was concerned about being so far away from the Orioles. One of the first things that my younger brother Kenny and I did that summer was look for a place to play ball.  Until we found a vacant field, we played catch on the lawn of the Lake Dot Motel in Orlando, where the family stayed until we moved into a rental house in Winter Park. 

By the way, the Lake Dot Motel was (and perhaps is again) a lovely peaceful oasis.  But it wasn't very peaceful when the Sukhia boys arrived with bags of firecrackers and cherry bombs.  We had finagled them from a fellow named Pedro a few days before at his establishment that he called South of the Border, by shrewdly trading for them American paper money.  If he knew that cherry bombs exploded even under water, Pedro would never have parted with them for a few gringo dollars.  Let's hope the fish population in Lake Dot has recovered from the Disaster of '62.

Getting back to baseball---as it happened, the Lutheran church our family began to attend in Winter Park had a pastor who had once been a Minor League player (in the Pirate organization, as I recall) and he conducted a baseball camp in South Carolina.  I spent two glorious weeks there---sliding pits, batting cages, individualized instruction, movies of old World Series games at night, and grits at every meal.  I think Kenny got homesick and left after the first week, or else he came up just for the second week.  For the facts, you’ll have to consult his future blog, Littler Loaves.   
That camp was the scene of one of the greatest embarrassments that a 12 year old could endure.  On the final day, when the parents came to pick up their kids, there was a father-son game.