The Boy(s) of Winter

(Would it surprise you to learn that Field of Dreams is his favorite movie?)

You tell me. How old is this person? If I didn’t know better I would say 8, maybe 10. But I do know better and so do you. He’s 57. Still, on game days, he looks about 8 or 10, especially from behind. We are having beautiful days here in St. Petersburg, with temperatures in the high 60s, low 70s and cooler at night so the cats sleep on the bed. Rich keeps walking around commenting on how wonderful it is, asking me rhetorically, “Isn’t this just wonderful? Can you imagine anything better than this?” I’m certain he’s not baiting me. Would he? Nah…

Rich loves life here in our little neighborhood, as do I. To my mind it’s the best Florida has to offer. The worst would be, oh, say, the billboards. Or how about that judge who ruled today that large parts of the health care reform bill are unconstitutional? Sometimes it’s embarrassing to live in Florida, along with that idiot who was going to burn the Quran…

( a very brief digression: I wish I understood Constitutional Law better than I do. Because I remember when Daniel was born and they were about to put silver nitrate in his eyes to protect him against the dangers of syphilis and I yelled “wait! You can’t do that! I won’t let you!” And they said to me that it was the law, a paternalistic law designed to protect diseased idiots from themselves and their newborns. And I said, well, you can test me and you can test his father but I don’t want those drops in his eyes because I want him to want to look at me during the next two days rather than scrunch his eyes shut from that irritation. And they said, it’s the law. There are lots of laws in place designed to protect people from their own folly. So I don’t know why you can’t tell people they have to be insured against illness and dismemberment. What’s that? You can’t force people to BUY it? I had to pay for that silver nitrate. Alternatively, I suppose you could just give it to them for their own good. Oh, lord, don’t get me started.)

Back to what I was saying about how nice Florida can be in the winter, especially here in St. Petersburg. We had a friend from Michigan visit over the weekend and she was delightfully surprised at our beautiful bayfront and the new Dali Museum and the birds. Always there are the beautiful birds.

(Bird, watching in Florida)

The art and the birds and our good neighbors and these glorious weather days make this a wonderful place for me to be through the winter. Still, I miss the mountain house. A lot. I believe that that is where my heart and home will be, by and large, for as long as I can imagine. I’m constantly thinking about planting in the garden there, cooking in the kitchen there while looking at the view, feeding the birds and inadvertently, the bears. This sweet little bungalow was never meant to be more than a very modest get-away. Trying to grow a garden and cook here in the tiny kitchen is challenging.

(Eight years old. Ten, at most.)

I’m not sure Rich is all that attached yet to the mountain house. Here he has his Boys of Winter Half Century baseball league where you have to be 50 to play. He’s one of the babies in the league and these guys are very very serious about their game. Some of them are Hall of Fame members, some play in more than one league, up to 7 and 8 games a week. It’s kind of funny to watch these somewhat dumpy and aging fellows mill about dugout in their uniforms right up until the time they’re up to bat. Then it’s incredible. Incredible as in, you didn’t hit a ball that well in your very best baseball youth.

Rich is not one of the better players but he has a great spirit and attitude and is well-respected and liked for that. And he loves it. I always ask, “So how was your game?” and he always says, “Great! I didn’t get hurt!” This is because I threatened to smack him if he tore his ACL or snapped an Achilles tendon, given the state of our health insurance. I guess if he stays healthy long enough he can join the Kids and Kubs. That would be the three-quarter century league where you have to be 75 to play. At that point he’s on his own because I will be permanently entrenched on the side of Little Mt. Pisgah, on earth or in heaven. (Did I mention that I’m planning on going to a heaven? Where there are no termites or billboards?) Really, it’s good that he’s playing because the rest of the time he is working so hard that he needs the break, the stress relief. The only time he doesn’t have his BlackBerry in hand is when he leaves it on the dresser to go play ball. Well, yes, there are a few other moments but mostly, the longest stretches are during games. We’re making a point of biking down to say hello to the manatee or walk on the pier once a day but he still takes his BlackBerry; his life is all about work right now.

Me? Michelle said I’ve been in stealth mode, as in quiet here in the nethood. Not really. I’ve just gone over to another site. It’s true, it’s true. I’ve gotten my new website launched, the one tied to my work and play. I still have a long way to go on that website and the learning curve is steep. Here’s the thing: having a web designer is like having a drug dealer. Once you’re in a relationship with one, several times a day you’re whining, “help me! help me!”  I’m hoping to go into recovery soon but in the meantime I just keep uploading and rearranging things. Kind of like being in a new house where you keep rearranging the furniture to see how it looks. As I move things around, other stuff disappears or gets kinked and I have to go back to my dealer for a fix. In a couple of days I’ll be ready to unveil to you all and maybe offer a welcome wagon sort of gift or something. We’ll see.

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12 responses to “The Boy(s) of Winter

  1. It’s also important to note that you should never ask another person to modify something on your website before determining their skill level or you’ll end up needing another fix pronto.

  2. Fun. Can’t wait to see the new site and always love to see photos from here and there. 🙂

  3. Beth Ann Choate

    It sounds like you have the best of both worlds. St. Petersburg is one of my favorites and I definitely plan on seeing the “new” Dali museum when I visit in March. Methinks that you are more inclined to mountain living and getting away from the hustle and bustle, but you have the bay, and that’s pretty nice too. Have a wonderful spring, maybe some day our paths will cross.

  4. I will never understand the fascination with baseball, but that’s just me. I am impressed that Rich chooses to play the game and not just sit and watch other people perform physically. It seems that the way most of herd America “participates” in sports is to sit on their ever widening butts watching others excel.

    More power to him.

    Looking forward to the unveiling.

  5. Maybe it’s all a huge cosmic joke–letting you be in a place with wondrous weather but idiotic goings-on.

  6. Let him play… hey… maybe if you could make a small baseball field somewhere on the land in North Carolina… then Rich would attach himself to the mountain too! Probably not practical.

  7. I don’t understand the fascination with baseball either, but I think it must be a great hobby for the men who love it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your new site; been missing you here (and in NC)

  8. I have a boy like that, too.

  9. Go deep, Rich!

    Please tell your ‘boy’ that Tim Lincecum played on my son’s high school golf team.

    Not having to have silver nitrate put in the baby’s eyes is just one of the benefits of homebirth.

    A second blog?
    My mind’s agog!

  10. On the heels of Herself!

    It never OCCURRED to me that I could fuss about the silver nitrate in the baby’s eyes. I mean, I was fairly certain I didn’t have syphilis, but I just assumed that the law is The Law.

    Rich looks much older than 8 or 10. I would have pegged him at 12.

    When Josh plays, he usually hurts OTHER people. Not on purpose.

  11. Florida in the winter sounds like the perfect place to be. I think I would miss the mountains too, though, and long for it. Makes me wonder if you ever long for Florida when you are in NC.

    I’m not a fan of baseball, but I do think it’s cool for Rich to stay engaged like that. It’s probably what keeps him young and looking like a kid from behind!

  12. Rich looks very, very happy. Where is the picture of you in your cheerleader outfit? Oh, pardon, I am thinking of football not baseball. Do you dress up like the mascot?

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