Tired from a day of travel and lost in thoughts of the wonderful vacation in San Francisco from which I was returning, I had a real awakening on Monday afternoon while on the mini-bus from the Jet Blue Terminal at JFK to the off-site parking facility where my family and I had parked our car before our trip.
My family were the only passengers on the mini bus until a family of four–a young couple with two children under eight or so–boarded when the bus made an additional stop. I don’t remember how the conversation got started…maybe it was the Mets shirt my husband was wearing. Anyway, they were informed that we had just returned from San Francisco where we had seen the Mets play three game and, I told them, it had been MUCH cooler. I remarked how hot and humid it was in New York, but how it was supposed to be even hotter for the Home Run Derby in Phoenix that night and the All-Star Game the following evening.
We then learned that the family had just returned from an enjoyable vacation in Barbados–during the husband/father’s two-week leave from Afghanistan.
As we all exited the bus, I thought back on my part of the conversation and felt embarrassed that I had been complaining at all about the heat of Phoenix, much less New York. As we all stood beside the mini-bus waiting to collect our bags, I asked the gentleman, “Is it really hot in Afghanistan?” He told me that he had seen temperatures of 130 degrees, but that what made it even worse was that the equipment he has to wear traps body heat and adds to the temperature (not to mention the weight.)
Ashamed of having previously alluded to any discomfort because of the change in climate, I told the young gentleman, “You all are the TRUE All-Stars and real heroes. Thank you for all you are doing.”
Our family wished theirs a safe trip home, and we added that we hoped that the young soldier might be coming home permanently from Afghanistan very soon.
It was a sobering moment. The stressors awaiting each of the members of my family upon our return from a leisurely vacation now seemed so trivial, so inconsequential. Any sadness or regret we had about returning to our regular routines was quickly displaced by the realization of the inevitable sadness and anxiety that that young wife and her children would be experiencing all too soon as they said goodbye–again–to this soldier.
I’ve always been glad that the Mets honor a veteran at every home game as part of the “Welcome Back, Veterans” program. And I always applaud the day’s soldier as he or she is recognized in the third inning of the game. But since this chance encounter, I have applauded more loudly and with even more appreciation and gratitude for each soldier’s sacrifices.
Coincidentally, my “warmer welcomes” this past weekend coincided with the appearance at Citi Field of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry. On Tuesday, Petry became the second living active-duty service member to receive a Medal of Honor for actions in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. Petry earned the prestigious award and a lunch date with President Obama for his courageous actions in Afghanistan on May 26, 2008.
The details of Petry’s heroism have been detailed everywhere, including this quote from a story on MLB.com:
Though shot in both legs during a mission, Petry managed to make his way to an enemy hand grenade and throw it away from himself and two fellow Rangers. Though he managed to save his peers, Petry had to have his right hand amputated afterward and now uses a prosthetic.
What comes to your mind when Jose Reyes…
- …hits one of his signature triples?
- …steals yet another base?
- …flashes that infectious smile?
- …has yet another multi-hit game?
The first thing you probably think–as I do–is, “We HAVE to SIGN HIM!!“
But sometimes, watching Jose in action reminds me of another exciting performer.
In the world of opera.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I challenged myself to write a
tanka poem to accompany this photo I took of Jose Reyes. The photo catches him just prior to the beginning of
Friday Saturday night’s game–awaiting his opportunity to run out of the dugout and on to the field for his very first game back with the team since he went on the DL in May 2009.
Sinew struggling in
its unfamiliar stillness
sight of prey beckons.
flesh healed, the captive struggles
delay’s wound most torturous
Finishing up a very busy week at the opera kept me from continuing my countdown to Opening Day in a timely manner, but here’s an attempt to catch up.
Yesterday marked THREE days. The word three made me first think of three strikes, and then, the unassisted triple play I witnessed at CitiField at the end of last season.
Trying to start the season on an optimistic note, here’s hoping we see a lot of TRIPLES by Jose Reyes in the upcoming season.
While word associations with “two” and “baseball” first brought to mind “double”, I’ve decided to choose for the two-day mark the TWO teams here in New York. Here’s hoping that the Mets’ 2010 season serves to remind those who have forgotten that there are, in fact, two teams in this here town!
Well, the Mets may not win the pennant race this year, but I just did.
My pennant, or banner–pictured above–was selected by the New York Times as one of the top images created for an online “Banner Day”.
I was surprised and thrilled to open today’s Times and see my image reproduced on page 13 of Section B. The banner can be seen online as well: http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/banner-day-2009/.
If the Mets’ performance and injuries haven’t given me much to smile about recently, the act of creating my facetious banner and having it selected as one of the top five images submitted DID give me something to smile about!
I’d still take the return of Reyes, Beltran, Delgado and the rest over my name and picture in print…
Today’s New York Times Styles section had a feature on the renewed popularity of the mustache.
Happily married to a mustache-sporting fellow, I am a fan, but I know that it’s a look that doesn’t work for every guy.
I smiled when I read the article because it made me think of having read a fellow Mets blogger’s post a few years ago in which he described the mustache of then-infielder Jose Valentin giving him the look of a “porn star. According to this article, “porn-star ‘stache” is well-known terminology for the “common mustache”. Now I know.
The writer made references to ballplayers, citing both Jason Giambi’s “good luck” mustache of last season as well as the 1972 “Hairs vs. Squares” World Series, featuring Rollie Fingers, et al.
Having been featured in a GQ photo spread in their first season as Mets, I figure David Wright and Jose Reyes are probably the most fashion-savvy, trend-conscious players on the team.
How would they look, I wondered, if they show up in Florida participating in this so-called revival?
by my PhotoShopping, I would say either of these guys could probably pull it off.
I tried the same experiment with Mike Pelfrey, expecting it to look comical, but–lo and behold–it rendered him a Tom Selleck look-alike:
I was pleasantly surprised with Pelfrey’s look, but as the article states, not everyone can pull it off. If smirks and giggles follow a guy, perhaps it is not working for him.
Speaking of humiliation, don’t ya love those Just for Men commercials in which Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier razz Emmitt Smith?
“Your ‘stache is TRASH!”
(Of course Emmitt’s blunder was not the mustache itself but its COLOR.)
Just in time for the retro facial hair rage comes an enterprising seamstress and artist who has created the “mustache handkerchief” and is selling it on the artisan website Etsy. The item features four different printed mustache silhouettes suitable for “trying on”.
No expensive photo-editing software and time-consuming photo uploads involved!
Even better, the hanky could save one the embarassment of enduring the unseemly infant stages of a mustache only to find, upon completion of the hair growth, that one’s appendage is woefully laughable.
Just a hunch: I don’t think Dan Warthen is a candidate.