Archive for the October Category


Under ordinary circumstances, a visit to a physician in a non-emergency situation would not qualify as a reason for writing an essay.  Certainly that is true on a morning when we learned that Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, seems to have met his demise.  But in this case, my visit with the learned cardiologist Andrew Beamer deserves, in my opinion, the creation of an essay.  Before we are finished, I hope you will find that Dr. Beamer’s eloquent expression of gratitude for the outcome of World War II is a sufficient reason for my having dictated this essay.

On the other hand, you may say as the former overseers of the United States would say, that perhaps I have gone slightly daft in thinking that a visit to the physician’s office is worthy of an essay.  Regardless of your views on such a monumental occasion, stand back and make way for an essay about a visit to the physician’s office.

The case in point involves the condition of my heart.  Some 24 years ago, I underwent surgery to establish a coronary artery bypass arrangement so that I could keep breathing or living.  The surgeon who performed that wonderful piece of work was named Eric Rose of the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.  The technology at that time suggested that the bypassed heart would generally last on the order of ten years.  In medical speak, the word is a CABG which means coronary artery bypass graft.  There usually follows a numeral, say times 4, the number of grafts that have been bypassed.  Apparently Dr. Rose did a remarkable job, particularly with the technology at that stage of development some 24 or 25 years ago.  The bypass grafts give me an occasion to visit Dr. Andrew Beamer twice each year to see how things are coming along.  Apparently after all of these years, the bypass grafts are still in working condition.  Otherwise I would not be able to dictate this monumental essay.

Curiously, my visits with Dr. Beamer are an event to which I look forward.  Generally, I have no symptoms of heart trouble, so I anticipate a pleasant visit with Dr. Beamer.  If my memory is nearly correct, I believe I have been visiting Dr. Beamer for nearly 20 years.  He is an affable fellow, which does not obscure the fact that he is a first-rate cardiologist.  On my semi-annual visits to see Dr. Beamer, I usually prepare a small outline of things that I wish to call to his attention.

Apparently this meets with Dr. Beamer’s approval because he usually confiscates the outline and I am left with only my memory of that important document.  This gives me no trouble because I can create another outline, which may or may not have to do with the condition of my heart or anyone else’s heart.  I would like to think that Dr. Beamer confiscates the outlines because he is impressed by the purity of the language that I have used.  I take comfort from the fact that, 24 years after the bypass operation, Dr. Beamer likes to see me only semi-annually.

My visits with Dr. Beamer are generally good-humored.  A person walking outside the examining room might conclude that inside the examining room there is reason for hilarity.  But really it is not hilarity so much as a good-humored exchange between two men.  So on my last visit to see Dr. Beamer in the middle of October, I tended to look forward to our meeting.  After the examination was completed, Dr. Beamer had a few remarks to make to me.  He told me that his grandfather was an infantryman in World War I.  I believe that the infantry is called the Queen of Battle.  It seems to me that there is a mixture of genders in that statement.  In any case, World War I was the era of trench warfare.  Soldiers on both sides would sit in their trenches until it was time for a charge at the opponents’ lines, during which slaughter took place.  There really is no queen of battle when a slaughter takes place, as in the case of infantrymen in World War I.  Apparently the diary that Dr. Beamer’s grandfather kept was meticulous.  I suspect that there was enough of the carnage of battle that crept into the lines that Dr. Beamer’s grandfather wrote.

Then came an event for which I was not prepared.  As Dr. Beamer finished telling me, more or less, about his grandfather, there was an eloquent expression of thanks to those of us who had engaged in the Second World War.  Dr. Beamer is aware that I was involved in that war.

I was unprepared for Dr. Beamer’s eloquent expression of thanks for the efforts of the American soldiers in that war.  I never expected to be thanked for that service.  Simply put, it was my duty to serve my country.  I expected no thanks whatsoever for merely performing my duty.

My service to the United States Army ended in 1945.  After that service was completed, I tried to get on with the rest of my life, never expecting any thanks from any source.  That was the state of the record until about 2007, when some Brownie Scouts here in Millburn brought me presents on Veterans’ Day for three successive years.  I thought that was a wonderful tribute for which I am very grateful.  It also follows that I am very grateful for Dr. Beamer’s expression of thanks for whatever I may have contributed to the war effort in World War II.  I greatly respect

Dr. Beamer and his comments were more than welcome.

On completion of Dr. Beamer’s expression of thanks, he added a line.  If I remember correctly, it was to the effect that had we not done what was done in World War II, we would all be speaking “the German language.”  That of course is the reason for the title to this essay.

When Dr. Beamer made his remarks about the German language, my thoughts raced back to an event in about the year 2000 or 2001.  It was at that time some 55 years after the war was completed that the Library of Congress thought that it was a good idea to collect the memories of soldiers who had been engaged in that war.  In response to the request from the Library of Congress, I recorded a seven-minute message having to do with four St. Louisans who were killed in that war.  It seemed to me that whatever I had done was small in view of the fact that four of my very close friends were killed in combat in that war.  About the time that I was recording my thoughts for the Library of Congress, a new development happened.  A professor at the University of Missouri wrote a paper which received wide circulation, now claiming that we were not “the greatest generation.”

So I recorded an appendage to my original thoughts.  I was anxious to point out that Tom Brokaw, the NBC anchor, had named us as the greatest generation for the title of a book that he had written.  We had nothing to do with calling ourselves “the greatest generation.”  At the end of my appendage to my original remarks there is a reference to a professor and the fact that if we had not won the Second World War she would be using the German or Japanese language to convey her thoughts.  A copy of the CD is enclosed.

As you can see, the appointment with Dr. Beamer turned in to an occasion which called for an essay to be written.  I do not write essays for every visit to a physician.  In this case, I thought that Dr. Beamer’s expression of gratitude for whatever we had done in the Second World War and the remarks about the German language were a sufficient reason to construct a small essay.  There is not much more for me to say except that if there is a malady with your heart, there is one man, Dr. Beamer, who will try to fix it.  And when he does so, take the occasion to write an essay yourself.



October 20, 2011

Essay 596


Kevin’s commentary: Dr. Beamer certainly seems to be a stand-up gentleman. I actually think that if Pop or Judy would give me his email address, it might be worth reaching out to him to see if he has any thoughts from the other side of the doctor’s table. As it stands it seems like he’s been seeing my grandfather for quite some time, so perhaps he has some stories to tell of his own.


The week ending on October 8 was an eventful week which may have consequences for every American as we travel down the road toward prosperity.  Three events took place, one involving a baseball decision and two others having local consequences.  But let us deal first with the baseball decision.  As you may be aware, the playoffs in the American League baseball season are currently taking place.  As it so happens, the New York Yankees were matched against the Detroit Tigers.  When all of the dust had settled, the New York Yankees were defeated by the Tigers.

I do not make a claim that I am impartial with respect to the outcome of Yankee games.  It all goes back to an evening of October 10, 1926 when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees.  That was the Cardinals’ first appearance in the World Series.  On that occasion, the sixth game of the World Series was won by Grover Cleveland Alexander, who pitched a complete game.  Alexander concluded that with his age and the fact that he had won a complete game, there was no reason for him to hold back on his habit of drowning his sorrows or joys in alcohol.  So when the seventh game happened, it was widely assumed that Alexander had a hangover.

Early in the game, the St. Louis Cardinals had established a one-run superiority over the Yankees.  When the seventh inning rolled around, the Yankees were at bat and had at least one or two men on base, with the feared slugger Tony Lazzeri coming to bat.  Rogers Hornsby, the Cardinal manager, had called on Grover Cleveland Alexander from the bullpen.  Alexander, hangover and all, answered the call and struck out Tony Lazzeri.  From that point forward, the Cardinals held the Yankees scoreless and as a result the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 1926.

My two brothers were old by my standards.  I was four years old that fall and one brother was born 13 years earlier and the other was born 12 years earlier.  The town of St. Louis was wild that night and my brothers were leaders in the cheerleading.  As a matter of fact, it is true that that evening was the very first memory that I have stuck in my head for all of these years.  So it is true that while I am not a Yankee hater, I do not wish them any success at all.

Last week was a three-game playoff involving the Yanks and the Detroit Tigers.  Home court advantage went to the Yankees, which meant that three games were played in Yankee Stadium and only two games were played on the Detroit home field.  Given all of the advantages of home field, the fact is that in 2011, as in the case of 1926, the Yanks were defeated. I know that in the natural order of things, the Yankees are always supposed to win but in this case, in October of 2011, the Yankees were defeated.  I view this as a major event in my long history of life.


The second event was really a non-event.  For several months, Sarah Palin teased the media by threatening to get in the race for the Republican nomination for president.  On at least three occasions, she rolled over candidate’s events by taking a bus tour to the cities where they were holding events and attracting attention to herself.  But last week, Mrs. Palin gave up the ghost of whether or not she would run.  I said this was a non-event because, in point of fact, she is not going to run in the Presidential election of 2012.

And so the media, which had become tired of Mrs. Palin’s teasing, reacted with a great big yawn.  The fact that she is not going to run failed to excite anyone.  On the other hand, I had looked forward to the 2012 election with a ticket led by Sarah Palin with Michele Bachmann being the vice-presidential candidate to complete the ticket.  But Mrs. Palin has dropped out.  Mrs. Bachmann’s performance on the stump leaves much to be desired.  Her performance in the campaign has resulted in a forecast of her getting somewhere around 4% of the vote.  So my hopes of the dream ticket of Mrs. Palin and Mrs. Bachmann were dashed to the ground.  And so I weep for the future of this country.


The third event that took place was also a non-event.  After months of teasing, the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, also announced that he too would not run after all of the teasing that had taken place.  I use the word “teasing” to suggest that Mr. Christie was leading the media on and that he knew in his heart that he had no intention of running.

Look at it this way.  Christie had an incumbent President who looks like he can be defeated.  The figures are astonishing.  The fiscal performance of the United States is horrible.  On top of this, Mr. Christie was assured of the ample backing of Republican donors so that he could manage the campaign in the months before next year’s election.  Yet Christie turned down the opportunity to run in the Republican primaries because, he said, he was not ready and his work in New Jersey is unfinished.  So, like Mrs. Palin, this essay celebrates another non-event.

The only way that I can come to grips with Christie’s failure to run strikes me as the lack of ball power, to use a term from the British Army.  For a number of months I was associated with the British Eighth Army during which I learned three songs.  The first was “When You Go to Karachi,” the second was “F… ’Em All,” and the third had to do with ball power.  I am certain that my readers cannot do without knowing the lyrics to the ball power song.  So here they are:

Oh mother, oh mother, I’d rather be dead
Than go to my grave with my maidenhead,
But alas, (softly spoken) I married a man who had no balls at all.

The chorus needs to be sung robustly, sometimes in eight part harmony.  Its words are:

No balls at all, no balls at all,
Yes, she married a man who had no balls at all.

The chorus of “no balls at all” is to be repeated perhaps four or five times before the song is finished.  It seems to me that Chris Christie’s decision not to get into the Presidential race reflects an absolute lack of ball power.


There you have three great events which ought to be unique to October 8, 2011.  There was the Yankee defeat by the Detroit Tigers, Mrs. Palin’s withdrawal from the race to become the President of the United States, and finally there was Chris Christie, a man who personifies bullying, showing that when the chips were down he demurred and fled to the bleachers.

I don’t know what all of this means.  At least we will not have the Yankees as our World Series champions, and we will not have Sarah Palin to tease us, and, furthermore, the bullying of Chris Christie may be a thing of the past.  It is for this reason that this essay has been entitled with a line from one of our patriotic songs calling for spacious skies.  Actually that line makes more sense when it is recalled that our future will not be marked by the domination of the Yankees and Mrs. Palin and Chris Christie.  We are a lucky country to have this turn of events.


October 9, 2011

Essay 584


Kevin’s commentary:

First, the truth of the following statement was absolute: “I am certain that my readers cannot do without knowing the lyrics to the ball power song.” So thanks for that.

Second, essays like this remind me of how lucky I am to live in a world where Sarah Palin gets little to no attention on a regular basis. Perhaps this will change in 2016 but hopefully people will just giggle at her and ignore her that time around. A man can dream.


Those of you who follow the news will take some comfort in reports out of Omaha, Nebraska.  As you are aware, one of the most wealthy men in the United States is Warren Buffett, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Berkshire-Hathaway Organization in Omaha.  So that there is no mistake in what I am about to say, I am a Warren Buffett fan.

For some years, Mr. Buffett has pointed out the disparities in the American tax system.  Mr. Buffett makes millions or billions of dollars from his investments.  This income is taxed under the American system under the capital gains provision.  I am not an expert on the tax system but I believe that capital gains are taxed at the rate of 15%.

Now on the other hand, those who work for a living find that their tax rate is 35% of their earnings.  Much to his credit, Mr. Buffett has repeatedly pointed out that his earnings which amount to millions or billions of dollars are taxed at a lower rate than those of his secretary.  It may also be assumed that Mr. Buffett’s earnings, taxed at the lower rate, could be compared to those of the person who empties Mr. Buffett’s trash.  There is a significant difference between 35% and 15%.  How things got this way is not for me to say because I don’t know what happened.   These are the facts.

But if I were a young person starting out in life, I would set my sights on becoming a secretary to Warren Buffett.  That person must know where Warren Buffett is making his next investments.  If I were his secretary, I would have that inside information.  Now of course Mr. Buffett buys large chunks of stock whereas the secretary might have much less to invest.  Mr. Buffett’s track record has been excellent in recent years and given a choice, I would say that whatever Mr. Buffett invests in would be a good bet for me or a prospective secretary.

So if you are a young person, I would advise that you move to Omaha, Nebraska where the Berkshire-Hathaway Company is located and take up shorthand and dictation.  I expect that you must also learn some computer skills.


The Republicans in Congress have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist, whoever he is, that they will never ever raise taxes.  As things have worked out since this pledge was taken, it seems that there should be no change in the tax structure as well as no new taxes.  So under these circumstances, it is clear that the capital gains tax will be with us for many years to come.  In that situation, we should all stop working for a living and really invest, so that our taxes will call only for the capital gains requirements of 15%.

But in the meantime, when you have quit your job, you will need some employment to carry you over until the capital gains bonanza starts rolling in.  Under that circumstance, I would suggest that you capitalize on your secretarial skills and work toward finding a spot as Warren Buffett’s secretary.  I regret that in my long career I have always worked for a living and thus incurred the 35% tax rate.

And so it is as an act of kindness on my part that I will seek to encourage young women to sharpen their secretarial skills so that they may cash in on the Buffett bonanza.  But if I worked for the IRS, I might very well examine the tax returns for Warren Buffett’s secretary.  And from those returns, I may make some conclusions about my investments.

But the best bet is to get in line to succeed Warren Buffett’s secretary.  If Warren Buffett had come along when I was a youngster looking for a job, that is the place where I would have tried to find my fortune.  While it is too late for me to take advantage of this advice, I hope that younger fellows such as Jim Reese will take heed and become billionaires as Mr. Buffett has done.



October 20, 2011

Essay 585


Kevin’s commentary: Well, if this startup I’m at doesn’t work out, I suppose I know where I’m heading. I wonder if Pop will write me a letter of recommendation. Certainly I can be as organized as a secretary. Just look at the Ezra’s Essays categorization system! It is so efficient that I can come across an essay like yesterday’s “A Ribald Hymn” and tag it as  Favorite, Language, Music, United Kingdom, and War without missing a beat or having to create any new categories. For a post that I enjoy about British soldiers singing a song the relies heavily on the word “fuck,” I’d say that’s a pretty good fit.



I have given this essay the title which may recall some distant memories of the Bible by calling it “Savers of String” instead of “String Savers”.  Now having settled that question, I would like to dedicate it to Thelma Dupont.  This essay is so dedicated to Thelma because she comes from a family larger than mine and I suspect that in that family there were few millionaires.

Those of you with long memories will recall the only thing resembling  plastic was a car window made of isinglass.  Isinglass gave a distorted view of the world because that is the way it was manufactured, but at least it was possible to view a large object through the glass and was used primarily in automobiles doors.  As time progressed, namely, at the beginning of the Second World War, we had a wonderful development called cellophane.  This of course was not used in car windows but it was used in many other situations where it was possible to view the object in question through the cellophane.

During this period in time, which lasted at least until 1945 or 1950, the main thing that held packages together was string.  String came in all sizes and was used by every merchant.  For example, I can remember during my lifetime that grocery clerks at John Gualdoni’s grocery store in Brentwood, Missouri used string for everything.  When the butcher cut your meat, he wrapped it in butcher paper and then put a string around it.  This may seem like a primitive measure but it was all that we had until about 1950.  And we got along reasonably well.

My grandchildren would probably have trouble recalling the days when we did not have high definition television.  I assure my grandchildren that those days existed.  Similarly, youngsters must consider that in earlier times there were no zippers.  Clothes were buttoned by use of a button hole and a button.  The most important part of a man’s trousers, called the fly, had button holes and buttons.  As hard as it might seem to believe, there were no zippers in the flies of men’s clothing.  I suspect that the same was true of women’s clothing.

But as times went forward, there was developed in this country and throughout the world the plastics industry.  Many of us have come to regret the use of plastics that do not disintegrate and last for several years.  Before the coming of plastics, people relied primarily on strings to hold packages together.  My wife has remembered the device I believe used in hardware stores and bakeries wherein a bucket was attached to the ceiling with a small opening in the bottom, through which string appeared.  When a knot was made in the string, men with muscular arms would pull the string apart.  For non-muscular ladies, there was a choice of scissors or a device installed near the check-out counter with a sort of a razor blade to sever the string.  The point is that in primitive days, we had no zippers, no scotch tape, no plastic bags and the world relied upon buttons and string.

There were those among us, particularly during the Depression years, who saw to it that nothing went to waste.  In that era, string was saved.  It could be knotted up or it could be saved in long loops.   A good many people saved string in a ball.  Whenever the package required string, there was no rule against tying two pieces of string together to make a longer piece.  I have no scientific data on the matter of string savers but I would believe that when men were looking for wives, they might give an advantage to those who saved string because of their thriftiness.

Those of us who were raised during the era of the 1929 Depression are probably among the foremost string savers.  I freely admit and actually brag about the fact that I was a string saver.  On top of that, I saved rubber bands, using the jar of a quart bottle to hold them in place until they were needed.

I fully expect that the dedicatee, Thelma, was raised in this atmosphere.  Everything that could be saved had to be saved as a means of making ends meet.  Today we have plastic tape that binds materials together.  I have no great problem with plastic tape, and it has usually served me well.  I do have trouble getting the ends loose so that the wheel will turn to dispense the tape.  I suppose it is a function of my fingernails not being long enough to take the tape from the roll.  But nostalgia probably has overtaken me in that I miss the beauty of string savers.

I do not know what esoteric forces combined to make me produce an essay on string savers.  I am somewhat uncertain as to why I chose Thelma Dupont as the heroine of this piece.  But Thelma projects a good image and if it were up to me I would say to the rest of the world that string savers like Thelma are a thoughtful and helpful lot.  Now of course I have run out of things to say about the savers of string.  Unfortunately it is impossible to use string as a means of extending this essay.  And so for that reason I salute Miss Dupont and I will quietly fold my tent on the subject of the savers of string.



October 27, 2011

Essay 589


Kevin’s commentary: I think the coolest thing here is that cars used to have windows made of Mica, which is what “Isenglass” was unless Pop’s cars’ windows were made of fishes’ air bladders. Incidentally I am a lesser god of apostrophes.

On a more topical note I think Pop would be pleased to hear that my childhood home was always well-stocked with string. Granted it was always a spool of perpetually fraying white twine which was so inconvenient to work with that it pretty much doomed any endeavor to which it was committed, but we had it nonetheless.


This is a philosophical essayette on the condition of mankind.  A learned gentleman once remarked within my hearing that he would prefer to remain in control over his intellect in the final days before his body gave out.  This assumes that the human condition is comprised of body and intellect.

The learned gentleman to whom I made reference is Tom Scandlyn, a fellow I have known since 1958.  I find no fault with his logic.  As a matter of fact, I heartily endorse the logic of Tom Scandlyn as it refers to the eventual playing out of the human condition.

So we start with the premise that we have the body on one hand and the intellect on the other.   Now for the sake of argument, I would cite a woman of my years who seems to have suffered damage to her intellect while her body remains reasonably strong.  So we have here a bit of a conundrum.  On one hand we have the case where the intellect remains intact of being able to measure the decline of the body.  On the other hand we have the decline of the body which goes unmeasured or unrecognized by the intellect.  Needless to say, my body is not as good as it once was.  I believe it would be fair to say that I am not half the man I was at the advanced age of 75.  But there is no choice but to live with it.

The lovely woman whose intellect has failed her has no choice but to continue to live with it.  Similarly, those of us who have retained our intellect are required to put up with our failing bodies.  There is something to be said for the case involving the failed intellect in that the person whose intellect has failed is largely unaware of that fact.

But in the final analysis, I hold with my good friend Tom Scandlyn with the thought that it is better to retain control over the intellect even as our bodies falter.  I realize that this essayette has settled nothing with respect to mind over body.

There are some who would retain control of their intellect and there are others who would want to retain control over their bodies.  But when push comes to shove, I always stand with a pianist, composer, and entertainer par excellence.  He knew that “One never knows, do one?”  This was the philosophy of Thomas Wright Waller, better known as Fats Waller, who lived from 1904 until 1943.  In profound cases such as this question here, I cannot help but repeat, “One never knows, do one?”



October 28, 2011

Essay 588


Kevin’s commentary: I’m holding out for the put-my-brain-in-a-robot-body option. The only way to go!


The Lillie in the title of this essay is my mother, to whom you have been introduced before.  Lillie was born in Pope County, Illinois on the banks of the Ohio River in a community called Lusk.  It was not a town at all.  It was simply a landing spot for the folks who traversed across the Ohio River from Kentucky and came to rest in this spot in Illinois.  In due time, Lillie met my father, Ezra Senior, and moved to Clayton, Missouri.  As time went on, my father became the superintendent of the Lilac Roost Dairy Farms in Clayton.  Between the two of them, eight children were produced.

Lillie was a country girl.  After she moved to St. Louis, she adopted a few of the sophisticated ways of the big city.  But on thoughts spiritual, she retained her views as a country person.  For the bulk of her life, Lillie could see signs that the end of the world was quickly approaching.  She was born in 1882 but that made small difference to Lillie.  The fact that the world had not collapsed in 1882 years was of no significance.  Perhaps the rest of her family was immune to the signs of the end of the world approaching.  I of course was among those who were disbelievers.  But all of that changed over this weekend.

By this time you may have come to realize that the St. Louis Cardinals, a baseball team, has won the World Series.  I had an uncle by marriage who pronounced that name as World Serious.  Nonetheless, it was done in a most remarkable fashion.  The St. Louis Cardinals were down to their last strike in the ninth inning of the sixth game, which would have sent them home for the year.  Again, the Cardinals were down to their last strike in the tenth inning of the sixth game, this being an extra-inning game.  As life would turn out, the Cardinal third baseman hit a home run in the 11th inning, thus prolonging the series into the final seventh game.  Taking one thing with another, the Cardinals won the final game, which allowed them to be called the World Series Champs for 2011.

My mother knew nothing, or virtually nothing, about baseball.  I know that she decried the playing of major league baseball on Sundays.  But that was the most lucrative time for the local teams, the Browns and the Cardinals, to play their games, so they played them.  While Lillie was largely ignorant of the standings of major league baseball, I assume that she must have paid attention in October of 1926 when the Cardinals defeated the highly-favored New York Yankees to take their first World Series title.  As I have related before, that is my first memory of anything in this world.  My brothers, who were 11 and 12 years or more older than I was, became so excited with the Cardinal victory and they made such a ruckus that the memory has stayed with my mind for all of the ensuing 85 years.

But this year was different. Late in the season, the St. Louis Cardinals found themselves about ten games behind the Atlanta Braves for what is now called the wild card slot which goes to teams having a superior second place finish.  This is done for the purpose of furnishing four teams to play in the playoff series.

But the Cardinals overcame that disadvantage and went on to win the World Series in the most improbable manner.  They were down to their final strike in the ninth inning and down to their final strike again in the tenth inning of the sixth game.  But they did not count on the Cardinal third baseman who hit a triple in the ninth inning and another Cardinal batter hit a home run in the 10th inning to give the victory to the Cardinals in the sixth game of the World Series this year.  The seventh game was won handily by the Cardinals.

For all of these years, I had been a disbeliever in the Supreme Authority from above.  But now my mind has had its share of doubts and I come down on the side that maybe Lillie had something right all along.  No baseball club has ever been down to its final strike on at least two occasions and then gone on to become the world’s champions.

On top of that, in October of 2011, the east coast was enduring a snow storm, which is highly unlikely before Halloween. This is October 29 and we are enduring a snow storm that may eventually dump six to seven inches upon our heads.

This is the first time within the memory of those living around us that we have ever encountered a snow storm before Halloween.  Ordinarily in this part of New Jersey, balmy weather exists until nearly Christmas time.

But that was yesteryear and this is today.  So in the final summation of this essay writer, who has been around for nearly 90 years, this is a fortuitous series of events.   Fortunately yesterday we had the Cardinal victory in the World Series which was of course a miracle in itself.  Then today we woke up to find we are being subjected to an early season snow fall.  Between these two monumental events, we can only conclude that Lillie was right all along.  This may very well signal the end of the earth.

According to a spiritual, “there’s gonna to be fire next time” as distinguished from the floods of Noah’s time.  I do not know whether it is going to be a fire or floods, because I will leave that to the preachers who are in daily communication with God.  I do know that the juxtaposition of the Cardinal victory and the premature snow fall clearly marks this as the prospective end of the world.  Even an infidel such as myself would know what is taking place.

So my mother, Lillie, had it right all along.  She knew almost nothing about baseball but she alleged that the spirits up above us work in mysterious ways.  When the Cardinals were down to their last strike in the ninth inning and again in the tenth inning, and when a snow storm appears in New Jersey before Halloween, there can be no doubt about it.  These events presage the end of the world.  And I leave you with the thought that I will be shopping for a fireproof suit tomorrow morning.

There is one sorry historical note with respect to the arrival of November first.  According to my calendar, it will be at least five months before a meaningful major league game is played again.  This will be a long, long winter without baseball.  But as I grieve for the start of the next season, I will always remember that in the 2011 season, the St. Louis Cardinals were the World Champs.  That is about as good as it gets.



October 29, 2011

Essay 605


Kevin’s commentary: Two things strike me here. The first is that it apparently only takes me four generations to hit the 1800s, which is amazing. I have never known any of my great grandparents and I am somewhat envious of those who get that chance. Unfortunately, Pop’s mother did not see fit to live to the age of 108, which would have been requisite for me to get to see her. Perhaps Pop can lecture her on this fact in Heaven.

The second thing that strikes me is that I was never able to understand the enthusiasm and devotion surrounding sports at all, much less baseball, until relatively recently when I discovered a competitive video game by the name of Starcraft. Together these two thoughts that this essay inspired in me have combined in my head, which has left me picturing what it might be like to explain Starcraft to Lillie Carr.  I feel that such a task would probably be beyond me, even though I was able to somewhat explain the game of “Farmville” to my other 90-year-old grandparent (“it is a game that aspires to let players pretend to be farmers, played on ‘Facebook’ which is a website that lets you air your personal business to the whole world”).