Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Pesky "Poll"

I have been a Red Sox fan for my entire life, and this past week Red Sox nation mourned the loss of one of its family, Johnny Pesky.  He had been a fixture with the Sox for more than a half century, so he represented one of those vestiges from my earliest childhood memories of the franchise.

The right field foul pole in Fenway Park bears the name of Mr. Pesky for reasons that have been disputed over the years; nonetheless, it was formally dedicated as the Pesky Pole for his 87th birthday.  After watching this man and his contributions to the Red Sox over the years, I have my own opinion about the Pesky "poll".  He loved the game of baseball and his beloved Red Sox, he valued the fans especially the young, but more importantly he remained humble throughout all his success.  Those are qualities that make him a Hall of Famer in any one's book!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Is this your first?

For those of us who have been fortunate enough to become parents, the anticipation and excitement associated with that nervous occasion is certainly unforgettable, and once you hold that little bundle of joy for the first time, every ounce of worry seems to be melt away.  Granted, the time ahead may present a host of other stumbling blocks and challenges, but few would deny that for an instant in time, all of life's issues are but a trivial concern.

My older brother recently told me a story which involved his "first" experience with impending fatherhood.  Long ago, in the days preceding "modern medicine", the labor room was off limits to everyone, except the key players: the expectant mother, the nurses, and the physician.  Everyone else was banished to the waiting room, and the news of the birth was then personally communicated to the father and others by either one of the nurses or the delivering doctor.  My how that process has evolved since those "olden days".

Well, on this particular occasion, my brother and father were evidently out at the local park hitting a few baseballs when the urgent call came requesting my father's presence in Labor and Delivery, so the local constable was dispatched to the ballpark to deliver the message.  Evidently, there must have been some urgency to the situation because, instead of dropping my brother off at home, my father elected to bring my brother along with him to the hospital.  In a bygone era, the nurses were quick to provide some short term child care in such circumstances, however, as you might imagine in this case, they had other, more important obligations.  So, the logical alternative became none other than the expectant father in the nearby waiting room, a perfect distraction for an anxiety laden individual.  Being the precocious son of a doctor, my brother acted cool calm and collected, as he witnessed this adult pacing anxiously about the room.  Evidently, my brother felt compelled to help provide some distraction for this man during his hour of need, so he broke the nervous silence with a question, "Is this your first?"  I can only imagine the scene as it must have unfolded in that waiting room from that point on.

When my brother shared this story with me not too long ago, I laughed until it hurt thinking of a young boy witnessing this adult and how did he ever come up with such an insightful yet quizzical question?  Life's true stories do provide the best entertainment, and this one ranks right up there.  As for my brother, I suspect that it was a first for him too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia Child's memory lives on

Had Julia Child been living today, she would be celebrating her 100th birthday, and with her volumes of recipes,  one can only imagine the menu at her party.  Although cooking is not among my many interests, the end result of those efforts generally has me circulating in the kitchen lurking to assist with the "cleanup".  Regardless of one's aptitude for the culinary arts, few would argue that Julia Child brought a unique "flavor" to her craft that will be difficult to recreate.

Julia Child spent a lifetime mastering her passion for cooking and then bringing it to an audience of "hungry" followers, but what many truly appreciated about her was her witty and carefree style with her TV audience.  My brothers and I occasionally would happen upon her show and were routinely entertained, not for cooking at our age, but for her perpetual lighthearted humor.  Her demeanor reminded us of our mother who took a similar approach to life in the kitchen and elsewhere, and it has been because of these similarities that the memory of JC lives on in living color for us.

Yes, Julia Child brought us French cooking, but more importantly,  she showed us how to master the simple joys of life.  This has been the recipe that my mother mastered best along with this icon of the kitchen.  So, when I hear my mother's voice, replete with her positive outlook on life, I am reminded of Julia and that will always keep her memory alive for  me.  Merci to the ambassador of Bon Appetit!