Monthly Archives: April 2017

It’s Just a Game

It was just a game, just a baseball game.

Last night’s game in Los Angeles was one game in a 162-game season of Major League Baseball, making it even more insignificant when the money-grubbing owners and media expanded the season from 154 and added playoffs to precede the World Series so we could watch the end of the season in ridiculously cold weather rather than the way baseball was supposed to played. Summer?

It was a game between the high-priced spread Dodgers and the margarine-priced Padres. The Dodgers are supposed to win the division and challenge the Cubs in the National League to win that World Series in much better weather than in what the Cubs would play.

That remains a possibility. The Padres finishing last in everything, as predicted by everyone who doesn’t hope like me against all odds, are likely to do just that. Last.

They are young, very young, and the know-it-all, at least more than any sane human would want to know about baseball, say if you are young, you lose. The probability the know-it-all’s are right is pretty good this year. The Padres don’t have a lot of starting pitching.

Then this grandfather of the Padre squad pitched this game. This one insignificant game. The next morning, i read this account of the grandfather:

Clayton Richard was the backup quarterback at Michigan before he turned to baseball for a living and who had a decent year or two some time ago before getting picked up last season and returning to the Padres after the Cubs dismissed him.

i spent a significant portion of my life thinking about leadership. It was my job for over twenty years, and then i facilitated others thinking about it for a while more, even wrote a column about it. When i read the account of Clayton Richard communicating to his young teammates before the season started, i thought, “Now that’s leadership.”

Even if it’s only a game, it still makes me feel good.

Baños, Kamikazes, and Logic Oxymoronic in the Deep of the Night

My last post was at 9:30. That’s “p.m. PDT, or 2100 local, or 1400 GMT, or three bells, Navy ship time. i was tired and excused myself because i’m seventy-three.

It is now, without all that quibbling over what to call it, 2:42 in the morning in the Southwest corner. i’m awake.


i used to sleep like a rock, anywhere, anytime, and slept through the night without fail. My father slept through the night until he was well into his eighties as far as i can tell. i started getting up once in the night in my late thirties for trips to the bathroom (sic). i attribute my early start on this male habit due to ship watch standing and perhaps a little bit wilder lifestyle than my father. But i would always fall right back to sleep.

Then in the last several years,  going back to sleep became more difficult. i got where i started worrying about something, or thinking about something i should have done the day before or several decades before, or feeling guilty for some slight i might have accidentally conveyed to someone, or worrying how i was going to get anything done the next day with little or no sleep.

Then i went to a counselor. She’s terrific, and got me into meditation. The techniques take my mind off of all those things, and i usually go back to sleep.

But not tonight. No, not tonight. i started thinking about weird things, or at least most people i know would think them weird. i just think about them, not as weird, just different.

Like tonight when i returned from my bathroom trek. i started thinking about the uproar about from where i trekked: the bathroom. i have a solution. But it won’t take. Why don’t we just make all bathrooms available to everyone, regardless of sexual preference? What’s wrong with it?

Well, to start with, they ain’t exactly bathrooms. In fact, we can get confused as to what we call them. Bathroom? Restroom? Outhouse? Loo? Water Closet or it’s abbreviation W.C.? Toilet?

In Spain, Mexico and other places across the world, they are called  baños. Of course, that’s a masculine noun, so i don’t know where the females go. Bañas? i don’t think so.

i’m not sure what they really call them in Japanese, but i know i can’t read the Japanese characters for the term. i realized that because of the twitters in the summer of 1970, long before twitters as we know them. Or is it tweeters?

Regardless, i was on a date with one of the most exquisite women i ever dated. Her name was Kosyko. She was just short of five feet tall weighing in around eighty pounds, about my age. Her parents were in Nagasaki when Fat Man the bomb visited. Her aunt was keeping her outside of Sasebo. Her parents didn’t return.

Kosyko was the most delicate woman i have ever met. Striking. i met her in a “stand bar,” a legitimate, straight place downtown far away from sailor town in Sasebo, Kyushu, Japan. We began dating. i would pick her up when she got off work around 2:00 to 4:00 a.m. Normally, we would go out to eat in small, lovely Japanese restaurants in the countryside — yes, many dining places stayed open all hours. But this evening, there was a movie, she wanted to see. So she and a couple of her girl friends (oops, friends of like gender) and i went to the nearby theater around 3:00 in the morning.

In the middle of the movie, nature called me. Since it was all in Japanese, i wasn’t going to miss much in the dialogue anyway, so i carefully made my way in the dark to the lobby. Seeing what was obviously the place for relief, i entered and did my business. When i emerged from the stall, there were a bunch of Japanese women in front of the mirrors. When they spotted me leaving, they all started to twitter, if not downright guffawing.

Once outside, i looked at the Japanese characters on the wall, puzzling as to how i could have been mistaken. That’s when i noticed the international sign on the wall on the other side of the entry meaning for women.

Didn’t hurt anyone. In fact, they got a good laugh out of it.

i was in love with Kosyko as much as i’ve ever been in love. i was going to ask her to marry me, but i wrote to my parents first, informing them of my intention. i got one of the very few letters from my father i ever received. Daddy strongly but lovingly advised me against the marriage, not, to his credit, because of her lineage, but because he felt a mixed marriage would make it tough for both of us. Back then in Lebanon, Tennessee,  he was absolutely correct.

It didn’t matter as about the same time of this correspondence, i did something to upset Kosyko. She refused to see me anymore.

i must add if my father did have some racial bias in the back of his mind, i could understand. After all, he witnessed kamikazes in the Philippines, and had Japanese forces shooting at him with machine guns before the Seabee defenses took care them.

But i think Kosyko had much more reason to view us negatively, which she didn’t. i hope my father was the same way. It was over.

But back to this every loo for all idea. First, why don’t we give up on the term “bathroom” or “restroom?” i surely don’t rest when i go in there, and unless i’m at home i don’t take a bath there. They are just sharing the space, the bath and the toilet. Why don’t we call them “P and C rooms” for “pee and crap,” or for the more genteel “UD rooms” for “urination and defecation.” i mean that’s more to the point.

Of course, we could always just go back to the way we used to do it. My daughter Sarah was amazed when we visited the Hermitage years ago. After visiting the house and the slave quarters, we strolled over to the garden. Adjacent to this lovely setting was the family outhouse, a three-holer. Sarah was astounded. i’m pretty sure they didn’t have any gender rules on that bathroom.

There were some problems with that solution. The Dillards, a bluegrass band from Missouri famous for their recurring role on “The Andy Griffith Show,” explained the problem when defining an outhouse to the city folks at Los Angeles’ Hungry I. “It’s a little shack about one hundred yards from the back of the house. In the winter, that’s about a hundred yards too far, but in the summer, that’s about a hundred yards too near.”

And then, we all could just go outside like my golfing buddies do.

Of course, the EPA might get a bit upset even though i don’t understand why.

i think i will try to go back to sleep.


It is late…well, not late of years gone by, but late now at seventy-three. i have just finished my column, almost a day (but not quite) ahead of deadline, a most unusual occurrence for this procrastinator.

But Jared Felkins, the managing editor of The Lebanon Democrat  and a blessing for this newspaper, which has been a part of my life since the beginning, mine, not the newspaper’s, has a busy and difficult week ahead. He and his wife are closing on their new house and his uncle, a close relative passed away with services this week. Jared needs all the time he can squeeze out of an editor’s rather ridiculous schedule and demands.

So i made the effort.

This was on top of a long day of home tasks and working and working on a writing project. Maureen has already gone to bed. i’m heading there. It’s late. 9:30. Sleep habits are another story another time.

But as i sit here, i can feel my eyes burning. It feels like grit, you know, grains of sand are inside the lids, not totally unpleasant, but demanding i pay service to the rack monster (the term i used in the Navy when sleep, not beckoned, but demanded).

And i remember special moments. So special moments. For as long as i was with Blythe, i would put her to bed. i did the same with Sarah until she was well into high school and even then, i might sneak in late to kiss her good night.

i would put them under the covers, tuck them in if you will. Early on, i would read stories to them. i tried making up some but it seemed awkward, stilted, especially compared to Dr. Seuss or Phil Silverstein. Eventually, i chucked the stories altogether.  i would lay down on the bedding and put my arms around them over the covers. i would nestle my head close to theirs. Then i would hum or sing softly with as low a timbre as i could muster.

There are only two songs i remember singing/humming. They are emblazoned in my brain. “Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Dream,” and “Summertime.”

i am already humming them in my mind as i write, thinking about those two special people in my life.

i think i will sleep well.

Good night.

Birthday Boy

i’ve written a lot about him.

But not enough. No, not enough.

i will not talk to him today. He’s in Ireland. Kenmare, Ireland to be exact.

In case you didn’t know. He’s my brother.

i count my blessings when considering the family i come from. My mother was unique. My sister is my other best friend. All three siblings remain close.

My brother Joe and my father are the two men i look up to the most. My father-in-law was another.

But today’s Joe’s birthday and i will think of him a lot today.

Happy Birthday, Joe. i can’t think of anyone who deserves a happy one more than you.