August going going...By Rick Wilson
August beckons, the sand and surf still front and center, the whiffle ball still hot to tantalize, the book and front porch still anxious to be one on a sultry, lazy afternoon when only a distant lawn mower breaks the contented silence. The grill calls for more and socks stay in the drawer.
But there is the inevitable sense of the push, the fall pressure like the bully in the line forcing its way to the front. The summer leagues are ending, the Red Sox season is overcooked. Tiger continues to find the rough, field hockey sticks are starting appear on fields of dreams reserved for baseball and softball.
You want to grab the hands of the clock and hold them, make it all stand still, freeze the moment. And it is maddeningly futile. Like trying to get Ronda Rousey to work up a one-minute sweat or hope that The Donald gets the mullet pared down.
There is still time. I will get to Block Island at least once before it all slips away simply because it is one of the last great places on earth. I will go to the bluffs and to Ballard’s sit out on the back deck and have a drink simply because you should and you have to.
I will spend time with my mom and aunt, 167 years of proud living. We will go out to eat and find a few locations to visit not because I should because I want to. I will get to Fenway at least once because everyone should go to Fenway at least once a summer. Even a Yankee fan even if it is to watch the Yankees beat the Red Sox.
Yeah, there is time, but it is borrowed time. Twenty-four hour days that act like 12-hour shorts. Days when hours are minutes and minutes are seconds and days are seemingly done before the afternoon has finished stretching.
There was no bucket list for the summer but plenty of good stuff, there always is. I made my first appearance at Wrigley Field and felt the touch of history in the ivy walls and fans watching on the area roof tops. The game stunk, the Cubs lost to the Rockies but the experience was solid.
I made the trek to Milwaukee and Miller Park and it is one of the best I have been too. The Cubs won this one, but it didn’t matter (at least to me). The park had more things for kids to do and enough food to have you checking your cholesterol level after the second inning but what a way to go. My wife and son polished off a helmet full of nachos in less time than it too the drunk behind me to get into a fight with a Brewers’ fan.
I visited the Miller Brewery while in Milwaukee. You didn’t think I went there just for a baseball game and to see a new park did you. A fascinating visit complete with three free samples. I thought it would be rude to refuse to I drank them all.
But maybe best of all, we found the statue of the coolest person ever – Fonzie. We took pictures and my son asked me, “hey dad who is the short dude?” Talk about feeling ancient. And no, there were no statues of Ralph Malph and Pottsy.
For the second summer in row, soccer, well futbol, grabbed the strings of passion held by my son and this time we were in Soldier Field. There were no Bears there but Manchester United and Paris St .Germaine were on hand with 61,000 people. And for the second straight year good old Man U. failed to score, putting a damper on my son’s night, dropping a 2-0 decision.
Jonathan was somewhat mollified by getting an autograph and photo while Manchester United legend Brian Robison. Later on in the week he was grinning ear-to-ear when he purchase his new Manchester United Jersey, just minutes after the Adidas store opened dup.
We saw the Yankees dump all over the White Sox at Cellular Field with Mark Texiera thinking he was Babe Ruth or somebody by hitting home runs from both sides of the plate.
We took a boat ride on Lake Michigan which was a tad bigger than Bantam Lake and a motored up the Chicago River.
One of my favorite moments was driving up the lane at Caledonia Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, a ride right out of Gone With the Wind, and then having a cocktail on the back porch overlooking the 18th hole. Perfect.
I took my mom and aunt for lunch at the Red Lion in Norman Rockwell’s Stockbridge, time enjoyed.
I watched my son and eight of his cohorts gather on the living room to watch the U.S. women’s team win the World Cup by squashing Japan. They ate 10 million potato chips, put down enough hot dogs to be considered for Nathan’s Cony Island contest and inhaled a few burgers. All the time managing to slip outside for a little yard soccer.
But most of all I saw a bunch of teenagers having a big-time time with one another, enjoying a game that has grabbed them and loving the American win. Their standing performance of the National Anthem was outstanding.
I spent a couple of mornings with Tim Gaffney and Tony Turina and the former coach’s coffee shop. (note – Gaffney is not the former coach). A good summer morning. Good coffee and good conversation with two people of inestimable quality.
I spent time at the Torrington Armory with Bill Nataro. The purpose was business, a story on Nataro, the conversation was a pleasure. See, Nataro is the kind of people communities need to thrive and prosper. He is a passionate doer.
There was always the old favorite to kick off the summer - the Litchfield Hills Road Race. My wife ran, I didn’t. I rode the press truck, a special challenge this time around with a new driver. Just working the kink out of the neck now. It was family and friends and the special atmosphere that only the LHRR with Bill Neller, Brent Hawkins and the rest of the gang can provide.
A most unique interview – how about former WWE champion Bob Backlund at the Travelers Golf Tournament. A great wrestler, and a character of mystery as he roamed the acreage in half of a tuxedo looking for the next person to talk to. And maybe a front tooth.
There was one concert – the Tokens and The Drifters at a park in Hamden. Got my picture taken with Jay Sigel (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and the Drifters with 78-year old Charlie Thomas were awesome.
I will confess I also did watch one hour of a soap opera. On July 27, Tony Geary walked into history after 37 years of playing legendary Luke Spencer (he of Luke and Laura fame) on General Hospital. Forget it if you don’t know who they are. I was one of the 30 million who watched Luke and Laura get married in 1983. OK, so shoot me. I was just getting home from school and I watched for a while.
Now I can go to my grave peacefully. The burden has been lifted.
There are a several weeks left before the shoes go back on, the days start earlier, the shorts get longer by about two or three feet and the tee-shirt gives way to buttons. But no moss grew under the feet this summer.
It never does, there is just the wistful wish that it could last a little longer.