Monday, May 29, 2017

Better Than Baseball?

It’s Memorial Day weekend in 2017. On Sunday the Cleveland Indians finished off a three game series at home against the Kansas City Royals. They lost the first two games (6 - 4 and 5 - 2). However, on Sunday they stomped the Royals with a final score of 1 - 10. You’d think that I would have been glued to my seat, beer and salt roasted peanuts on hand, for every swing of the bat. If you thought that, you’d be wrong.

You see, Sunday was also the day of our annual Memorial Day picnic (we set up on Saturday, have the picnic on Sunday, and try to recover on Monday). So, instead of watching the game, I was enjoying the company of 29 close family and friends as we ate, laughed, shared, and everything else one does when they are with close family and friends.

We got just over 3" of rain - didn't dampen the event!

So, even though I love baseball, and would have loved to watch Josh Tomlin pitch the entire game, instead I was doing what so many were unable to do: spend time with close family and friends. And the reason so many were unable to, was the very reason for this day: they gave their very lives defending US (not just the “U-nited S-tates” but we our very selves).

It is for those who wore helmets that we take off our hats; for those whose hands held rifles that we hold our hands on our hearts; for those fallen that we stand.

To paraphrase the book of Numbers: May the Lord bless you, keep you; may His face shine upon you, and give you ULTIMATE peace.

Thank you.

(The ball players gave honor to the fallen as well. This was not meant as a negative to those who play the game.)

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

One of the biggest gripes I hear when talking to people about the love of baseball is that it is such a LONG season. But you have to understand:

Baseball is more than 162 games played in a year.

It is more than a three-game series.

It is more than nine innings in a game.

It is more than three outs in an inning.

It is more than four balls or three strikes in an up at bat.

Baseball is each pitch of the ball; each swing of the bat. For with each pitch, with each swing, an entire game can change. The needed momentum to pull a struggling team up from the bottom to the top can take place with that single strike out, or that single hit of the ball.

According to Gerrit Maus of UC Berkeley, a fastball takes .4 seconds to reach home plate after it leaves a pitcher's hand, but a hitter needs a full .25 seconds to see the ball and react. “Light hits our eye and the information needs to get to our brain. That takes a tenth of a second.”

Baseball is where everything hinges on that moment when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand and what the batter does or doesn’t do with it when it reaches him.

Is a baseball season long? My God yes. My only wish is that the season could be even longer.

© Emittravel 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

No More Perfect Love

“There is no more perfect love than that of a pet.” - Lisa Wiegand

It’s hard to believe, but on Tuesday, the 2nd of May, we said goodbye to our 14-year old cat, Harley. He had been going downhill for just over a month. He lost so much weight that you could see all his bones. He stopped cleaning himself (which meant we were constantly wiping the milk off of his face . . . and anywhere he happened to walk after drinking said milk.) And, though he continued to use it, he stopped burying his refuse in the litterbox.

And as my wife said in the quote, there is no more perfect love. A love he never hesitated to share with us.

Here are a few things we are going to miss with Harley gone from our lives:

There isn’t a single place to sit in the house that he wouldn’t “demand” to get comfortable in our lap.

Sleeping in bed with him on top of the blanket, between my legs, across my shins (which meant I slept on my back).

Having breakfast with Lisa in the summer on the sun porch (when “daddy” was at work).

Watching “General Hospital” with Lisa in the summer afternoons.

His standing on his tiptoes, completely stretched towards the counter, as Lisa opened cans (of anything - didn’t have to be cat food) because he thought it was for him.

Our sitting on the back patio as he desperately tried to get to us through the screen door or sun porch windows.

Running down the hallway and watching his belly swing side to side.

Calling out “I have a blanky” and having him run up to lay on it with you.

Having him tap you on the back so you would lift the blanket so he could crawl under it (while we were in bed).

Saying, “Let’s go out on the sun porch”, and having him sit by the door and wait for you to open it.

Watching him completely comatose in a rocker on the sun porch, laying in the sun.

He would hunker down and make himself as heavy as possible when he didn’t want to come in and you tried to pick him up.

Having to confirm there were “no cats on the sun porch” when closing the door in the evening.

Coming home from anywhere, at any time, and having him go from greeting you at the door to sitting in front of his dish in the kitchen - waiting for his treats.

At the end of the evening, all Lisa would have to say is, “It’s time for bed. Let’s go brush our teeth,” and he would go right down the hall to the bathroom, sit on the toilet lid, and wait for the brushing to be completed.

Those, and so many more, are the things we will miss about our boy.

After Muffin left us, Harley - previously the beta to Muffin’s alpha - started coming out of his shell when company came over. Whereas before he would hide under the bed at the sound of the door opening, afterwards he would come out for whatever loving he could get from the guests.

One of the most difficult parts is that for the first time in almost 30 years, I’m living without a cat in the house. Muffin made it 20 years - and showed Harley the ropes. Oh, we could go down the street to the local pet store or shelter and get another cat, but it wouldn’t be the same. Besides, we need time to grieve.

For about a week before that night, I would sit on the floor in the bedroom, pull Harley’s “trundle bed” out from under our bed (it was the bottom half of a large plastic container. Just big enough for the pillow I slept with under my knees), and tell him, “Whenever you’re ready. It’s okay. We’ll miss you, but we know it’s time.”

Goodbye Harley. You were loved.

© Emittravel 2017