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Throwing a baseball

It can drive me nuts, but I really enjoy it.

What is this thing that gives me pleasure but irritates the heck out of me? The game of baseball.

I have to confess (?) that I am a dyed in the wool Minnesota Twins fan. Now, if you know anything about the history of the Twins, you know that means you’ve been to heaven and you’ve been to Hades with them. Yes, it’s a game! I realize that and maybe someday I’ll learn to accept its awfulness along with its goodness.

I expect most of us have stories about our favorite sport and most of us realize it is what it is … a game played by humans who are, well, human. They can do amazing feats of athleticism and then look like a blockhead in the same game. That’s life. One of the current Twins cannot seem to stop swinging and striking out at a certain pitch — that’s frustrating to watch and I expect for him, too. I’ve watched him strike out many, many times this year and it’s sad to watch.

However, I’ll continue to watch because of the many terrific memories associated with the game — at the ballpark and at home.

I played some ball and couldn’t wait to toss a ball with our children. Our daughter wasn’t too interesting — she was more into doing somersaults and handstands. Our first son filled the gap. From the time he was able to catch and toss a ball, we did it. Then he got his first glove and we continued throwing to each other and I would hit him fly balls to teach him to catch them. He got quite good.

As mentioned, from the time when he was about 2 years old, we would play catch. Except for last year when we stayed apart (darn it!!!), we have played catch every year and we just did so again.

I can’t put into words what those minutes of tossing and talking mean to me — all the memories of us playing together, his time in school and him playing at the college level come flooding through me.

After our most recent toss time, we celebrated by having a Summit Extra Pale Ale together. Summit Brewing Company is St. Paul’s pioneer craft beer brewery and they do very fine beers. The Extra Pale Ale is amber in color, has a brown sugar biscuit taste to go along with its nice hop flavor. Its ABV is about 5 percent (A nice session beer) and its IBUs are mid range at about 50. Wonderfully refreshing and was the perfect ending to our game of catch.

But the important part of the story is the memories always being “brewed!” Like the Hispanic Heritage Celebration I recently visited.

In the past, I was associated with a group of folks and we organized a festival that was to celebrate the heritage of everyone in the community — both those there for decades and those recent arrivals. As I wandered through this current festival, the memories of past celebrations cascaded through me. It was an honor to meet and be associated with so many good and community contributing people — it was amazing to relive those great moments.

So, later I had to relive and toast those great moments with a glass of Apothic Cabernet Sauvignon from the Central Coast of California. The wine’s dark red color, heavy dark fruit aromas and flavor were mesmerizing — at least, for me — and I reveled in its final vanilla notes. Such a beautiful wine – in all ways!

As I was sipping the wine, I picked up a book of Emily Dickinson’s poems and I came across a very short poem about the prairie. It goes like this:

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, — One clover, and a bee, and revery. The revery alone will do if bees are few.”

Wow! I love the prairie and the word “revery” describes my experience with the prairie in one word. I can see the clover and hear the bees — what a fantastic memory of years gone by. I needed something to celebrate that poem.

Wouldn’t you know it but a bottle of Cook’s California Brut Grand Reserve Champagne was on my shelf! It would do nicely and, in short fashion, the cork was popped from it and I poured a fizzy glass of it into my flute. Here’s to you, Emily! Here’s to you, prairie! Here’s to you culture festivals! And, here’s to my oldest son for all the inspiring memories of playing ball with you!

Yes life can be as frustrating as a baseball team but let’s look for and find the goodness in everything. Play catch every time you can!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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