May 23, 2020

The loss of a friend

Often when I most want to say something, words don’t seem to come to mind. I lost a dear friend in April, a woman I’ve known since I was a teenager and I have been struggling since to find those words. I read a piece by my son yesterday on writing authentically and I guess it inspired me to give it a try today.

Jean Garner Fullenkamp was one of a group of nine friends I have had the privilege of being a part of. Women who have managed to remain close friends through the years. Some of us met in high school, some in grade school. As with any group we have our differences. Lord knows, we’re not all on the same page on a variety of subjects. And to be quite honest, perhaps if we met now for the first time, we might not even become friends.

But we are friends. We make the effort to keep together. We’re here for each other in the hard times and good times. And we’re here for each other now as we try to find our way through this first devastating loss of one of our own.

Even though we got together only a few times a year Jean was a great part of my life. Always kind, generous and loving, Jean could be counted on to host any occasion, to be late for lunch dates, and ready with a compliment. She liked to laugh, enjoyed a good glass of wine, and was always dressed to the nines. She loved her family and her religion. She was passionate about the environment and worried about what the future would hold for her grandchildren. Like all of us, she had good days and bad days, but managed to muddle through, spirit intact. Jean was simply a lovely person. And I, as well as so many others, will miss her.

Keep your loved ones close, don’t forget to let them know just how much you care, and cherish each day as it comes.

May 6, 2020

The Boys of Summer Are Back – in South Korea

The Boys of Summer Are Back – in South Korea

Well, for those of us who miss Opening Day, who miss this year when the Nationals should be basking in World Series glory, who miss the 7th inning stretch, the wave, popcorn, peanuts and Cracker Jack, South Korean baseball is here!

Granted this season will be unusual. The coronavirus has seen to that. But South Korea feels confident enough that the season has begun – within coronavirus restrictions, of course. Games will be played in an empty stadium. Umpires wear masks, as do the cheerleaders, and most of the players.

Playing to empty stadiums must be difficult. Players thrive on the energy of the crowds, the excitement that seems to vibrate through the stadium. So, Korea has gone to great lengths to simulate the thrill of the game. Stadiums are filled with placards of fans, there is an announcer is doing his utmost to inject animation into his narration, and cheer leaders are gamely rooting on the home team.

I think they can do more. With a little ingenuity I’ll bet they could make everyone believe they are really at the ballpark. First, the crowd noises. You need the roar of the crowd when someone hits a dinger over the right field fence. And the roar - then moan when a ball looks like a homer, but is actually in foul territory.

Then, of course, an entire litany of catcalls, boos, hisses is a must. They could add the rude, raucous taunts one might hear today, but I think they should keep it family friendly and channel that classic William Bendix movie Kill the Umpire. A few ‘are you blind’s, ‘he was safe’, and ‘throw the bum out’ would add color. Also, a few of the placards leaning over the low fence and interfering with the play would be good.

Speaking of the placard fans, I think they should figure out a way they could do the wave with the appropriate whoosh sound we all love to make. It would be a sight to see because they would all actually take part and it wouldn’t just die a somewhat anemic death like it, sadly, often does.

The 7th inning stretch would be great. All the placards could pop out of their seats and sing along to Take Me Out to the Ballgame or Country Roads. I’ll bet they could figure out a way for vendors to toss hot dogs and peanuts to the ‘fans’. A tee-shirt toss would be a wonderful sight, but they’d have to be careful about the velocity. Knocking off a placard’s head with a tee-shirt would be a downer for sure.

Think of it, relaxing in those pajamas which you haven’t gotten out of for three weeks, sipping a Baseball Pleasure at four in the morning because ‘what else do you have to do?’, and flipping channels until you find Korean baseball. It’s a gift. Let’s root for the home team!

Baseball Pleasure
(a Daisy and Rose special)
In a highball glass with ice mix:
2 oz. Vodka
4 oz. orange juice
1 jigger Amaretto
1 jigger Whiskey
Mix well and garnish with a little pennant supporting your favorite team. Go Nats!

March 24, 2020

Coping with Confinement

Well, here we are caught in coronavirus hell. I have been trying to think of amusing little anecdotes to write about, but I'm afraid they aren't coming to mind. I just find this scary and depressing. As my older sister, Heather, reminded me, I'm no spring chicken. This virus is taking aim at the likes of me.

I am so very fortunate that I really have very little to complain about. Tom and I are financially secure, able to stay home, and are managing to get along. Staying at home is what we normally do. So why do I feel a burning need to go somewhere, anywhere?

My sister, Chris, calls this the 'snowplow syndrome'. You know, when a big snow is coming and you are absolutely ready for it. You're well stocked with toilet paper, milk, coffee, and tea. The pantry is filled with pop corn, the makings for s'mores, and Pepperidge Farm cookies. You have plenty of wine, beer and strong drink on hand, and eight DVDs of Columbo and a complete set of Jane Austen movies, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and a fully loaded Kindle. So why are you looking out the window and wondering where in the hell the snowplow is?

I have found that, like I'm guessing many of you have also, much of my day is now consumed with grocery delivery. First thing in the morning I check Safeway, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and Giant to see which grocery store has a delivery slot open during the upcoming week. If I find one, I quickly grab it and proceed to order everything I can think of.

I'm becoming a pro at this. I started off naively placing an order with Harris Teeter last week which was delivered in a timely manner. It was a fairly normal order, no hoarding, just what we might need for a week or two. I got a call that morning from a man who informed me that they couldn't fill everything on it. I said, "Fine. Just deliver what you have." Well, the order was a tad short - consisting of a fairly disgusting cucumber, two bags of croutons, salsa, rye bread, and a couple of other items I didn't really need. The saving grace was the bag of Tootsie Roll Midgies. I've now caught on and order accordingly. I'm not hoarding, but I cover a broad spectrum of goods giving the store a lot of leeway for choosing what I might really want.

And Tom and I have actually been, sort of, rationing our food. While we are in no real danger of starving, as the virus picks up steam groceries may very well be more difficult to get. So we're pacing ourselves. And what we've found is that we really eat too much! And we throw away too much! And we should be much more thankful for what we have.

Anyway, I just thought I would check in with all my friends and let you know I'm still here. Please everyone, stay safe, comply with social distancing, stay home if you can, be mindful of others, and take care of yourselves.