Tagged: birthdays

Happy Birthday Sam

Brother,

I started this in my head about fifteen times and always discard it because it is too much about me. How to proceed, then?

I shut you down big time earlier this year, as you know. Believe me when I say (again) how embarrassed I am for that.

I can’t promise that I’ll believe this tomorrow, but special for today let me say that I think your life has proven that despite your being the younger brother, you lead the way in exemplifying the best qualities a man can possess, especially when measured against a certain “know-it-all who can’t keep his trap shut.” See? What is the problem?

I’m proud of you. I love you. The last two visits have been very nice. H- seems very nice. Hold her like a butterfly.

Happy Birthday.

Pete

PS – I’m so excited for the speech come April. You are not going to regret your decision. (You should be nervous enough to consider if maybe you should pick someone else, but not so nervous that you do more than consider it. Part of the reason I’m struggling now is I can’t say a lot that I’m saving for that more appropriate setting.)

PPS – I need the next month to go by slow; the fast-approaching trip to Copper is having the opposite effect, no thanks to you.

I Love You

From Warrior:  “I’m sorry Tommy!  I’m sorry… Tap out Tom!  It’s OK! It’s OK!  I Love You!  I Love You Tommy!”

From Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:  “I have a brother?  I have a brother!”

From Tommy Boy:  “Brothers don’t shake hands.  Brothers hug!”

From Lion King:  “Scar!  Brother!”

From Brother Bear:  Hell–the whole thing.

From Dances with Wolves:  “Do you see that I am your friend?  Can you see that you will always be my friend?”

From Rocky 5:  “Home team.”

Seems like there’s been more trying than doing between us.  I wish this wasn’t the case.  I guess that’s what we get for being so similar.

I’ll tell you what I know.  The summer before I left was probably the best summer.  You forsook your friends for me.  I’ll never forget it.  24oz Code Red’s.  Either Hot’n’Ready or Pizza Maker pizzas.  And enormous bowls of ice cream.  Every night.

There’s something in me (I think most people call it “asshole”) that wants to forever be your guide through this world.  I do apologize for that.  When I think how old you are now, I am kinda stunned.  The good news is the old people I like have shown me there is plenty of time.  Maybe we’ll get to our Tombstone yet.  (“Virgil!  Morgan!”)

I’m really at a loss here.

You’ve always meant the world to me.  Watching you “come into your own” these last couple years has been nice.

Happy Birthday.

The Father of Second Base?

For all the information, misinformation, and controversy surrounding the origin of the game of baseball, one piece of trivia is rarely mentioned.  Whether Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright should be credited as the father of America’s pastime, it seems to me that the more pressing question–the question that nobody is asking–is, “Where would the game of baseball be without second base?”

What you have to understand is baseball began as a competition, similar to cricket, which involved balls and bats and home plate and base.  Initially, there were not four bases, mind you, just one.  The player would hit the ball and run back and forth between two points in space–home plate and base.  What most people don’t bother wondering about is how home plate and this single base (just called ‘base’ as there wasn’t, at that time, another base which necessitated the distinctions “first” and “second”) multiplied into the modern baseball diamond comprised of home plate, first base, second base and third base.

As you are no doubt realizing, the addition of a second base was no trivial matter.  Without adding a second base, there would have never been a reason to add a third base, and without third base, there is no baseball diamond.  So, we must ask how second base came to be.  More to the point, we should want to know who to credit for the addition of a second base.  As fate would have it, it was none other than than “father of American music” himself–Stephen Foster.

Having recently penned such classics as “Oh, Susanna” and “Camptown Races”, Foster was a veritable celebrity.  He was the man of the hour in the mid-1800s.  And he happened to be a bit of a sports nut.  No one knows for certain how it happened, but after some light reflection it should be no surprise to anyone that Foster, who became known for writing songs with special emphasis on the refrain, was the man who suggested adding another base to the playing field.  After all, it was the addition of second base that gave baseball what some might call musicality.

Think about it.  A game where men simply run back and forth between two designated spots offers no real distinguishing excitement, no real flow.  But, as we all know and love, if a player makes it to second base on the diamond of today, he is in “scoring” position.  Reaching scoring position, then, is similar to the unique characteristic of Foster’s own music.  That being, the emphasis on the refrain.  As a verse of Foster’s music concludes, everyone knows the refrain is coming, and still everyone can’t wait for it to happen.  Regardless the amount of listeners singing the verses, everyone in earshot contributes their own voice to “Oh, Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me!”  Is it not the same when the runner reaches second base?  Maybe the inning is dragging on, maybe it seems all hope is lost, maybe you are lost in thought trying to remember when they stop serving beer–it doesn’t matter.  The minute the runner makes it to second, he might score a run.  And if he does, his crossing home plate triggers another batter and extends the offensive strike; in other words, it acts as a refrain.  Is there anyone who would attempt to argue that there is any quantifiable difference between crowds cheering upon their team scoring a run and crowds singing “Oh, Susanna, oh don’t you cry for me.  Well I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee”?

I don’t know why I feel its important to bring this to your attention.  Not forgetting the little man is just in my nature.  Blame my dad.  The point is, next time you’re feeling a profound love of the game, toss some of it to Stephen Foster; for who knows where America’s pastime would be if it wasn’t for the “father of American music.”

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Happy Birthday Dad.  Thanks for the memories.