Okay Rangers, it's time to right the wrongs of last year. The Blue Jays are coming to town. Time to correct the mistakes of last year and sweep the Jays. That will be vindication. And if Odor gets the chance to deck Batista with his fielding and batting, that will be sweet revenge! Leave the fisticuffs for off the field.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
The nurse came in and slowly moved me away from the bed to check for any sign of life. Without a word she exited the room looking for the doctor on call. He entered with the nurse. They both checked for signs of life.
The doctor slowly turned, looked me in the eye, placed his hand on my right shoulder and said the words with as much compassion as possible, “I’m very sorry. She's gone.” I digested his words and began understanding the depth of our love. My heart didn’t break; it literally shattered into a million pieces. I turned towards Cathey and collapsed into her arms, crying uncontrollably.
Our thirty-year love affair was over.
Postscript: Seven years ago, today, I kissed her for the last time.I appreciate all the heartfelt comments from friends and family. Many tell me how sorry they are for the loss.For me, what would have been worse was hearing about through a text, email or at a reunion that she had died.And then finding out that I passed her house every time I went to Tulsa would have been unbearable. We were given a second chance to finish what we started thirty years ago. For that, I will always be grateful.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Something had changed. There was something in the air which didn’t feel right. I hurried back into the hospital. The elevator took an eternity to reach the third floor. I rushed down the hallway with a sense of urgency and hesitancy. I entered the room; Cathey was standing to the left of the bed. She asked how I was. I never responded. Her labored breathing had stopped. “Cathey, how long has she been like this?” She heard the concern in my voice and saw the look of worry on my face. She moved closer to the bed; put her fingers on Debbie's right wrist checking for a pulse. She wanted to believe she felt one. I laid my hand on her warm chest; it wasn’t moving. The pain in her face was starting to subside. I believe Cathey said she was going to get a nurse. All I could do was rub her chest and stroke her hair. Tears started falling from my eyes.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Debbie is in good hands with the aide. I decided to get some air, purchase a coke and have a cigarette. I went to the store with one thought running through my mind, Is there anything else I can do for her? Had I done everything I could for the “love of my life”? Would God sit by her side and let her live out her life on earth or whisper in her ear, take her hand, and guide her to heaven? I had no control over what was happening to her.
Cathey arrived at the hospital room at 8:50am. She’d been detained by her hubby who was coming home from Alaska after a three-month tour with the railroad. She called looking for me. I told her I was downstairs having a smoke but would be up in a few minutes. She said Deb is doing fine. My gut told me different.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
July 20th, 2009 7:00 am I held her hand and kissed her face with the arrival of a sunny beautiful morning, hoping for a miracle. The shift change was in full swing. Staff checking in, charts being reviewed, doctors and nurses exchanging information; vital signs being verified. Debbie’s breathing is labored as it had been for the last twenty four hours. I never knew if each breath would be her last. The cancer is running its course through her beautiful body at a terrible pace. An aide came in to change the sheets and clean her up. She asked if I would like her to wash Debbie's hair. I pondered the thought for a minute looking at the love of my live and replied in a hushed, choked tone, “She would like that. How long will it take you to change her bed and wash her hair?” She said about fifteen minutes. I stepped out of the room and called her friend Cathey to get an estimated time of arrival. She assured me she would be at the hospital within thirty minutes.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
I not only believe in true love, I was able to experience it twice. Once in high school and then thirty years later. Our second chance together only lasted seven months as her breast cancer returned and took her life. This is our story:
Where Have You Gone?
I remember those carefree days,
The girlish happy smile,
The days of high school,
Where only our love mattered.
The bus rides to the games and back,
Trips to the river bridge where our thoughts were one,
The nights filled of passion in the truck,
The moonlight dancing off our sweat covered bodies.
Our paths parted in a sea of tears,
The hurt, the pain of the past,
Always just under the surface,
A flash of sunlight, a familiar smile met with pain and hostility.
The smile vanishes, the pain and hurt boil up,
Yet the feelings of love never lost only suppressed,
A trip to Tulsa,
A business card in a mailbox,
A phone call two weeks later and the past awakens,
The smile, the pain, the hurt, the memories;
pour in like a raging river out of its' banks.
Is it worth the chance?
Is it worth opening the heart again?
Is it worth another trip to the unknown?
The smile is the same,
The feelings of love spring up,
The past is forgotten,
The present and future are all that matter,
Or is it?
Seven months of life together,
We laugh, we cry, we love;
chasing children, sharing their lives,
Strawberry shake in the face,
Movies from a Galaxy long ago,
Steaks, chicken and seasonings,
grilled to perfection with love.
A snowball fight,
A walk in the white soft flakes,
A pause on the sidewalk,
We embrace, kiss long and deep
letting our bodies provide the warmth.
The diagnosis, it's back.
Consoling the daughters,
A call to the parents,
A call to the EMT'S,
The present and the future are slipping away.
The final hours of life,
Only the sounds of deep painful breathing.
The halls are silent,
Nothing but thoughts for thirty years circle.
The end is closing in,
The cancer is tracking its' deadly course.
A warm hand rubs a chest going cold,
The breathing has stopped.
The pain is flowing out of her face.
The Doctor comes in,
The verdict is quiet with compassion,
I'm so sorry, she's gone.
Where have you gone?
Life has come to a stop,
There is nothing that matters anymore.
A never forgotten love has been taken in the prime of life,
A bench in a cemetery with no one else around.
The tears pour uncontrollably,
We cry, “Where have you gone?”
A voice, soft and tender floats down,
“Where have I gone?”
“Where there is no pain, no sadness."
"A place where the cancer has healed."
A place where mistakes of the past have been forgiven,
A place where I can look down to watch and help."
"A place where only love resides,
"Heaven, that, is where I have gone.”
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Everyone is talking about the Red Sox, Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Royals, Giants, Indians and Mets, but no one is talking about the team that is doing what it takes to not only win the division but the play-offs and possibly the World Series. Who is the team you might ask, the Texas Rangers. They might not be flashy or have the big name players, but what they do have is consistency. Watching the Rangers in the past, even when they went to the WS, I was never convinced they were a team to fear. You just knew they would find a way to lose no matter how heavy the line-up was packed with power hitters and fair pitchers. This is the most rounded group the Rangers and yes, Jeff Daniels has put together since the team moved from Washington. No longer do I wonder how they are going to lose a game, it's how are they going to win it. Last night was a perfect example. Down by five in the fifth and win the game by two, on the road. They are using every tool in the box: hitting, bunting, sacrifices, solid fielding, good starting pitching and a decent bullpen. This bunch of men are playing as a team, not as individuals. They will sacrifice themselves on the field or ride the bench until Bannister calls on them. Guys and gals, this is how the game is played.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Great Page Turner! Shades of Catch 22—Australian style
Seldom do I use the term, “page turner.” It’s an overused cliché and when potential readers see that in the headline, they roll their eyes and think, “Must be a friend of the author,” then move on. Well, I’m not a friend of the author and I’d never heard of Bernard Clancy until I received an email inviting me to review this book. I’m glad I accepted the mission.
Most stories about Vietnam, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, center around the country that lost the most during the conflict, the US. This one centers around an interesting group of Australians, who, like their US brothers-in-arms, have signed up or were drafted for a one year tour.
They are drawn to the conflict to preserve national pride, travel to an exotic country and make some good money while serving. What they don’t realize is it’s not what they think it’s going to be.
The main character is Brian James “Donkey: Simpson. When he lands at Tan Son Nhut airport in Saigon, the first people he meets don’t welcome him to the conflict, the same words are spoken as a salutation, “You’ll be sorry.” A bit ominous isn’t it?
Now, you might think he’s headed into the bush or “in country.” Not the case. When he’s conscripted, one of his mates helps him fill out the form stating, “he was prolific in typing and shorthand.” This small oversight puts him in a situation he could never imagine in his wildest dreams or darkest nightmares.
He is assigned as the personal secretary to General, Big Al, the main stud at COMAF–Commander, Australian Force, Vietnam. From here he meets, Corporal Nickoli—antagonist, Major Swanker—antagonist, The Padre—roommate, Ned—his adventurous, horse trading mate and Jilly—double agent for the VC! There are a few more, such as the outlandish, General Cassidy of the CIA—does the name Colonel Flag ring a bell? Natasha–Cassidy’s assistant, twin sister to Jilly and VC double agent, General Dong of ARVN/VC and last but not least Jansen. Who he is, nobody knows; but his timing is impeccable when the heat is on.
Quite a cast of characters, don’t you think?
Let’s get the run-of-the-mill stuff out of the way. There is an excessive amount of drinking, dinking and cussing through the story. No big surprise there. We are constantly reminded of the oppressive heat and foul smells wafting through Saigon on a daily basis. There is some combat, but just enough to keep the story moving ahead and satisfying those who want to start their own body count and rice caches.
The real plot is “Operation Santa Claus.” The scheme is hatched by Big Al and his second-in-command. They suspect there is a spy in their midst and the only way to flush he/she out is to be careless with “Top Secret” information. The ploy works. The unwitting part is Donkey. This poor bloke has no idea that all eyes are on him. All he wants to do is serve his time, go back to his gal, Allison and pursue his career in journalism. A lot can happen in twelve months and believe me, it does.
There is also a sub-plot through the story. This is what I found the most fascinating. Like its predecessor, “Catch-22,” Mr. Clancy explores the madness of the War in Vietnam. Why are we fighting a war where the people we are fighting for, don’t care who wins or loses. Why are the folks back home condemning them for serving their country while they are supporting Ho Chi Minh? What is the point of Aussie mates dying for a cause they don’t understand and don’t want to? Why does anyone or any country care what happens to South Vietnam? Bottom line, they don’t.
Therein lies the madness to the whole conflict. Add on top of that, “Winning hearts and minds,” while the allies and VC/NVA are destroying everything in sight, and the mind numbing bureaucratic army BS from both sides, you have entered either a very bad madhouse or worse, Rod Serling is going to read your invocation and eulogy. Yeah, a bloody mess we’re in!
Donkey and his mates concern themselves with two primary thoughts: counting down the days to the “Freedom Bird,” and attempting to rejoin and be accepted by civilization. For many who did serve the second only happened after decades of being cajoled, shunned and humiliated for serving their country.
Bottom line, this is one hell of a story. The first part drags a bit, but once I hit the 50% mark I couldn’t put it down. I was completely engrossed in the espionage plot and how it would affect each of the characters. Surprising is an understatement.
Last thought. Even though the title is “Best We Forget” and the main character echoes those thoughts in the end, “Lest We Never Forget” is the compelling message.
Amazon link: Best We Forget
Thursday, May 26, 2016
I’ve been following the news about the new cathedral and can’st sayI'm that excited. Why in the world do the Rangers need to build a one billion dollar cathedral? That is just 200 million short of Jerry’s Deathstar otherwise known as AT&T Stadium, Jerry World or home of the Dallas Cowpatties. Whoops. Cowboys.
Are the Rangers trying to rival Jones? Or is it the City of Arlington that thinks the ball team needs new digs? Why does the team need a new stadium? The current one is only twenty-two years old and in perfect condition. If you’ve ever been to a game there, you know there is NOTHING wrong with the existing structure.
So what are the fans and residents of Arlington being told? A retractable dome will add to the fan experience. The new stadium will protect fans from inclement weather and make sure that all games are played as scheduled. I think it was the mayor of Arlington who made the statement. Since I’m sure I didn’t put it in quotes.
I might be mistaken, but the Rangers have been averaging over 2 million fans per year since there World Series run. Can’t be an attendance problem. Oh wait, we do have the occasional severe thunderstorm and tornado that can spoil an evening. For those who don’t remember, several years back or maybe it was ten, a tornado was heading right at the Ballpark in Arlington. It did create a bit of commotion. However, we knew all day that the storms were coming and yet Texans took to the Ballpark knowing what might happen. So what is it? Honestly, I don’t have a f… ,need to clean it up, a clue!
Can you imagine, any of these clubs playing in a dome: Tigers, Royals, Indians, Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and a host of others. Personally, I cannot. I’ve never been a fan of the dome. Baseball is meant to be played outdoors, in the elements and if a game gets cancelled, then we have a doubleheader. Oh wait, baseball and the player’s union don’t want to play double-headers. And I thought it was so supposed to be about the fans. My mistake.
There was a time when actually relished a rain-out so we, the fans, could spend the entire day at the ballpark and have not a worry in the world. But then, that was before the MLB Player’s Association became the strongest union in the United States and the baseball commissioners tailored to the fans. Yep, those days are gone.
Look, the bottom line for me is this, if I want to go to a game when the temperature is 100 degrees and sweat my rear off in centerfield, that’s my choice. If I want to endure the North wind barreling through the stadium in April, to the point I’m stuck to my seat, again, that’s my choice.
So, do the Rangers and residents of Arlington really need to build this monstrosity? My vote is no!
Will it be nice when it’s finished in 2021? Damn well better be.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
It took a day or two to get over Wilson's crushing blow, Sunday. And DeShields added insult to injury. I must say, the Tigers are in one of those slumps that drives manager's wild. You're in the game and everything is looking good and then BAM, it falls apart so fast you don't know what to do. Verlander had a great outing till he got in a little trouble. Lowe took the mound and Comerica went silent three batters later. A 2-0 lead vanished! It was extremely disheartening to say the least. When Wilson made contact with that pitch, the question wasn’t would it make it out, the questions was, how far before it came down to Earth. That aside, I did feel a little better when the Rangers wound up on the other end of a grand slam Monday night. Not much, but a little. What does Detroit need to do? Nothing dramatic. This is the beauty of baseball. Remember where the Rangers were this time last year? Dead last and written off. I'm hoping the Tigers are in the same boat.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
What can I say. This was a brutal loss. The Ranger's' bats have come alive. Even though Detroit showed a bit more excitement at the plate, Pelfry and the next five relievers came up extremely short. Five homers and ten runs. Not a good showing. What concerns me the most is how the Tiger batter's are reacting when they hit into an out of strike-out. The look of dejection and frustration is painted on each one of them. And when a play doesn't go there way then they decide to get fired up. EX: for those who didn't see it, J.D. Martinez bunted a ball that appeared to be foul in his eyes. Replay showed it stayed fair. Saltalamacchia picked the ball off the chalk, fired to 2nd for one then Odor calmly threw the ball to 1st for the double play. Where was J.D. Still standing at the plate complaining. Even Ausmus came out to plead the case, to no avail. If the Tigers want to get back to winning, someone in the clubhouse needs to hold a players only meeting and get these guys back on track.
Being a big Tigers/Rangers fan, I find myself between a rock and a hard place when they square off. Last night was no exception. Both teams have been on a slide. Both teams stack up evenly on paper and both have the capability to be contenders. Last night was an example of two pitchers dueling it out. Zimmerman looked good even though he gave up a few runs. Hamels. Well, Cole was definitely on his game. What I found aggravating was the stand in for Tom Grieves on Fox Sports SW1. What I can't handle is when an announcer believes they need to fabricate a story when there isn't one. Randall said something along the lines of "Hitters only hit pitcher's mistakes." Busby came right back, "That's not true. I know, because I use to pitch." That shut-up his co-host for a few minutes. Too bad it didn't last longer. Announcers need to get out of the way and let the game speak for itself! TV isn't radio. WE, the fans, can see what the hell is going on. WE don't need everything explained. What is most aggravating is this, I'm sure the Detroit media is bashing the Tigers over their lack luster offensive production. They should be commenting on how dominating Hamels was last night. He was lights out. Despite the home team going down, 5-0. I'm looking forward to the next two games. With luck, the Tigers can win this serious.