Have I ever mentioned that I am a HUGE baseball buff? Which is kind of funny because I don't follow the game much, except for in the post-season, and really only if my Red Sox are playing.
But I've always been swept up in the history and romance of the game.
My mom's beau Jim is from a long line of baseball players. His father, Jimmy Cooney, actually played for the Boston Red Sox alongside Babe Ruth before going on to play for the Chicago Cubs and later, the St. Louis Cardinals. Jim loves to tell the story of how his dad made an unassisted triple play in 1927 ... the first time in more than two years of baseball ... and then, the very next day, Johnny Neun of Detroit made an unassisted triple play - after hearing how Cooney did it, the day prior. Even better than hearing Jim tell the story, is watching his face light up with excitement as he relives the memory.
Jim's uncles were also professional baseball players. As was his grandfather, who was memorialized in the 1888 poem "Casey At Bat." I don't think there is a single person who walks this earth that enjoys watching and talking about baseball more than my mother's 85-year old fiancé.
Have I ever mentioned that Charlie is from Canada?
I write so much on this blog, sometimes I can't recall exactly what I've disclosed.
When we met in Northern California and started dating in 1991, Charlie mentioned that his uncle was affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Which I thought was interesting, seeing as I'm a baseball buff.
When the Blue Jays were playing in the play-offs in 1992, Charlie's uncle invited us to Oakland - a mere two hour drive south of school - to watch one of the games with him. But, well, we had midterms and jobs and we were busy, busy, busy.
Because when the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series in 1992 and Charlie's uncle received the World Series trophy on National Television, I almost dropped dead on the spot.
Because the one thing that Charlie failed to mention was that his uncle wasn't just *affiliated* with the Toronto Blue Jays, his uncle was the Chairman of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the CEO of Labatts Beer, which happened to own the Blue Jays and if I understand the story correctly, it was his brainchild that the Canadian beer company BUY a baseball team.
So once Charlie pointed out "Hey, there's my uncle Pete..." and I asked "Who, where? The guy handing out Gatorade?" and Charlie said "No, the guy accepting the trophy." I fell clean off the couch and wished with all my might that I could have gone back in time and attended a play-off game with him.
It was only after the Blue Jays won the World Series that Charlie started to tell me stories about how his Aunt Betty (Charlie's father's sister) and Uncle Pete once sent the corporate plane down to pick him up and fly him up to Canada. And the whole time he was on this private aircraft, all he could think was how awesome it was that he could drink as many Coca-Cola's as he wanted. Because he was 12. And what 12-year old doesn't go on to a private jet and think "WOW!! Would you look at all the FREE soda!!"?
The Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. Then, all of baseball went on strike in 1994 - which happened to be the year that we were married.
I'll never forget our wedding day.
It was absolutely perfect.
Almost all of our friends and family were in attendance and the weather couldn't have been more spectacular. It was the first time that I had met Charlie's Aunt and Uncle (and his beautiful Canadian-based cousins) and word spread like WILD FIRE through my Boston Red Sox-loving family that a bona-fide baseball executive was in our midst.
He sported a white suit and his most recent World Series ring, which was visible from across the room. Everyone was interested to meet him. And when I finally had the opportunity to be introduced, I reached out my hand and said "Hi Uncle Pete, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. But if I may say, we're not off to a very good start. You see, only the BRIDE should wear white and all of these people that are here should be more interested in seeing MY ring than yours."
Then I asked him to take off his ring and give it to me.
Which he did.
For 20 seconds.
In 1998, when the San Diego Padres won the National League Pennant and were headed off to the World Series, Charlie placed a call to his Uncle and scored us the most amazing seats for all of the games that were played in San Diego.
I have several memories about Aunt Betty and Uncle Pete that were usually created during the various trips when they were in town for business. We would typically meet them for lunch at the upscale hotel where they would be staying and then, meet them again for dinner - after they retired for a two or three hour nap. On one particular day, we met them for brunch at 10:00 AM, split at 2:00 PM so that they could take a rest and then reconvened for dinner that started at 5:00 PM and didn't end until past midnight.
In February of 2005, Uncle Pete went skiing in Aspen, Colorado with two of his friends while Aunt Betty was home in Canada. After spending a morning on the slopes, he and his friends went to a comedy club. While they went back to their hotel room, Uncle Pete grabbed a taxi and was heading out to another comedy club. According to the taxi driver, he was chatting it up one minute, and the next minute, he was gone.
Uncle Pete died instantly of a heart attack at 75 years old.
When I first heard the news that he had passed away, I was terribly sad for the loss of such a wonderful man. But then, I couldn't help but think, "Damn, that is TOTALLY the way I want to check out of this life. A full morning spent skiing at one of the most beautiful places on earth - a nice lunch at a comedy club and then ... adios!"
Now here's a question.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
I do. I totally, totally do.
One day last week when I was hanging on to my sanity by a very thin thread, I was suddenly motivated at 11:05 in the morning, to get the children dressed and strapped in to the car and then I robotically drove to the YMCA - all the while wondering WHY am I doing this, since there are no new classes starting for at least three weeks - and this will just be a waste of time and energy.
But instead, when I arrived at the Y, miraculously (or coincidentally - I think not) there was a n hour long gymnastics class that was starting at that VERY MOMENT and there were only THREE spaces available. And best yet, it was a class that required ZERO parent participation. So while I could sit in the lobby and flip Goldfish crackers to Henry, the triplets would be run all over the gymnasium by an 18-year old energetic instructor.
What are the chances of that happening??
I am not kidding at all when I say that I dropped to my knees in thankfulness, right there in the lobby of the YMCA. Thank you, God.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
I also believe that three weeks ago when for no particular reason I decided to put the Breast Cancer website link on my blog, I was moved by the Holy Spirit. To me, it is nothing short of a divine miracle that my sister, whom I have been estranged from for more than five years, was diagnosed with breast cancer the same day that I added that link.
And tonight, after one glass of wine, Charlie and I have almost definitely decided that in less than three days time, we are going to pack up our four children and drive from San Diego California to Toronto, Canada ... a mere distance of 2,486 miles ... so that we can participate in Uncle Pete's posthumous induction in to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame next weekend.
I don't know if we'll still think driving 6,000 miles with four children will be a good idea in the morning, but right now, the motivation behind doing this trip is powerful.
It is clear to me that the Holy Spirit is once again at work.
Or else, we are total light weights with an out-of-control spontaneous streak.