Archive for July, 2012

“It’s a beautiful day for a ball game.”

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

This was the theme song played before Chicago Cubs baseball games years ago.  Of course, Ernie Banks added, “It’s a beautiful day for a ball game.  Let’s play two.”

Indeed last Thursday was a beautiful day for a ball game.  The temperature was in the low 80′s.  The wind was minimal, and our seats were in the shade.

My grandchildren who live 3 hours away and their daddy and I were all set for baseball.  My grandson was wearing the Cub shirt his daddy bought him last year at the ball park.  He added a Cub hat for a perfect outfit.  My granddaughter wanted a Cub shirt and had declared that Alfonso Soriano was her favorite Cub.  We looked and looked – vendor to vendor – shop to shop – and no one had a Sori shirt in youth sizes.  We decided to look after the game.

As we emerged from the tunnel to go to our seats, a roar went up from the crowd.  I asked the children if that cheer was for us, but no.  It was for the Cubs who were taking the field.

On the drive to Chicago my granddaughter had asked about keeping score at a game.  Her daddy explained the numbering system to her.

If keeping score in a baseball game is a mystery to you, here is a short lesson from Major League Baseball.

In new ball parks like Busch the scoring is flashed on the score board after a play.  Wrigley has a classic scoreboard with scores being hand turned by fellows inside the scoreboard.  No fancy scoring assistance there – except for the H or E to indicate hit or error.

Daddy told my granddaughter that Grandma was the score keeper in the family.  Yes, I have kept score at many a game.  I love to buy the “official” score card that comes with a Cub pencil.

During the first two innings my granddaughter ate her chicken fingers, and I served as scribe writing down the 1-3 or the 6-4-3 or the K’s as she directed.  She was doing a super job figuring out the numbers for the positions.  I was impressed.

In the 3rd inning she took the pencil and off she went scoring the remainder of the game.  She even knew which direction the K should go depending if the strikeout was swinging or called.  Her younger brother really enjoyed knowing  about the K and backward K and would monitor the card to see if she had scored the play properly.

In the 5th inning her favorite player came to bat – Alfonso Soriano.  I suggested that maybe Sori would hit a homer for her.  And he did.  Much screaming and jumping and high fives to everyone.

The game had many great plays – Starlin Castro’s scooping up the ball, spinning and throwing  bullets to first  (yes, that is 6-3) and  Reed  Johnson’s diving catch in rightfield (a 9 on the scorecard).  There was also a fiasco when Reed Johnson was caught between home plate and 3rd base.  The run down required numerous throws to several players.  When he was finally tagged out, my granddaughter looked at me with a quizzical  expression.  ”Grandma, what do I write?”  There was no way I could keep track of the 2-5 and I think 1 and maybe even 6 got involved so I smiled and said, “Let’s just call it 2-5.”

We all stood for the 7th inning stretch to sing “Take me out  to the ballgame.”  More singing when the Marlins changed pitchers – “YMCA.”  And the best song after the final out – “Go, Cubs, go,” as the W flag was run up the flag pole.

The game was only 2 hours and 18 minutes long – a short game just right for short people.

After the game we resumed the search for the elusive Soriano tee shirt.  None to be found.  My granddaughter said, “Your favorite player is Castro, right, Grandma?”  I nodded yes so she took a Castro tee shirt off the rack and up to the counter.

Hm, I might just have to buy myself a Castro tee shirt, too.

It had been a really beautiful day.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope you stop by next week.  The 4th Wednesday is recipe day and I’ll share my recipe for Cuban bread.  I have been making it for my family for 30 years or so.


Do you have a pen pal?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I do.  I have three pen pals.

This is the age of email.  Far fewer people use “snail mail” to send greetings and news to friends.  However, I think we all agree that it is a pleasant surprise when we go to the mailbox and find an envelope (other than one of those window ones) bringing us news and greetings from friends.

I belong to an organization in town for senior citizens – RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program).  One of the activities of the group is to be pen pals to elementary school students in the 4th grade.  Some local schools participate, and some small towns nearby also participate.

In this program we senior volunteers are assigned one or two students in September.  The letter exchange begins with the students sending introductory letters to us.  We then respond telling the students about ourselves and asking them questions about their favorite things.

Each month the students write us and we write to them.  Rules of the program preclude our sending gifts to the students.  We do sometimes exchange photos.  It is fun to get their news about what is happening in school and what they want for Christmas.  One year I had a pen pal who would often start his letter with “I am grounded again.”

Near the end of the school year in May we have a get-together in their classroom so that we have a chance to meet and see each other in person.  We usually play games and have ice cream treats as part of our end of the year party.

This year at the end of the year party my pen pal asked if I would continue to be her pen pal this summer so we have been writing each other about our summer adventures.

Another pen pal is a kindergarten-age grandson.  The little fellow loves to get mail and postcards in the mail box.  He was talking to his daddy about the lack of mail for him as of late and decided that to get mail, you must send mail.  With the help of a parent he wrote me a letter about what a movie he had seen.  I was alerted that a letter was coming.

The afternoon it arrived I wrote a response and took it to the post office to mail.  Since that initial letter we have exchanged several letters.  My grandson is now “on his own” to compose the letters at home.  The phonetic spelling of some words brings a smile to my lips.  He always includes a joke.  It is usually a “why did the ____ cross the road” type of joke.  These are original jokes that he comes up with.

These letters are treasures that I keep and will tuck away to present to him years down the road.

Last year I saw an article in a magazine about the Senior Angel program.  It is a program that matches interested folks with elderly folks who perhaps are home bound or have limited interaction with others.  In this program participants become “angels” and write chatty letters and send occasional small gifts to their senior.  This program is a branch of the Chemo Angel program.

Angels receive information about their senior – a brief introduction to the person and information about special interests, hobbies, colors, TV programs, candy etc.  The senior does not write back; however, each month a family member of the senior sends a report to the Senior Angel program so Angels can check in on his/her senior.

When I write my senior, I might tell her about my garden, visits with grandchildren, cookies I have baked, or the latest happening of my squirrels outside.  Since we live in vastly different areas of the US, I also talk about the local weather and I check to see what it is like in her neighborhood.  I send a little box of her favorite things at holidays and on her birthday.  My goal is to add a little sparkle to her day.

Since I write to my pen pals frequently, I like to have an assortment of note cards.  I use note cards rather than sheet stationery since the small format offers me a chance to write a short bit of news.  On each trip to Michaels and Target I check out the $1.00 bins and buy new and fun cards to have on hand.

Hm, I think I just heard the mailman on the porch.  I’m going to check to see if I received a letter today from one of my pen pals.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  It’s summer and vacation time.  I’m taking next week off for relaxation including a trip to Chicago to see my Chicago Cubs.  A visit to Wrigley Field is always special to me.  I’ll be back in two weeks with a recipe for Cuban bread.  Enjoy the good old summertime.