We left our hotel in Utica early Tuesday, Day 12 morning (creating the reason for delayed blog posts) and headed south towards Cooperstown NY, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was about an hour’s drive through misty rain which was due to end around noon. Luckily the internet said parking was a short walk through Cooperstown to the Hall of Fame.
The rain was mostly stopped by the time we arrived but Rosie was sulking.
”I will get wet, Dad. I don’t like wet,” she groused.
”It’s ok, Rose. You will dry. Your fur doesn’t hold water long.”
”Hair, not fur, Dad. Do we need to have that discussion again?”
”No, please don’t. Boy, you are sure touchy today, aren’t you?”
”Only because you are criticizing me all morning.”
“Oh look, the Baseball Hall of Fame. Let’s find a place to park and go wait for it to open,” I said, changing the subject and looking to Fran for some help.
”We just passed a parking lot,” Fran said. “Make a U Turn and it will be on the left.”
Sure enough, there was the big “P” for park sign, just a couple of blocks from the Hall. I let Rosie out of the car and held a small umbrella over her, while I walked in the light rain. Fran had purchased online tickets on Monday, Day 11, plus had senior discounts and saved $10 each, plus because we had E-tickets we could enter with the baseball teams prior to the general admission tickets. We snuck Rosie in under my arm. No one paid any attention to her. Luckily, she was still in a snit over being criticized and wasn’t talking, just muttering under her breath.
The Hall of Fame was everything we wanted. Plaques of our hero’s past and present. Wisdom of those who eat, breathe and sleep the game. Those who live for the game of baseball.
Fran’s takeaway phrase from the Hall was, “In a baseball radio broadcast you watch the game with your ears,” and its true. We listened to a broadcast for a few seconds and the announcers description conveyed exactly what was happening on the field and both of us could see it in our minds eye. I didn’t ask Rose.
My takeaway phrase, as best as I can remember it was, “Baseball is easy, if you are a ball player.” I believe it was Ted Williams who said that. Feel free to correct me. You can succeed at whatever you do. Choose whatever you wish to do and commit to it. Totally. You can do it.
Any talk of baseball greats would be incomplete without a tip of the hat to one of our forever-favorites, Jose Fernandez, Miami pitcher who tragically died in a boating accident. We have never witnessed a ball player who enjoyed the game to the fullest and committed himself so totally to excellence. Its a shame his life and career was cut so short. Fran and I still mourn his loss.
We spent several hours viewing the 3 floors of displays and taking pictures before we left for lunch at the Cooperstown Cafe. (Try their 1/4 lb kosher hotdog. Outstanding! I also had a Yankee Ale. Meh.)
We left Cooperstown in another rainstorm, travelled some back roads heading toward Albany. One of my favorite people in the world, one of my childhood heroes lives in a senior residence in Bennington VT and I had been unsuccessfully calling her every hour all day to see if we could stop and see her. She never answered. I had her address so decided to drive over. It was only 2 hours and 107 miles. Maybe we could just drop in on her.
I remember almost 50 years ago she came to visit our family at our cottage on Lake Dunmore. She drove up in her new Saab (I subsequently had 6 Saabs over the years) listening to a Laura Nyro cassette. (You remember cassettes? You remember Laura Nyro?)
On our way, we drove through a single lane covered bridge. There aren’t many of them left around. I had to stop and take a picture.
We followed “the bitch” through backstreets and interstates and when we were almost convinced she was lost, we found the residence where Aunt Marge currently lives. I walked into the reception desk and asked if she was around and the woman said, “Yes, she is right over there, and pointed to the lobby area.
I walked over to her and after her initial shock she smiled wide and was so pleased. She couldn’t believe we just dropped in on her. I told her she doesn’t answer her phone very often and she said, “I don’t spend much time I my room. I like to walk and come visit in the lobby. Just keep trying and eventually I will answer it.”
“That didn’t work so we decided to just come see if we could find you. And we did!”
Aunt Marge is one of the most independent, intelligent, strong people I have ever known. We talked about the past, her present. She asked about Grace, my writing and Rosie. We laughed about all the things our family has done and all the fun we had.
She told me she is now the oldest of her siblings. She was the third to the youngest of 8, six girls and two boys. My mom was the oldest.
I asked her how old she was and asked, “93?”
She said, “No, I am 96.”
I told her she didn’t look a day over 93 and she laughed thinking that was so funny. Aunt Marge is still so sharp and witty. She makes up jokes filled with irony and puns. She is amazing and still one of my heros.
Lanie sent me some scanned pictures of all our aunts. While perhaps not totally politically correct I am proud to say these women are strong, intelligent and beautiful.
Too soon we had to leave. We still had a few hours to drive today. We would be at the same cottage on Lake Dunmore tonight. The same cottage Aunt Marge drove her Saab with the Laura Nyro cassette tape to visit us so long ago.
Before we left Aunt Marge said, “You have made my month.”
She doesn’t know the influence she had on my life.