Patriotism, Politics, and Playing Ball Revisited, One More Time

Update: 2020. This is something I wrote in 2005. During the opening ceremonies at the World Series Game 2 in San Francisco in 2003, a giant American flag filled the field, held high by representatives of our armed services. A Marine who had lost both legs and an arm tossed out the first pitch. The looks on the faces of the athletes was hard to misinterpret. They may have spent time on the DL, but looking at this young man standing tall in his uniform put everything in a very different light. So, here are  my reflections on patriotism, politics, and playing baseball from several years ago. Beer costs way more today, but there won’t be anyone at the ballpark to buy it, so there’s that. This year there are still soldiers fighting and dying far away, but now we are also focused on the violence right here at home, and the toll the pandemic is taking. We may not be attending games and watching who will take a knee and who will offer support and who will choose to do nothing for a year or more. Does it makes sense to mix patriotism, politics and sports today…or ever?


For the last two years, I have donned orange and black and headed to the ballpark to see the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day. Thousands of others skipped work and school to sit in the sunshine and root for the home team. Before the mayor tossed out the first pitch, all eyes were on the field as the Coast Guard unfurled an enormous representation of the stars and stripes in straightaway center. Men  and women in uniform lined up along the fences. Four Navy jets buzzed low over the stadium.

With the nation still at war, the pre-game fireworks display and the jets screaming overhead reminded me of what I came to the ballpark to forget for a little while. We have all seen the rockets’ red glare, along with bombs bursting in air, for much too long. But how could I allow myself to forget , even for a few hours, that soldiers were fighting and dying far away–young men and women also wearing uniforms that look nothing like the ones on the players I came to watch on a sunny April afternoon.

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I Want a New Drug

I did write this, but I don’t remember why exactly. For a class I was taking? It was pre-legalization and pre-dispensaries, so there’s that. Anyway. Oh, the places you’ll go when you clean out your file drawers.     Alpha-Hendrixanol™ (as advertised in AARP Magazine) Developed by the Pheelgood School of Herbal Energetics Wouldn’t youContinue Reading

The Book of Leaves

April 6th, 2020 Closets and drawers have been weeded through and organized. Small repairs have been made here and there as we continue to shelter in place. After years of dreading the task,it was finally time to get out the big box of photos that had been languishing unsorted for decades, probably. On a dayContinue Reading

Books and More Books

  On a whim, I recently combed through my bookshelves and gathered together all the print books, anthologies and journals I have contributed to in some way: either as writer/ editor, beta reader, Kickstarter donor or friend. Some authors kindly added my name to the acknowledgements, which came as a pleasant surprise. The book IContinue Reading

It’s that time of year again.

Nu? So It’s Christmas

September 24, 1919

On this day, the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, here are the thoughts I jotted down to read at his memorial service in 2001. My dad was a teacher, and like many outstanding teachers, he never took time off from teaching. Sure, there were vacations and summers, but he was always on the job.Continue Reading

Bandon, Oregon

 I read this piece at the Octopus Literary Salon at an event that paired published authors with emerging writers. I wrote it in response to my partner’s piece, which touched on smoking, the wind, being young and making mistakes. I didn’t know right away how to respond, so I looked out the window and listened.Continue Reading

On the occasion of my sister’s birthday

It’s April 9th, my sister’s birthday. In what has become an annual tradition–for now anyway–I’m re-posting this edited version. Five years ago, in 2014, I was out of town at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and missed being here for her birthday. So I put together something special to make up for being away, becauseContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Playlist for March 22: A hip medley

If they allowed me a playlist for tomorrow, it would have to include these three tunes. Thanks for all the good wishes from near and far.  

The Writing Year in Review: 2018

I did this last year and it helped me see that I had been slightly more productive than I thought. Let’s see what happened this past year in my writing life… A look  back at what I wrote in 2018: A number of pieces for Retrospect, which are listed on my Articles and Interviews pageContinue Reading