Don’t Forget Your Shoes

So, once again I have to admit that it’s been a while since I have posted anything. I’m tired of making excuses so from now on two words will apply at all times. Blame Mike.

We all have moments in our lives when something that we never understood  suddenly makes sense. Or some conflict that we always struggled with suddenly gets resolved. Mike likes to tell the story about the time that he went to visit his parents and grandfather in Minneapolis. At that time Mike was still living in Wisconsin, so this had to have happened at least 35 years ago. Mike’s parents and grandfather shared a condo in St. Louis Park. Whenever Mike went to visit he would sleep on the living room floor. Over a period of several years he says that the floor got harder and harder every year. He scheduled one of these visits to coincide with a seminar in downtown Minneapolis on nicotine addiction. He was hoping to learn something useful for his family medicine practice, and also get some continuing medical education. Mike’s parent’s condo was three blocks away from a city bus stop. He determined that if he caught a bus there at 6:25 in the morning it would get him to downtown Minneapolis in time for the conference, and he planned accordingly. He arrived the previous day and they all had a nice visit. When it came time for bed Mike’s mother wanted to know how he was going to get up on time in the morning. He told her not to worry, he would get up. This didn’t seem to satisfy her. As time went on Mike became more annoyed that she was making it her concern whether and how he was going to get up on time to catch the bus for the conference. In the night he heard a loud ticking and get up to discover that she had to set an alarm clock and left it near his spot on the floor. It was set to go off at 4 AM. He put a pillow over it and set it off and let the ringer go down. He then hid the clock where his mother wouldn’t easily be able to find it to reset it. About 5 o’clock his mother came into the living room and asked him if he was going to get up. He told her he would get up around 5:30 which was when he would need to get up in order to leave on time to catch the bus. He did get up around 5:30 and after bathing he got dressed and was getting ready to go at about 6:00. (I’ll mention as an aside that Mike’s mother had a rule about using the shower which is how Mike normally bathed. She did not allow use of the shower in the condo theorizing that it would peel the wallpaper. Come to think of it, she had at some other peculiarities about the place. For one thing, in the 20+ years that she lived there she never once used the dishwasher. Indeed, she seemed to be afraid of it, and the same can be said for the garbage disposal. Nor was anyone else allowed to use these modern conveniences.) Anyway, as Mike was getting ready to go he went into his parent’s room and told his mother he was leaving.  She got up and as he was putting his coat on at the front closet she looked down at his feet and said “Oh good, you’ve got your shoes on.” Suddenly, everything came into focus for Mike, and instead of being irritated he could barely stop laughing all day. It wasn’t that his mother singled him out thinking that he was an incompetent idiot. She approached the whole world that way. Mike’s mother was a kindergarten teacher and she viewed the entire  world as a kindergarten class that she needed to be in control of. There was nothing malicious about it or anything to take personally. It’s just the way she was. She just couldn’t stop being the mother to a 5-year-old. In the years since that event Mike has told the story a great many times to people who are struggling with parents who can’t let go and let them be adults. Mike tells them that as long as they remember to put their shoes on before they leave the house they are probably in pretty good shape. Interestingly, in recent years Mike has noted many people leaving their house in their pajamas and flip-flops. To some extent this is cultural and generational but I think there’s a degree of failed maturation. I mean, really!

So, there was a note in the paper a couple of weeks ago about the passing of Ransom “Randy” Jackson, Jr. He was the Chicago Cubs third baseman at the time that Mike became a Cubs fan (1951). Mike was a Cubs fan because his brother, Bob, was a White Sox fan, and also because the kid who lived down the street, Zane C., was a Cubs fan. The Cub announcers used to call him Handsome Ransom Jackson. He was a good player who made it to the All-Star team 3 times. Some of the other players Mike remembers from that era were Frankie Baumholtz, Hank Sauer, and Wayne Terwilliger. The Cubs broadcasters then were Jack Brickhouse and Bert Wilson. Brickhouse was with the team from 1944-1981. The only year he missed was 1945, which happened to be the only year  that the Cubs won the pennant during that entire span. Brickhouse was in the Marines fighting for our country that year. One distinction he did have was he got  to do the 1954 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and New York Giants. His was the voice you have heard calling “The Catch”, when Willie Mays robbed Vic Wertz with the most astounding catch anyone had ever seen in game 1 of the series. Randy Jackson finished his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but was traded to them when they were still the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the 9th inning one day in Brooklyn, he, Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges made baseball history by ending a game with 3 consecutive home runs. That had never happened before and it hasn’t happened again. Jackson also had the distinction of being the last person to hit a home run as a Brooklyn Dodger. After retiring from baseball he moved his family to Athens, Georgia where he was in the insurance business. He lived to age 93.. R.I.P., Handsome Ramson.

The pollen here recently has been a major irritant. Pine pollen is yellow, and covers everything. A black cat who might decide to lie in the grass and roll around some is likely to take on an iridescent green sheen and look like a ghost cat. Everyone’s eyes are irritated, and the people are sneezing and coughing like there is no tomorrow. Mike says when he moved to Georgia it was in July, so the tree season had passed.He did not believe it when people told him the yellow pollen covers everything, and that sometimes you can see clouds of pollen blowing around.God could have used a pillar of pollen to lead the children of Israel across the desert, or so Judy says.

Tomorrow Mike is scheduled to have an ultrasound-guided, trans-bronchial, mediastinal lymph node biopsy. Let’s hope all goes well.

If anything else of interest happens in Happy Meadows I will be sure to let you know.  Bye, y’all.


Author: Black Magic

Black Magic is a handsome, charming, and self-absorbed cat who lives with Mike and Judy Gordon in Marietta, Georgia. He is about 7 years old, and he will remind you at every opportunity that his grandfather was Black Jack, that famous cat who wrote his own autobiography. Black Magic has a great many opinions, and despite his natural feline arrogance, he seems to be genuinely spiritual. But the reader can decide for him/herself.

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