Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

18 May, 2014

DREAMS ABOUT BASEBALL NOT NECESSARILY A HIT WITH ME

I read the other day that to dream you are playing baseball denotes your need to establish goals and to achieve them, and that it is time to stop goofing around and to set your sights for the long term. I was further amused to learn that, according to one dream expert, the game of baseball also has sexual innuendos, where the masculine aspects are depicted by the bat and the feminine aspects depicted in the form of the ball or the ballpark.

I found it equally revealing that to dream you are on a baseball field indicates that you need to pay attention to opportunities that are coming your way.

Now, I ask you, at 76 years of age, what "opportunities" could possibly be coming my way? As for the sexual innuendos...All I can think of are words from the unforgettable Meat Loaf song "Paradise by the Dashboard's Light" from the 1977 album "Bat Out of Hell."   It is a duet between Meat Loaf (his real name was Marvin Lee Aday) and singer Ellen Foley that chronicles a young couple as they debate whether or not to “go all the way tonight”.
Meat Loaf performing with Ellen Foley.

The raucous, fever-pitched song is also notable for an extended sequence in which then-New York Yankees play-by-play announcer Phil Rizzuto ostensibly narrates a baseball game. This play-by-play over a car radio serves as a metaphor for the young lovers going “around the bases”. Here is Rizzuto's description of the play on the field.

"Ok, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker
going here, two down, nobody on, no score,
bottom of the ninth, there's the wind-up and
there it is, a line shot up the middle, look
at him go. This boy can really fly!
He's rounding first and really turning it on
now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna
try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center,
and here comes the throw, and what a throw!
He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out!
No, wait, safe--safe at second base, this kid really
makes things happen out there.
Batter steps up to the plate, here's the pitch--
he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying
for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt--
safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost
daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
glances over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted
down the third base line, the suicide squeeze is on!
Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close,
here's the throw, there's the play at the plate,
holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!"

As the play-by-play concludes, Ellen asks Meat Loaf:  "Do you love me, really really love me?  I got to know right now before we go any further, do you love me, will you love me forever? Will you make me your wife?  What's it gonna be boy?..."  And Meat, now in a complete frenzy, replies "Let me sleep on it Babe. Babe I'll give you an answer in the morning."

Apart from reading between the lines, the rest is left up to the imagination of the listener. Any way you look at it though, it is a pretty sexy song that involves the game of baseball and I've always loved it.

Now, "why in the world would an article on baseball dreams catch your interest in the first place," you might well ask?

Well you see, I have several recurring dreams about playing baseball. That in itself is not too surprising because I spent the first third of my life deeply involved in the game of baseball both as a player at an advanced level and later as a manager and coach. Without exaggeration, the game was my life. I just cannot fathom why I dream about it all these years later, however.

In the dreams that  have been repeated literally hundreds of times over the past 40 years, I am an aging over-the-hill wannabe on a baseball field. In one dream scenario I find myself in the outfield when the ball is hit in my direction. It is a fly ball that I would have normally caught with ease, but in this instance my legs weigh a hundred pounds each and I am running in slow motion -- very slow motion.  When I finally do catch up to the ball that has come to rest on the grass, I cannot throw it back to the infield because my arm is stiff beyond belief and I cannot lift it beyond my shoulder...I end up tossing it awkwardly underhand to the nearest player.

In the other dream, I struggle frantically to put on my uniform before a baseball game but, once again, each piece goes on in slow motion. Try as I may, I just cannot hurry.  I'm still not completely dressed as the game begins and it seems like I am never going to make it onto the playing field.  As the game progresses, my baseball glove suddenly disappears and then I get lost trying to make my way out of the dressing room.  I never quite make it and enviously watch the final inning from the stands, feeling very removed from the game in which I was once so actively involved.

So what are these dreams trying to tell me?  No question that I am too old to engage in the game of baseball...That I can no longer make plays on the diamond...That I would have trouble getting to first base even if I did hit the ball.  I came to grips with the reality of being an over-the-hill athlete many years ago. If I were to have a goal now or a "dream", it would be to hit a home run and to dash around the bases one more time. Now, that would be real gratification.

But what about the sexual innuendos and the "opportunities"  I should be looking for?  Surely none of this applies to my current advanced stage of life, as one dream expert would have me believe.

Or does it?  Know what?...I'm not really sure. Now you've got me thinking!

Is there a parallel between baseball and sex in one's life?  Is one synonymous with the other?  Or can you have one without the other?  I'm not even going to explore that possibility in this post.  The truth would be just too painful.  Some things have to remain sacred in a man's life.

Like Meat Loaf, I'm going to sleep on it...!

10 May, 2014

ON THE EVE OF MOTHER'S DAY...I REMEMBER GRACE

Mother's Day pictures worth a thousand words:  "Happy as usual to have picture taken!  May 1942."  Written by my mother on the back of the photo to the left.
It was traditional for my mother and I to have a photo taken together on Mother's Day.  For reasons that I cannot really remember, I was never happy about it.  Looking back on those photos, I do not think that she was overly thrilled either...Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I had to be forced to pose with my mother and we ended up having an argument about it before my dad was able to snap the picture.

It was like that with Grace Wright and her only child.  We rarely saw eye to eye.  Things did not improve much between the two of us after my father passed away when I was 14 years of age.  I left home for good before my 18th birthday, but in my mother's eyes I remained tied to her apron strings.

My mother (I always called her Grace, which may tell you something) loved me beyond words...There were just times when she had a strange way of showing it.  I never quite met up to her expectations and she did not hesitate to remind me of that fact. "Other sons do not treat their mothers the way you do me...Jim Ruttle and Danny Burns do not act that way towards their mother...You are an ungrateful son...Why can't you be like other sons?  What did I do to ever deserve a son like you?...Some day you will be sorry...You are driving me to distraction...Some day you'll find my body floating up the Sydenham River (suicide) and it will be all your fault."  Always about her! Words that remain ingrained in my heart and soul.

Equally strong in my memory are the razor straps, brooms, yard sticks and fly swatters all amply applied without aim to any part of my body that happened to be exposed.  Funny, I do not recall her ever using her bare hand.  I no doubt did things to prompt those reactions, but I do not remember what.  I am sure that there were times when I disappointed her and did not quite measure up.  I was just a boy naturally growing up to be a man the only way I knew how and it was not always the way that met with my mother's approval or her preconceived notion of how things should be.

In later years, when I would visit her, it always seemed that we would have a major disagreement just as I was leaving.  To this day I can hear her sobbing and crying hysterically in the house as I pulled out of the driveway.  I always struggled with the urge to go back (a bear for punishment), but I resisted the impulse because I knew it was her way of victimizing me.  In the end she would win, however, because I always felt guilty about it for days. "Next time things will be better," I always thought -- but they never were.  "Next time I'm going to hug her right off the bat, and give her the recognition she craves," I promised myself -- but I never could.

On several occasions I confided in my mother, telling her that I was having difficulty dealing with some aspects of my boyhood and my relationship with her. On both occasions her reply was the same: "I don't understand it...You came from a very loving family."  My mother would never take ownership, or say I'm sorry.-- for anything.  She was just too strong-willed for that.

In my experience Grace had a split personality.  She was kind, loving, fun, life-of-the party, Christian on one hand and aggressive, hurtful, emotional, self-possessed, off the deep end, and melodramatic on the other. As I grew older I came to understand that we were very much alike in many respects and that may have been at the root of many of our problems.  Time and again, when I react to situations in certain ways, I cannot help but feel that it is my mother coming out in me.  In later life I sought medical help for my bipolar-like symptoms.  Sadly, that kind of assistance was not available in my mother's day, although I do not think that she would have ever submitted to treatment.  She was just too proud.  It was the world that was wrong, not her.

I apologize to my readers for not being more sentimental on this the 76th Mother's Day of my life.  But it is what it is...I do not celebrate two dates on the calendar -- New Year's  Day and Mother's Day, both of which are rather sad occasions for me, filled with regrets for life left behind and laments over the fact that I cannot do a damn thing to change any of it.

Grace Wright would be very disappointed in her son for having written this.  She would deny it!

What would make this any different?