Monthly Archives: May 2012

Remember – Memorial Day

This weekend is the unofficial American kick-off to summer. With the weather we are getting here in the Northeast, it feels like summer already. It’s Memorial Day Weekend. So, without further adieu, I will get to the point. As we get together with friends and family this weekend and enjoy the extra day off from work, please take a moment (or several) to remember why this weekend is so special. This holiday is defined by many as, “a day, the last Monday in May, on which those who died in active military service are remembered.” Imagine, or better yet, try not to imagine what this weekend, or what any day might look like, were it not for the amazing men and women who gave their lives for the greatest country on the planet. They are among the biggest reasons why the USA is the land of opportunity. This weekend, so many of us kick back, relax and enjoy the many freedoms we take for granted in the first ten minutes of most days. I don’t want to forget those who have, do, and will give their lives for the country I am so proud to be from. I remember. Please remember. This weekend and every weekend could be so much different, so foreign, were it not for these folks who paid the ultimate price. This weekend is a Memorial to the thousands who paved the way for the lives we lead now. Remember them.

I wrote about this subject last Veteran’s Day and I have posted the poem (below) that woke me one night last fall and had to be written down.

Remember

Remember more often, remember with others aloud
Remember more than today, remember they should feel proud
 
Remember to thank them, remember that is for always
Remember to be respectful, remember not just holidays
 
Remember we have no idea, remember they have been there
Remember our freedoms; remember they walked where most don’t dare
 
Remember that there are triggers, remember they relive then
Remember we have a place, remember we can love, we’ve never been
 
Remember, heroes to remember; remember time spent is a prize
Remember we can help them; remember to look into their eyes
 
Remember they didn’t always know why, remember they went on call
Remember some disagreed; remember them, not one, but all
 
Remember how we live today; remember it could have been a different way
Remember our men and women, remember them, embrace them today
 
Remember that memories don’t end; remember we must pass this on
Remember those serving today; remember all, not just those who are gone
 
Remember every day, remember, certainly, on this Memorial Day
Remember our place in this; we’re thankful supporters in every way

America’s Wars

WORLD WAR I

(1917 – 1918)

Total Service members (Worldwide)………………..4,734,991

Battle Deaths…………………………………………………….53,402

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)……………………63,114

Non-mortal Woundings……………………………………204,002

Living Veterans…………………………………………..0

WORLD WAR II

(1941 – 1945)

Total Service members (Worldwide)………………16,112,566

Battle Deaths…………………………………………………..291,557

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)…………………..113,842

Non-mortal Woundings…………………………………….670,846

Living Veterans…………………………………………….2,079,000

KOREAN WAR

(1950 – 1953)

Total Service members (Worldwide)………………..5,720,000

Battle Deaths…………………………………………………….33,739

Other Deaths (in Theater)…………………………..2,835

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)…………………17,672

Non-mortal Woundings…………………………………….103,284

Living Veterans……………………………………………..2,507,000

VIETNAM WAR

(1964 – 1975)

Total Service members (Worldwide)………………..8,744,000

Battle Deaths…………………………………………………….47,434

Other Deaths (in Theater)……………………………………10,786

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)………………32,000

Non-mortal Woundings…………………………………….153,303

Living Veterans…………………………………………….7,569,000

GULF WAR

(1990 – 1991)

Total Service members (Worldwide)………………..2,322,000

Battle Deaths………………………………………………………….148

Other Deaths (in Theater)………………………………………..235

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)……………………..1,565

Non-mortal Woundings…………………………………………..467

Living Veterans…………………………………………..2,246,002

GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR

(2001 – PRESENT)

The Global War on Terror, including Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom are ongoing conflicts. For the most recent statistics, please visit the Department of Defense Website:

http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/ gwot_component.pdf

While I get lost in the numbers from these wars, I try to remember what these numbers represent. I try to think on those times and the feelings that rippled through America at each of these times. This is why history is so important to me, it’s not about just the event, or the headline, but also about the mindset at the time, the circumstances in play while decisions were being made. Hindsight almost always clears the picture, but it also loses the frame the picture was taken in. That’s where people come in. I have said, and will say many more times, its people who make the world go around. This relates to history as well. People lived through these times, through these fears, through these emotions, and they are the resource we can learn the most from. Why did they do as they did? What was the feeling? Ask. Just ask. OR Read. I read a lot of books on baseball history and the icons that make those memories sparkle for so many of us. Some of the more memorable things I have read in numerous books, is the effect of war, and the emotions tied to it, on baseball and our country at that time. People remembering, sharing the experience. So important. Context is huge.

So today, remember those who serve, those who have served, and learn all you can. Be there for those who are still here but lost someone so we could be free. As we get to Tuesday and complain how fast our extra 24 hours off passed by, think about the hours our fallen heroes spent defending our freedoms. Think about how long a single hour may have felt to them and the thousands of questions and thoughts that must have raced through their minds. Think about the fact that so many never were able to experience the next hour, let alone 24 extra hours. Respect them and those they left behind. Remember. In this day where so many feel they’re entitled to something, to anything, it’s our fallen heroes that are entitled. They’re entitled to be remembered, to be respected, to be thanked, and to be honored. That fun weekend you are experiencing now would likely not be possible if the brave hadn’t defended our home. Remember and have a memorable Memorial Day Weekend.

Gallery

Manchester, NH

This gallery contains 26 photos.

These pictures of Manchester, NH were taken while walking the Piscataquog Trail.

Goffstown In Baseball

Goffstown, NH was incorporated in 1761. Goffstown ranks as just the 14th largest municipality in the state of New Hampshire. The 2010 Census put Goffstown’s population at 17,651. Roughly 15% of the population is between age 18 and age 24, or approximately 2,648 people. I am going to point out some more details from this age group a little later on in this piece. There are roughly 4,000 folks in Goffstown that are under the age of 18, in this group, nearly 10% of this group play baseball in the Goffstown Jr. Baseball organization. I point these numbers out because I find these things interesting enough to share.

Goffstown is a small town. There are 202 municipalities in New England that are larger than Goffstown. For this piece I refer to Goffstown baseball based on the towns the school district pulls from. Goffstown, New Boston (2010 census pop. 5,321), and Dunbarton (2010 census pop. 2,758) make up the school district. I will also point out which town the individuals mentioned in this piece hail from. Continue reading

Mother’s Day

Sometimes there’s a plan, a grand scheme with the details all but ironed out. Other times there’s a discussion, maybe even a decision made, but no rock solid plan, just see what happens. Then there’s no plan, just an ongoing discussion that could just as easily be decided by flipping a coin. Still other times there may or may not be a plan, but someone imposes their will, removing all choice. The point is this, there’s probably a million different scenarios as to how women end up being mother’s and they’re all vitally important. Plans are great, but life happens, mom’s happen.

Today is Mother’s Day. A day to honor Mother’s everywhere. A day to honor the special women who have taken on the most important job on the planet. That’s my opinion and to me, it’s not really much of a coincidence that the moral fabric of our society began to unravel at an even more alarming rate as more and more mothers went to work full-time. I understand. I know folks have to make ends meet. I also know that careers aren’t more important than the future. Careers are done when retirement happens, or when our time here on this earth is done. The future is the promise that lies ahead. And the future is our kids.

I know that not all mom’s are the best mom’s, and some probably shouldn’t even be a mom to begin with. That’s not a lot different from the big picture anyways. I mean not everyone is the best at their job, some are plain lousy, many get fired. But mom’s don’t get fired.

It’s May 13, 2012. It’s Mother’s Day. Millions will receive Happy Mother’s Day greetings today. Rightfully so. But not every mother’s day is a happy mother’s day. However, everyday from the start of life, a mother is a mother. There’s no timeouts. There’s no breaks. There’s no choice as to whether she feels like being a parent today or not. There’s every day. There’s every hour of every day. Every hour, being a mother. I know there are 60 minutes in most of the hours I come up against, but I know that mother’s often find a way to get more than that out of an hour.

Here’s how I see it. I could be wrong. I am only a man. In my life I have noticed that mother’s show up everyday. They don’t get sick days. When they are sick for even a day, it affects more people than if I was sick for a whole week. Mother’s are the beginning and the end. The first to rise and care for any need or concern and the last to make sure all is well and make sure all are at rest. Mother’s are so versatile. They can dress up, smile, and look oh so pretty. They can do the work of many, getting dirty, getting the jobs done, smiling along the way, all while nurturing someone else, and teaching yet another, this, while preparing a home we all want to come home to.

Mothers:
They stand up for what’s right and defend their young. They love us. They long for the best for us. They hurt when we hurt, sometimes more. They see the trouble we skirt around and hope the lessons they’ve taught us spare us from that which we face. They love some more. They hold us. They make the worst moment or day feel like it was nothing because mom is there for us. They push us to standards we may never have reached, or at least saved us years of figuring it out. They are our biggest cheerleaders. They have no issue showing how much they love us and how much they care for us. They’re not on call, they are the ones who call when their love and care is not enough. They are the structure that keeps a home from becoming just a house. They hold the most important job in the world.

I am certain there’s no script that tells mom how to be a mom, although the Bible is a good start, during, and finish. There’s no guide that says, this is what you do in every single situation. Motherhood is hands on. The more you get in there and roll up your sleeves, and just love, the more mom you are. The more you have given of yourself the more mom you are. Mom’s have goals, and honestly I wish I knew more about that. I will make it a point to find out, immediately. I don’t know what my mom’s goals were, or what they are, but I know that one goal had to have been to be the best mom she could ever be.

I am just a man. A father. A son. A husband (twice). I have been blessed beyond my own comprehension to have the people in my life that I have. I have tremendous kids. The best kids I could ever ask for. My three oldest kids have a great mother and she is much more than partially responsible for the excellence that the kids strive for. Happy Mother’s Day Sue.

My three youngest kids also have a tremendous mother. Amaris, my wife, she is mom all hours of the day. She works a full-time job, one that she is a superstar in. She still finds time to always be mom. She works very hard to manage the many aspects of life that seems so much busier now than it was when I grew up. I am currently a stay-at-home dad thanks to my wife’s efforts. This experience has only strengthened my already strong feelings for the responsibility of motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day Amaris!

My mom was born during World War II in New Brunswick, Canada. She grew up in a different world than it is today. She lived in rural farmlands with five brothers and four sisters. Ten kids in a small home. All the kids learned to do everything that was necessary to make the household and small farm run. Along the way she was picking up the nuggets she would apply in motherhood. She was married in 1964, and in 1967 she suddenly transformed from small town girl and wife, to mother. I am sure she had more than a few moments where she wasn’t sure how to proceed. This is where her own mother’s teachings, the things she picked up throughout her upbringing in a church-going family rooted in the Bible, came into play. My dad was a pastor and in political terms, my mom was the First Lady of the church. Little did any of them know just how amazing she was and would be.

I am fortunate enough to visit with my mom and dad almost every single week. I enjoy hearing about their lives today, their lives growing up, and their lives while I was growing up. Somehow my mom remembers more than I will ever recall. I thoroughly enjoy the stories, insights, and lessons that I still learn from my mother each week. Mom is still mom. I am grown with kids of my own, but she will always be my mother. I am eternally grateful for my mother. She is a very special woman.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! There should be a year full of days to honor mom’s like you. You have been amazing and continue to be amazing. I know you would be the first to deny or downplay such a statement. You would gently deflect such words to a clean corner in the house where they might otherwise be better served. I said amazing and I mean amazing. If we all lived in a day and age where consistency, reliability, and unconditional love were commonplace, you would still measure as amazing in my book. You are still present and participating in the role of wife and mother. It’s been nearly 48 years as a wife and almost 45 years a mother. I don’t know if you, or anyone really knows what they’re getting into, becoming a mother. Selfishly, I am glad that the little girl who grew up in the big family, a family that had to work for everything they had, a girl who learned all those lessons from her mom, dad, and siblings was the one who grew up to be my mother.

I get along with most everyone, thanks to my mother. I love the weather, thanks to my mother. I love wildlife and the outdoors, thanks to my mother. I notice things in nature that others miss, thanks to my mother. I got to know family, some of the greatest people I have ever known, thanks to my mother.

I marvel at you mom. The speed of life, the immediate gratification of almost every whim pursued, and the access to limitless amounts of thoughtless garbage, have done nothing to change you. You are the hard-working girl from a family that didn’t know any different. You are good people as they say. You always will be no matter what goes on around you. You are special in many ways, and have been a blessing to so many people. You are strong, well versed in the Scriptures, and unyielding in your beliefs. You love always. You help others, always. Your measurement of a good day is based on the comfort and happiness of those around you. You rarely put yourself ahead of anyone else, and if you do, you feel bad about it. You live to love and everyone who knows you feels it too. You love to live even if your living isn’t the definition that those who want to ‘live life’ would use. I hope to have lived life like you someday mom. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you.

Early reviews: Sox are a bust and have lost their way

Welcome to the circus that is Fenway Amusement Park and the 2012 performance of the Boston Red Sox Players as conducted by seemingly, mildly interested ownership. Lead Jester in this years performance is Bobby Valentine.

One of my brothers sent me an email today and shared some of his thoughts on the Red Sox so far this season. This spurred some thoughts and my own written reaction. Which is also where this piece stems from. Many of these thoughts have been cultivated over the last several years. Others came throughout the fall of 2011. An autumn that would have fit better in the 86 year drought somewhere than it does in the 21st century.

Gone are the days when Ted Williams would sign his one year contracts based on how much he and the club thought he was worth during the previous season. Gone are the days when players would stand behind the opposing catcher and watch the other teams’ starting pitcher warm up along the foul lines. Gone are the days when the team would actually take infield before a game. Gone is the net and the retrieval of home run balls after a game by a guy walking the wall at 37 feet high. Gone are the 7:07 start times and the afternoon games before that. The Impossible Dream has been replaced with the Implausible Scene that rears its ugly head 81 dates per year. Gone is baseball as the main attraction at 4 Yawkey Way. Gone is the national pastime in its glory as the only passage of time needed for our fathers and theirs, replaced with entertainment as defined by those who measure a quality start by numbers and not by the quality of the start.

Some how the grand old ball park, 100 years old, has become the theme park and main attraction to an audience of millions throughout New England and even around the world. I cherish Fenway Park. I have since I was a kid, and like millions of other kids, I was sold on the old concrete ramps leading to the most beautiful shades of green I had ever seen. I didn’t need seats on the Monster, or a pavilion in right, or seats behind glass, or even seats that faced home plate. The greatest players in the history of the game played on that field, in front of that wall, and before those seats, empty or not. I knew Ruth, Young, Foxx, and Williams, among others, had even called this park home. That’s the beauty of it. That park was where those ball players played. That’s all that was needed. Just like it would have been at any of those other classic ball parks, if they were still around.

So far in 2012 there has already been too much mediocrity, or less, and worse yet, it seems to be acceptable. Bobby Valentine could have managed several games better this year. He could also have taken opportunities to show who is the boss in the clubhouse. Oh wait, no, he couldn’t have, because he’s not the boss. He’s just another member of the entitled fraternity of Red Sox personnel who think someone actually owes them something. The boss is the collective ownership. Just ask Boston’s GM. Insert puppet here. Ownership needs to look in the mirror regarding their ball club and worry less about the ball park. With injuries, no sense of urgency on anything, and average acquisitions this is what we get. An above average offensive ball club held back by its pitching and lack of fortitude. Even when Adrian Gonzalez finishes with great numbers again, he won’t be enough to over come countless blown 3-run leads and constantly playing from behind. Right now fans want his behind because he’s not off to a Josh Hamilton start this season.

I could go on but I probably won’t. Beckett looked like a golfer trying his hand at pitching on the mound tonight. Couldn’t have been better timing for him to show us all what he’s made of. Not much. I know every year can’t be 2007, but since the title year where’s the hunger, the drive? Actually, humorously, I guess we learned where the hunger was last autumn. He’s 50-33 with a 4.08 ERA since the 2007 title and getting worse. That’s a nice .602 win percentage but by comparison Matsuzaka has a .654 win percentage over the same time frame.

Anyways, the Sox fired the best manager in team history, and seemingly took forever to find the right guy for the job to replace Francona. Now, mind you, the right guy for the job in this case, may just be a guy fitting interesting criteria: Big name, check. New England guy, check. Sells some tickets, check. Vain enough to think it’s all about him, check. Expendable enough to be a rental manager caught in a bad lease, check. Francona may have lost control of the wheel last season, but he may have been driving a vehicle with a bunch of bad tires, and less his fault than originally thought. This season will likely show us all just how bad it could have really been.

Either way, after the Bruins early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Fenway turning 100 years old, and various forms of early season adversity, the spotlight has been shining holes through the club in month number one of the season. The season is long, and we’ve seen that just about anything can happen. There are 131 more chances for our hometown team to redeem themselves this season. In the meantime there’s the College World Series, The Olympics, and the Little League World Series to help restore our National Pastime and then some.

The Red Sox are my life-long favorite team. Even if this season turns around for Boston, there’s several pictures in my mind that I’d rather see at 4 Yawkey Way. I’d love to see Yaz pinwheeling the bat as he settles in to face another pitch. I’d love to see Tiant delivering pitches from every conceivable angle and watch his pitch count approach 200 (talk about your quality starts). I could use a couple of episodes showing “The Steamer” taking a rake to innocent beach balls. I would love to see Lonborg pitching with the heart of a lion when nobody else believed. How about some effort, like that of Fred Lynn using every fiber of his body to make another catch that wasn’t supposed to be made. I could use some time spent in the center field bleachers during the 1978 season when “Jim Ed” would come out and hit balls into the bleachers to the kids before batting practice. Ya, he was awesome. 406 total bases in 1978 and my evenings were good or bad based on how Rice played that night. How about “Dewey” lining himself up in right field to unload his cannon to the appropriate base, time after time? Give me the buzz around the old ball park on any night that Pedro pitched. I’d even take Manny being Manny, rifling a walk-off single through Mariano’s legs on Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe I could use the grit of Lansford. Let me see the old bullpen cart bringing relievers to the mound. Are there any kids in the mix like number 26, who played first base and went 6-for-9 in a double-header against the Indians, a year after Lansford won the batting title? Give me Marty Barrett with a 13 pitch at-bat, or Carbo in the clutch. I’d take Morgan Magic and Benzinger wrapping one around the Pesky Pole. I’d take the Boston Red Sox playing baseball in the old Fenway Park.

Hey ownership, these Sox are a bust! It’s not about the ball park, it’s about the pastime, the game, the players that make the plays and send New England off to sweet summer dreams night after night. The ball park in essence is the fly on the wall that witnesses all the greatness and thus becomes the place for fathers to congregate and pass on the histories as they know it. It’s seats should be so fortunate to be filled with subtle story lines being shared game after game. Stories that live on forever from one generation of wide-eyed youngsters to the next. Instead, for many, it has become a once a year, or maybe once in a lifetime visit to an amusement park that’s so busy with entertainment that’s not the game, that the beautiful symmetry of the game is often lost to the likes of lights, gadgets, bells and whistles.

My favorite ball fields any where are not my favorites because of the amenities they offer. Rather, it’s the beauty of those rarest diamonds, where the colors run into one another at the perfect angle as if the hand of an angel reached down and arranged these things just so. There are fields that are carved into nature where the ball field ends right where the wild begins. These fields don’t have fancy lights and scoreboards, but they do have immeasurable history and countless memories where our pastime was contended by players who didn’t know better than just playing for the love of the game. These fields in some cases have long since passed ‘state of the art’ and have transformed into glorious cathedrals containing priceless pictures of yesteryear hanging in every corner, perceived by thousands from just as many angles.

I probably won’t get to Fenway this year, but if I do, I am sure someone will have to hear more stories of mine as my memory plays back images to me while I look around the old yard. Until then, I would just as soon sit on the front porch and listen to the game on the radio so I can paint my own pictures of the memories being created.

What do I see?

It’s worth at least a thousand words. Insert your own 1,000 words. Or, take in the pure innocence of our children and give clear direction to what their eyes see. Their eyes do see. Make sure it’s something worthy of their eyes seeing.

Theodore Jamison Beal in color. 2 years old. An hour with dad and twin sister at the airport watching planes, hearing noises, and just having fun.

Theodore Jamison Beal in black and white. Ageless eyes, in my opinion.

Don’t forget to check and see how it all looks from my young eyes.

Look into my eyes, you can see what I see.