Monthly Archives: September 2012

Never Forget

I am re-blogging this piece in remembrance of 9/11/01. I have added only this paragraph and have deleted nothing. Just the same sentiments in remembrance. The crisp, clear, clean, cool morning this morning reminds me very much of that fateful morning 11 years ago. 11 years ago today, heroes weren’t born, but rather emerged, as heroism was in so many who, through events beyond their control, were present and heroic when their fellow Americans needed them most. Never Forget.

This page is a place to more permanently keep this close at hand. On 9/11/11 I watched, I listened to, and read pieces on the 10 year remembrance of 9/11. I cried, I thought, I remembered, I swelled with pride, I felt a lot of emotions that day. That evening into the wee hours of the following morning I also wrote a piece in my style, my words, and I want it to be here, close at hand. There will be times when I will add to this page I am sure but this is where it starts for me. Never forget.

9/11 – Ten Years Later – God Bless the USA

Today, and every day really, I thank God that I was fortunate enough to be born and raised in the greatest country in the world. I am proud to be an American every day. Please God, continue to bless the USA, and may we honor and glorify you in all we do. There is goodness in all of us. We were created and born, morally aware. And, just as those who ran towards the unknown terror of 9/11 as to free those who needed help, so did our founding fathers brave the unknown in hopes of freedom for all. It’s the USA, “One Nation, under God”, made up of millions of people with tremendous resiliency, and free will to choose that we will not give up, while harboring a true responsibility to help one another (all of whom are created equal) in times of need. I feel, and I pray for those who lost loved ones or saw so much more than anyone should see 10 years ago today. May we never forget those who were innocently taken and those who have sacrificed so much.

I am in no way trying to be political here and I don’t always know where my thoughts may take me, so let’s find out. I pray that we, the USA (that’s each one of us), don’t lose sight of the spirit that was embraced in founding our great country. I hope that we don’t forget to fight for the freedoms that we have defended around the globe. We should be continually thankful for those who have literally battled on our behalf and knowingly risked the greatest asset; a human life, for their country, our country, the USA. We should be cognizant of our own behaviors that help pave the way for true freedom in the future and be wary of those self indulgences that provoke others to restrict our freedoms with red tape and political correctness. This country was founded on right and wrong, and there is nothing political about that which is right. Right is right. Right is morally justified, while politically correct is often times a choice to act in a manner that gets a desired outcome. If the desired outcome is not right than why be politically correct?

It was December of 1967 when my dad and mom drove over the border from Canada back into the USA just so I could be born in the USA. That may not mean as much now as it did then, but I am awfully proud to have been born in the United States of America. I love Canada dearly and cherish my Canadian family who are some of the greatest people I have ever met. Still, I thank you dad and mom for making that run to Caribou, Maine, USA, right before Christmas, on my behalf.

My favorite combination of colors is truly the red, white, and blue. My favorite song is “The Star Spangled Banner”. Our National Anthem being sung at various events and venues is the television I record most often. I get goose bumps every single time I hear it. I think of the words and the inspiration behind them in a time of uncertainty. Those words will be 197 years old this week, and I think of how many times those words have meant so much too so many people. Climatically our anthem gets to “Our flag was still there” and I think of our resiliency, I think of our free will and am reminded to be so careful with this precious gift. I truly do think of us as the land of the free and the home of the brave. This week I again connect this to 9/11 as there has been, and hopefully always will be an American flag flying at Ground Zero. I will also never forget those who were technically free to run, as thousands did, but instead, instinctively were brave as so many before them have been.

I offer a closing prayer for those who care to read it. With my head bowed, I thank you God for this great country of ours, and for the thousands upon thousands of brave men and women who have given their all to maintain our freedom and our independence. I pray that we don’t forget the sacrifices and struggles past and present, allowing our quality of life to be what it can be today. We have so very much to be thankful for. In a time when we seem to measure our life’s success by things we have accumulated, money we earn, or status we have attained; may we truly cherish the choices we have, the freedoms we share, and the right to put God and our families first. I pray that each of us make the time and the commitment to love and fellowship with friends and family. At the end of our days, it’s our family who will be there with us. The recollection of the choices we were able to make will ease our hearts and minds when our days here are short. It will be the freedoms we embraced, the risks we were willing and able to take, and the free will to forgive and make that which is wrong, right that will allow a smile on our lips as we breathe for the last time. Lord, I pray we wait not, for those days to think on these things, but to actively pursue them with all that we are, and all we can be. We know not what the future holds for any of us. Let us not be caught up in that uncertainty, but have faith in You, and the tremendous power we possess to be present now. May we serve you Lord each day, knowing that the time we invest in one another is truly what makes the world go round. Lord I thank you for your many blessings as there are too many to count. Our days are full of blessings that we often times don’t even take the time to notice or thank you for. Forgive us for our sins and may we learn from our mistakes, in doing so, setting an example for others to follow so that we all may be better off for it. Lord, I ask these things in your name. Amen.

Zamboni Snow

Theodore really enjoyed his brother’s hockey practice this evening. He spent a good part of the time playing in the pile of snow left by the rink Zamboni. He was very busy. He scurried about at a frantic pace, grabbing handfuls of snow and running around the pile to throw them into a puddle. I did ask him what he was doing at one point. He told me he was building a castle. Fair enough. I just let him build until his hands got cold. Then I took him over to our van and showed him how to use the air vents to warm up. He loved that almost as much as the snow pile.

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Thank You to Youk’s Kids

On Saturday, August 4th, 2012, lightning struck Allard Park. It certainly wasn’t the first time lightning struck Goffstown’s hidden gem. For the most part the lightning strikes have been of a baseball nature when kids pull greatness out of the improbable. This strike, however, momentarily turned the storied Goffstown Babe Ruth Baseball program upside down. Lightning caused a fire to ignite and ultimately destroy the building we all know simply as, ‘The Barn’.

The Barn. This old building with so many stories tucked away in every nook and cranny. The building offered by the Allard family for baseball use year round. The Barn, where players worked to get better. The Barn, where so many took shelter in thunderstorms past, like the one that was its undoing. The Barn, where coaches met to get their season’s equipment. The Barn, where GBR All-Stars felt a little more important. The Barn, where any reason for a meeting was good enough. The Barn, where uniforms, equipment, first aid kits, and all things GBR Baseball were housed. The Barn, where each of us has memories we will hold forever.

Amidst the rubble and the disbelief that our baseball icon was gone we came in for a look at the fire ravaged building. I went over on a quiet morning or three to visit one of my all-time favorite spots. I sat down on the ground and just remembered the scenes playing in my mind. I remembered countless times in and around The Barn. I wrote a poem inspired by the history we shared, The Barn and I. It came out in the moments I sat there, next to the rubble of The Barn. The spot where I sat, I have shoveled snow from that spot, I have parked in that spot, I have played catch with players in that spot, I have retrieved foul balls from that spot, I talked with baseball friends in that spot, I have welcomed shade from The Barn in that spot, and it was the spot I reflected from.

So, this little baseball program, from not such a baseball hot spot in Southern NH, lost it’s baseball storage and workout facility. Just another New Hampshire weather related, sad story, for a little baseball program. I dare say, this is not your average, everyday, little youth baseball program. I could be wrong, but I think that this community has, does, and will come together and rally around our national pastime unlike most. People here plan their vacations for the end of August, or not at all, so that baseball can be completed. This often times means that Goffstown has teams playing post season ball through July and into August, competing at the District, State, and Regional level. As the pictures show, there is a history of winning in this program. Over the years, I have heard many local sentiments that unknowingly refer to the Goffstown Babe Ruth baseball program as ‘too competitive’. First, as it should be, it is competitive. What meaningful part of life isn’t? Second, I have also heard many praises from many of those same folks, who did sign their teen up to play, and were blown away at how much they loved it, how much the kids learned from it, and how wonderful the experience was, even if their player wasn’t an all-star. It’s a youth baseball program, a very good baseball program, but it’s still about the kids. Kids who enjoy baseball, want to get better, and even enjoy competing. As it should be.

So, with all that said, the emotion felt and shared, the stories told, the memories shared, and the reality of loss setting in, from the smoke and the smoldering, emerged one of the good people. Kevin Youkilis. Well, Kevin Youkilis and his foundation, Youk’s Kids. Almost six weeks after Youkilis was traded some 850 miles (in a straight line) away from this area, he still responded. He wasn’t asked to respond. He, and his foundation reached out to Goffstown Babe Ruth President, Kevin Baines. The phone call they made that Monday morning is one of the biggest reasons the GBR program was turned upside down only momentarily. Youk’s Kids offered to replace the lost baseball equipment up to $20,000, as I understand it. Wow! That’s incredible. One phone call in response to the Boston and Manchester news stations that had picked up on the story in this little baseball community.

In a day and age when too many people dismiss most things as, ‘not my problem’, it would be easy to dismiss this story from a Time Zone away. Dismissed? Not a chance. Youk’s Kids stepped up to do what they do. They help kids in need. Goffstown, New Boston, and Dunbarton make up our school district and also many of our youth athletics programs, and these kids aged 13-15 were in need for someone to help. Thank you Kevin Youkilis and Youk’s Kids for stepping up and helping this baseball rich community in a time of dire need. This baseball program means everything to many people each summer and with the thankless help of people like Kevin Youkilis and organizations like Youk’s Kids, this program will rise from the ash and be strong again. Thank you to Kevin Youkilis and his foundation.

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Once this smoke cleared and the remains were left to stare at in disbelief, Kevin Youkilis and others emerged to help GBR move forward.

Allard barn fire

It’s hard to believe that this very real picture played out in our own backyard.

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GBR, where champions are made.

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Championship teams from this little community bonded together forever in triumph.

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These pictures don’t capture all the history and success, but they give you an idea of what this program means to so many people in town.

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The pines. The pines that shielded The Barn from hundreds of foul balls. The pines looking different without the back drop of The Barn.

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Our little gem took a hit, but will carry on, thanks to so many caring, wonderful people.

Dr. Moe and the group showing off the bat at Allard

Dr. Maurice Allard shares a commemorative bat with us. This picture, at the time, shows GBR players and coaches from past and present. We were there practicing baseball for the love of the game.

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Jake Glauser, now playing baseball at the University of Southern Maine, works out in The Barn a few years ago. Not much of a view in The Barn, but hard work isn’t always pretty.

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Ryan Beal, now playing baseball at Central Connecticut State University, hits in The Barn, offering a different view of this place we cherished.

Labor Day

Today we labored. We labored in, and around the house. We labored in, and around the yard. It is very rewarding. We are proud Americans, and thankful to be living the American dream.

Moving Week

It’s a little bit different this time, Steve and Ryan are both going to college in the Northeast. Also, for the first time, they both moved into their respective schools in the same week. Last year, Steve and I drove across the United States to help Ryan move into an apartment located in Fremont, California for his freshman year at Ohlone College. Nearly two weeks later we moved Steve in for his sophomore year at Dartmouth College.

This year, Ryan is a sophomore, he transferred to Central Connecticut State University, in large part, to play Division I baseball, while getting his degree. Steve just completed his Sophomore Summer at Dartmouth. He had a whopping THREE whole days off and had to report back to campus yesterday to move in, and to start his UGA (called RA’s at other schools) requirements. Steve is now starting his 8th term (he’s a Junior) at Dartmouth. Steve used one of his three days between terms to help move his brother in at CCSU. Thank you Steve.

So, both young men are moved in at their respective school. Ryan has started classes and has already been hitting and throwing on the turf field at CCSU. Steve is spending this weekend with other UGA’s and they are at a camp in Vermont right now.

It’s still difficult to say good-bye. I guess it gets a little bit easier, maybe. Only because there’s more time from one late summer to the next to realize they’re growing up. There’s more time to let reality blur yesterdays images into a fading montage of life as it once was. There are many moments to ponder such things and to come to grips with the evolution of youth into manhood. Ya, it’s not really any easier to say good-bye.

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Steve helps Ryan set up his laptop with a back up drive.

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Ryan and Steve discuss some technology while moving Ryan in.

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All moved in. Ryan and Steve pose for me. You’ll see that Ryan’s double here at CCSU is smaller than Steve’s single at Dartmouth. Either way, it’s home for now.

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The moving crew for Steve’s return to Dartmouth. What a great group!

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The twins wanted to be a part of the picture, sort of. We didn’t set up Steve’s room as completely as we did Ryan’s. This was because Steve had to meet with the UGA’s, then get on a bus to Vermont. This left us just a few moments to have some lunch with Steve at the 1953 Commons (a cafeteria dedicated by the Class of ’53).

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Thanks Steve, for taking a moment to take a picture with me. I am glad we could be there with you. The twins thought it was the greatest thing, to help “Steve go to college”.