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Rocky Mountain High

Many of you probably know that for summer fun I have staked my claim in Livingston, Montana.

Recently I set off to find an Autumn location – and serendipitously stumbled into Colorado Springs after wandering in circles for only 2 weeks.

I even got a part-time job, how cool is that!

pushing broom

Two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means, by no means
King of the road

I’m not a ‘man for all seasons’ yet ‘cuz I don’t know where to hunker down for Winter or burst forth in Spring.

Suggestions Welcome!

🙂🙂🙂

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Almost Famous

My father was a star athlete in multiple sports.

George Hayes, basketball photo

He even went on to play semi-pro baseball.

George Hayes, baseball photoIt is not difficult to guess what kind of presents I got before I could even walk: ball, bat, glove.

After dinner we would push back our chairs, tie a cloth napkin into a knot and play catch across the table.  I never missed.

I mention this because I just caught a glimpse on TV of kids in this year’s Little League World Series.  It’s a big deal, apparently, and it rekindled in me a memory from 60 years ago.

In 1954 I was an All-Star on the only Little League team from Lakeland, Florida that ever went to the World Series.  I read online that today the kids are 11- and 12-years old, although I was only 10 at the time.

Litle League 1 as Smart Object-1

Boog Powell, later famous as an MVP first-baseman with the World Series (1966, 1970) Baltimore Orioles, and as a guzzling beer-drinker in the “more taste, less filling” Miller Lite commercials, was our pitcher.  He was the biggest little leaguer anyone ever saw back then.  Sometimes, when not playing third base, I was behind the plate as a catcher, and when Boog wound up and threw a fast ball into my mitt it would literally pick me up and knock me backwards.

Back then, the Little League tournaments were single-elimination. When you lost, you were out.

The Lakeland Orange All-Stars won eight straight games in the district, sectional and regional tournaments, outscoring their opponents, 38-9, to earn their trip to Williamsport.

After winning the district tournament in Dade City, Lakeland defeated Orlando and Fort Walton Beach in the sectional tournament in Lakeland.

That earned them a train trip to Greenville, N.C., for the South Regional tournament.

“I remember seeing the Tennessee team and they were just huge,” he [Charles Taylor, catcher & Boog Powell’s half-brother] said. “But they got knocked off before we played. And I remember thinking, `Whew. We don’t have to play Tennessee. Did you see those giants?’ “

With Tennessee out of the way, Lakeland defeated Middleburg, Ky., 8-3, Mooresville, N.C., 2-0, and Columbia, S.C., 6-0, to earn its trip to Williamsport.

Lakeland Ledger, August 24, 2004

Actually, to set the record straight, I was on the roster but didn’t make the trip to Williamsport to play in the World Series. My mother wouldn’t let me go.  She said she had already planned a family vacation at the beach.me

It would never have occurred to my mother that playing in a World Series might be important enough to one of her sons to rearrange a summer vacation.

I wish my dad could have had a say-so in this matter, but he suffocated in an iron lung 4 years earlier, when I was six.

😦😦😦

I was a Little League All-Star the next year, too, when I was eleven.

In a playoff game in Plant City, ninth inning, we were behind 1-0 and I was the tying run on first base. (I had blasted two of our team’s total of three hits.) Ill-advisedly, I tried to score from first base on a looper to right field.  I was thrown out by the proverbial mile.

I had another year of Little League eligibility, but I quit. A coach from the Pony League, the advanced age group of 13-15 year olds, told me (age 12) he would lie about my age and sneak me onto their team if I would play for them.

But by then I had developed an interest in golf and tennis.

Oh! – have I told you how I was almost famous… in golf?  and tennis?

🙂🙂🙂

 

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I Wanna Be a Flyboy When I Grow Up, Maybe…

geo hayes 1940sMy father loved to fly.

As a flight instructor he was once up with a student when part of the propeller fell off.

He took over the controls, found an orange grove, and managed to bounce “softly” from tree to tree.

Both walked away from the crash.

He signed and dated a piece of the wrecked plane.

plane memento

With such genetics I should have followed in his wings, right?

Actually, I toyed with the idea.  Even tried (in 1967) to join the Air Force (mostly to stay out of the Army) but they said because I wore glasses I would never sit in the front seat of a fighter jet.

Then there was the other problem: the Dream.  I kept seeing myself on my maiden voyage and the view was always upside down, like this…

stunt plane

Then again…

What if I pulled out of a dive at the last minute to the applause of thousands and didn’t end up in a body bag after all?

stunt plane

Still time, do you think, for me to take flying lessons?

🙂🙂🙂

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The Lesson

Foxy Mom knew exactly what she had to do. Her kit were far too playful and dependent, and they needed quick to grow up.

So she went out and snatched up a hapless ground squirrel.

foxWhen she returned to the den she dangled the limp squirrel like a toy in front of her children.

foxesOnly one of the siblings, however, was mature enough to escalate the game into a persistent tug-o-war.

foxesFoxy Mom was delighted and let her brave & adventuresome son chase her around as if this was more than just a game.

foxfoxfoxLike a good mother she eventually let her son “win” and carry his prize back to the den.

fox

SPOILER ALERT: read no further unless you can stomach other than a happy ending.

The badger mentioned in a previous post https://oopsjohn.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/foxy-lady/) returned with a vengeance.

Foxy Mom and the Bad-to-the Bone badger engaged in a vicious skirmish, pictures of which I don’t have but which from others have surfaced online.  The badger managed to enter the fox den and remained there for several hours, until it got dark and photographers and observers were no longer able to see what was happening, and went home.

Foxy Mom and occasionally even Foxy Dad were seen the next morning camped outside the den, keeping watch, staring inside, apparently waiting for the culprit to emerge.

Momma Fox had also sometime during the night dug another den some 30 yards away. Whether or not the two kit were safely tucked deep down inside their new bunker or not is unknown.

Two days later, however, no badger, still no kit. Foxy Lady sits forlornly outside her second den and no kit have been seen for days.

The Law of Nature in its larger Wisdom has apparently claimed these two playful youngin’s.

foxes🙂🙂🙂