Late Summer Reflections

With our nation descending more and more into the swamp from which we were promised deliverance, it’s difficult to find much to celebrate this summer. But let’s give it a go:

1. Lessons from a real man. If you have not yet been to see Won’t you be my neighbor?, the documentary celebrating the life and humanity of Fred Rogers, then get thee to a cinema, posthaste. Do not miss it: No excuses! And bring a box of Kleenex.

2. Flirting with .700. Last year around this time, I tipped my hat to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were rolling along at a .700 clip and pretty much locking up the National League West division championship. (For those who don’t follow baseball, well, first of all, you’re missing out on a boatload of really cool metaphors, and, second, trust me: a .700 winning percentage is quite rare, calling up memories of the 1927 Yankees.) Right after I hit the Send button on that newsletter, the Dodgers went into a protracted losing streak, from which they eventually did pull out, making it to the World Series but losing four games to three to the Houston Astros. And so I hesitate to make note that the Boston Red Sox are doing the Dodgers’ thing this year, hovering just under that elusive .700. Let us wish them the best–unless, of course, you’re a Yankees’ fan.

3. Singing through the summer. The Muses, with their wicked sense of humor, instilled in me a love of music without an ounce of talent to go with it. (Come to think of it, they, or whoever the appropriate Greek deities would be, did the same regarding baseball.) Nonetheless, that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm, nor my propensity to bang on the steering wheel and/or dashboard, more or less in sync with the music, while driving the less traveled streets of North Dallas–I don’t do it on 635, I promise–while listening to ’50s and ’60’s music on my KIA’s Sirius channels. (God bless you, whoever you are, for inventing Sirius–24/7 NPR and all the music you could imagine from jazz and blues to rock and the Great American Songbook.) Summer is the most evocative time of the year for music memories, and I am very much at that time of life when memories abound. And regarding that time of life . . .

4. I’m not being crotchety; I’m experiencing “geriatric self-regard with stress.” A professor who has been mentoring me through a couple of degree programs these past few years has a penchant for the clever aphorism and a facility for making up new diagnostic categories. Like “geriatric self-regard with stress.” So, should you ignore, show impatience toward, or in any form or fashion discount one of us elders please be advised: Our natural, instinctive geriatric self-regard has been placed under stress and we shall respectfully take you to task. Or thwack you with a cane.

Now y’all go enjoy what’s left of the summer.