Monday, March 31, 2014
I feel like spring is finally here because today is opening day in Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Brewers. I will be watching on TV, in the warmth of my home, by choice, even though they now have an enclosed field and I know the roof will be closed so everyone can enjoy the game in relative comfort. Quite a change from the games I went to as a kid. The wind off of Lake Michigan, on opening day, could make it feel like the middle of winter.
The Milwaukee Braves came to Milwaukee in 1953 when I was six years old and I was lucky enough to have surrogate grandparents that had season tickets. I just wish I had the black jacket with the Indian Brave on the back and matching cap I wore as a small child. It would have been a great memory keepsake. The team was the Boston Braves from 1941 to 1952, prior to arriving in Milwaukee. They played at “County Stadium” in the same location that is now home to the Milwaukee Brewers. “Miller Park“, the current home of the Brewers, opened in 2001 and is one of the best in the nation.
As a kid growing up in Milwaukee I followed the Braves and collected Topps and Bazooka bubble gum cards. I can remember having some favorites; Lew Burdette, Ernie Johnson, Warren Spahn, Del Crandall, Joe Adcock, Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Frank Torre, Andy Pafko and of course Hank Aaron. Great memories as a kid. Sure wish, as most guys do, that my parents had not thrown those cards out.
I thought it was ironic that on opening day, 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers were playing the Atlanta Braves because for those of you that are too young to remember or so old that you can’t remember, the Milwaukee Braves last season in Milwaukee was 1965. They then went to Atlanta and became the Atlanta Braves. As you can imagine they broke the hearts of many fans although attendance had been going down. At least that’s what we were told.
I remember, in the spring of 1965, as a senior in high school, taking advantage of something called “Senior Skip Day” and going to a Milwaukee Braves game with a group of my friends. Little did we know that it would probably be our last Milwaukee Braves game and one of the last times we would all spend time together, because graduation was only a couple of months away and we would drift apart. We still see each other occasionally, but it will never be the same. It’s wonderful to have those memories.
My day is complete. I got to watch the entire game without distraction or interruption and the Brewers won 2 - 0 on opening day, in Milwaukee, against the team that deserted me as a teenager in 1966. I know, get over it Jim. Still It doesn’t get much better than that unless you were there today or back in 1965 with friends.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I was at breakfast with some of the guys from church that morning, as I am every Thursday morning, already complaining about the fact that I wasn’t real enthused about volunteering that afternoon and evening. That’s not like me because I usually can’t wait to go. The reason was that the wind chill was going to be -15 to -20 while we were pulling these wagons to peoples cars and helping them load their groceries into them. Yes, almost all my time there is spent outside. I had on long johns, a hooded sweatshirt, a full snow mobile suit, gloves and insulated boots so I was as prepared as I could be. By 6pm I was tired because the guy that usually pulls the wagons out with me couldn’t make it and there is no back up so I ended up doing the work of two and I was at that point as cold as I have been in a long time.
I was starting to ask myself why I keep doing this when some of the people that come arrive with cups of coffee from Starbucks and cars that are much nicer and newer than mine. Then I remind myself that the majority of people that use our food pantry really do need the help at this point in their lives. It had really slowed down about 6:15 pm but we said we would be open until 7 so we really couldn’t leave early. It was then that I pulled a wagon of food out for a mom and her daughters, probably 8 and 10. As I got done loading the food into the trunk the younger girl handed me a cross made of two green twist ties, the kind you get in the veggie section of the grocery store and said, “thank you for all this food.” Her mother looked at me and said, “she doesn’t give crosses to very many people”. I can tell you I was just about in tears and I realized exactly why I do this every month. Yes, that green twist tie cross will remain on my dresser for a long time to remind me how blessed I am to have all that I have. I am allowed to enjoy my blessings. But, I must remember that the main reason for which God has blessed me is so I may be a blessing 2 Corinthians 8-9:
If you can’t work at a food pantry please consider giving food or money so no one has to go to bed hungry at night. We’re a small town, but we usually serve somewhere between 150 to 200 people once a month. We started this past Thursday with only 20 quarts of milk and no bread. About half way through someone, came with a donation of more frozen chicken so we didn’t have to let anyone go home without some type of meat. Thanks for doing what ever you can do and sparing what ever you can spare to support your local food pantry.
Love and Blessings,
Just a guy trying to connect some words