Turned 78 today, or as I like to think, 25.556 Celsius.
Rita has this thing that you are only as old as the high temperature on your birthday. Easy for her to say. She was born in December. Under her theory, I am forecast to be 88 today. Or as I like to think, 31.111 Celsius.
When I turned 75, my friends-of-long-standing Diana and Larry Brewer gave me a tee-shirt that converted my age to…Celsius. This year, they sent me the baseball-themed card you see below. The inside message reads “Hope your birthday is a major-league good time.” I’m sure it will be. Rita and I will be walking down the hill to enjoy a birthday dinner at Capital Grille at its new location on the Plaza.
In other news…
Hot Stove Archives: My son Brian, creator of the Lonnie’s Jukebox website, has now completed archiving all of the Hot Stove posts. So everything from 2015 to today can be found at this link. The website is searchable via the search box.
Non-Hot Stove Archives: As noted in an earlier Hot Stove, some non-baseball items are being added to the website. I joked that this was where my grandchildren could read about my life someday (or not). And then that sort of came true. My granddaughter Emersyn gets the credit.
Over a year ago, I started working on a piece about Tom Eagleton and Walter Mondale. But Hot Stoves got in the way and the piece kept returning to the back burner (pun intended). This past spring, Emersyn (then a junior) was working on a school project that involved an interview for an oral history. She asked me to be the subject, and well, you don’t turn down your granddaughter. She said we would likely be talking some about politics, and so to help with the prep, I sent her a draft of my Eagleton/Mondale piece.
When Emersyn interviewed me, she was well prepared. We talked about key issues during my youth (JFK, the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War) and then moved to my years of political campaigning and advance work (and how advance led to a love for international travel). It was so cool to do this.
Part of the assignment was for Emersyn to write her “Reflection” of the interview. My son Brian shared this with me, and I got a lot of warm feelings reading what Emersyn said about grandpa. She also reinforced my reason to share my experiences: “I loved getting to hear about what made him into the man I know him as today.” She did something else – got me back on track to finish my Eagleton/Mondale piece…
Politics – Eagleton/Mondale: I have been busy posting, but if you are not on my “political” list, you missed three from last week. That list is mostly of folks I worked with in politics decades ago.
I did not circulate more broadly because Hot Stove is meant to be mostly baseball. Some music. Some movies. Some Hamilton.
On occasion, politics seeps in – like reporting on Charlottesville in Hot Stove #50 (“Hitler, the Klan and Baseball”). That tale of white supremacy ran two years ago this month. Sadly, still relevant.
My new political posts are fortunately about a less polarizing time. If you did not get these and have an interest, they are online at this link. The story begins with the parallel careers of Walter Mondale and Tom Eagleton. They won their first statewide elections in 1960, becoming the two youngest attorneys general in the country. They both became U. S. Senators, followed by nominations for the vice presidency (Eagleton for 18 days in 1972 and Mondale a winner in 1976).
I had the good fortune to work on campaigns for both of them, highlighted by domestic and international advance work for VP Mondale. Rita was also a part-time VP advance person. Below, Rita with Vice President and Joan Mondale.
Rita’s Cancer Journey: The other new add to the website is about Rita’s journey with breast cancer. A part of this was covered in Hot Stove #29 (“Leonard Cohen – Rita’s Story”) , but a more complete account is told by the emails that chronicled the journey. After Rita was diagnosed in 2012, a heartwarming village of friends quickly formed to lend support and send out good vibrations. To keep the village up to date, we posted a series of 21 emails as Rita progressed through surgery, treatment and recovery. The emails are at this link.
Those emails were a precursor for Hot Stove in at least three ways: (i) I did most of the writing, but always in consultation with my editor Rita; (ii) the emails got longer (big surprise) and took on the format you now see in Hot Stove; and (iii) we included music selections that were the playlist for the journey, just like Lonnie’s Jukebox in Hot Stove.
Below, celebrating that the 6th (last) chemo session was over. That’s cider, not champagne, in her hand.
The online posting is also intended as a reminder of Rita’s offer made at the end of her treatment: “Today my hope is to be a resource for those who follow me along the same journey. Just as I was guided by cancer survivors, so I want to be a help to others. Please feel free to share my phone or email.”
Lonnie’s Jukebox – Woodstock: It was fifty years ago this month: August 15-18, 1969. There were many classic performances, but I’ll limit this to four songs.
“At the Hop” – Sha Na Na cover of the 1957 hit by Danny and the Juniors (to channel my high school years in the 50s).
“Going Up the Country” (“where the water tastes like wine”) – Canned Heat
“White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane featuring Grace Slick
“The Weight” – The Band
The 1970 film Woodstock won the Academy Award for best documentary. The still photographer on the filming team was Barry Z. Levine who took so many pictures that he had blisters on his index finger and thumb from clicking the shutter and advancing the film. The only time he stopped during the performances was a 45-minute nap on the piano cover on stage during the Blood, Sweat and Tears set. This is one of his photos:
Woodstock was not the only place for famous rock ‘n’ roll photos in August of 1969. Yesterday, as the Beatles might say, was the 50th anniversary of this iconic photo taken by Iain Macmillan on Abbey Road in London: