Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode: repost: Love, Dating and Fear

I had several requests for this repost

Love.  We all want it and we all need it.  Is there a better feeling than being in love?  In feeling loved in return?
Songs, movies, and books perpetually throw love in our faces.  And, in our hearts. And, in our daily thoughts and prayers.  There's different types of  love, but, the most prolific type of  love is the romantic variety.

We all know people who seem to meet the "right" person, fall in love, get married and stay married for life.
With the divorce rate at an all time high, I know the number of people this is happening to, is dwindling.
Are we meant to be with one person, to love only once?  Yes, if we 're penquins.

I've been in love more than once.  Pure, unabashed, raw emotion I have felt for another human being.  With the delight of middle of the day and middle of the night calls, long conversations, serious lovemaking, wild crazy sex,  fun times, future planning and simply living in the moment, I had love.   Then it ended.  And, I found someone else, or they found me.  If  I  believed there was only one person destined to be with me, I would have driven my car off of a cliff a long time ago, having thought there is only one chance at love.  Only one soul mate?.  No, I don't think so.  I am a seeker. A searcher. An explorer.  Love is out there.  There are many reasons why relationships don't always work out....I'll speak of some of that in future blogging.

I have recently thought about the dating scene.  Not just for myself, but, I've thought about many friends and acquaintances I have, some of them in their twenties and early thirties.  Imagine, if you will, trying to date today.  You head out on the weekend, looking and feeling great, you hang with the Glenwood South cowboys (for those not in Raleigh -- Glenwood South is where the bars/restaurants/nightlife is), hoping for a connection.  So, you meet someone.  Okay. And, with the technology today, you expect to hear from them via text, email, or cell phone, before you make it home.  I think the nurturing of a relationship is missing..  It all has become very disposable.  Look, I will not say that I have never had a one-night stand; I have.  But, that was a long time ago, and I don't even think it is wrong -- as long as both parties feel the same way.  If you are looking for a special connection, I do not think hooking up is the right avenue. Not for women, and not for men.  Love will remain elusive...because, like any project, it requires a beginning, a middle and an end.  Romance is not an exact science but, hooking up is merely the end.

I used to believe that having a love affair was dishonest.  Society is governed by codes and rules and our desires don't fit into those rules.  A love affair can and should be a beautiful thing.  Because, prior to having settled into our future, with a mate, isn't the love affair the beginning of that future? Or not. Recently, I flirted with the idea of having an affair with someone much younger than I,  and those thoughts made me smile.  This person is a friend and someone I've known for some years,  who on a couple of occasions said some things, and I in return said some things, where the demarcation line between friendship and something else, was crossed.  Full disclosure -- alcohol was involved.  Did that make the feelings less real?  Aren't drunken words sober thoughts?  Nothing happened, but, I had been willing to explore the opportunity, because I have come to know how short life is and we should all grab onto the possibility of sharing happiness.  And, I am glad we are still friends -- I would not want to lose that.

Finally, fear.  Fear is like wearing cement shoes.  It keeps us stuck from pursuing our dreams.  Especially when it comes to love.  We are all so afraid of being hurt, at failing, that we simply forget to be.  There is a much higher price we pay for doing nothing, than if we make a mistake.  Whenever my granddaughter, Katey, makes a mistake, I remind her the reason why erasers are on pencils.  We get to start over.  Every day, if we need to.   No matter how many times I have fallen down,  I know it only counts that I get up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - The Boys of Summer

My love affair with baseball began when I was very young.  Although he was born in England, I think my father became a New York Yankee fan the moment he stepped off the boat at Ellis Island.  During the spring and summer months, and into the fall, no matter where we were, we could hear a play by play, by announcer Mel Allen, blasting on the radio or we were watching the game on TV.  My father took me to many games -- I can remember how we would take the subway to 161st Street in the Bronx, meet up with one of his friends who provided our tickets, and my father would always give the guy a six-pack of Ballentine beer.  We sat in what was then the "press level" somewhere between third base and left field; I just loved being there.  Since I was a collector of baseball cards, I often brought my "stash" with me, just in case.  Of what, I am not sure.  I knew every Yankee player by name, by number, their batting average, RBIs, homers, or a pitcher's ERA.  I was still pretty young, no more than 10 probably.  Sounds impressive?  Maybe.  But, just about all my friends were just as knowledgeable.  

I didn't plan on dating a baseball player, but, it was a bonus for me. I attended so many baseball games, all around the country.   And, as a residual of that relationship, I also became close friends with one of the sports writers, who I talked about in an earlier blog.  That relationship/friendship provided some of the most fun I ever had, often with baseball as a back drop.  There was hardly a time during baseball season, or even football season, when I was not hanging around Steve and all his sports writer buddies.  Guys that had names like Houdini, Loose Shoes, Goose, all of whom worked for either top newspapers or wire services (UPI).  We all partied like crazy. And laughed.  I know Steve would agree, we had a blast!  I knew some of the players like Lou Pinella and George Brett (who I actually met at a hockey game and turned down three times -- once was actually for a date!)  I knew spring training had started each year, when I would receive two phone calls...without fail...one from a local radio announcer, and one from Charlie Lau, who at the time was a batting coach for the KC Royals, and credited with developing George Brett into the hitter he became.  I never had a relationship with Charlie, even though he would call me often, if fact, I only saw him once or twice when out with Steve and the "boys".  We had many long, telephone conversations, and I was saddened when I learned he had died at an early age, of cancer.
Also, during those years, I worked for an airline as a ticket agent, and all the American League umpires would come into our office,  usually to make changes to their airline tickets...yeah, back in the day...:).  I became friends with a few of them, and one in particular, Dale Ford, would make it a point to call my father whenever he was umping a Yankee game, and leave tickets for him at the stadium.  My father referred to Dale as his buddy, and was always so thrilled to go to a game to see his beloved Yankees.   The last time I saw Dale he stopped into the ticket office to say hi and say he would be calling my father the following week. I told Dale that my father had passed away that spring, and Dale felt so badly about that -- even though he had never met my father and only spoke with him on the phone.  It remains a tender memory for me.

I miss the old Yankee Stadium, but, I must say, going to a game at the new Stadium last year was quite a thrill. Imagine sitting in cushioned seats, with waitress service!  I just find it so despicable that the cost of tickets and all the food etc, is so expensive.  You have to practically mortgage your home.  It's so sad.  The game used to be accessible, as were the players, to the fans.  Even so, I still get excited when watching a game and cheering on my Boys of Summer.