Monday, March 11, 2013

mailbox baseball and other musings

Today I was going to meet a friend who lives in Fairfield County for lunch in Seymour. The easiest way to get to Seymour for me is to go down Cornwall to Mountain Road and then across Bethany Mountain to Bethany and through Beacon Falls to Route 8. Much of the way to Route 8 is through parts of Cheshire, Bethany and Beacon Falls where people have mailboxes on the side of the road. I was astonished (as I often am) by the extremes people go to to protect their mailboxes from mailbox baseball.

(If you don't know about mailbox baseball, this is how it goes. One teenage boy drives a car slowly down the road and another teenage boy--I just can't see teenage girls doing this...there are some gender specific activities and this is one of them--is leading out of the passenger seat window with a baseball bat which he uses to smash as many mailboxes as he can. Just smashing them up a bit is like a single but knocking them off whatever is securing them to the ground is a home-run. I would go into a long diatribe about how teenage boys are assholes these days for doing wanton acts of violence with a baseball bat, but then I remember how, as a teenage boy, we used to get across the fences around coal company property and steal copper. We had no need for copper and left it along the road after we'd stolen it, but that's what we did since people got their mail at the post office in southern West Virginia and mailbox baseball wasn't a possible form of teenage boy entertainment.)

Some people have actually built little buildings around their mailboxes. Some have resorted to concrete supports. Others have put what looks like metal poles on the driver side side of their mailboxes. The most amusing one I saw was someone who had piled up what looked like tractor trailer truck tires and the mail box was inside them, pointing up.

What kind of juvenile delinquents would do such destructive things?

Well, just this year, my son, who is 37 and has three children, told me that in his Senior year of High School he was acclaimed the "Mail Box Baseball Champion" of Cheshire. Apparently this idiots keep statistics and Josh was the best! He was a bit embarrassed and a tad proud to share this accomplishment.....

I was never good at climbing fences and stealing copper wire....

I'm reading a mystery called The Altered Case by Peter Turnbull. It takes place is Yorkshire but it is written in a style that belies the grittiness of most Yorkshire mysteries. (Being a devoted reader of British and Scandinavian and some American Crime Fiction, I've decided, from all I've read, that Yorkshire is a very dangerous place. At least 3 or 4 of my favorite mystery writers write about the whole Yorke/Leeds area and lots of people get murdered there.

But Turnbull has a different style. There is the prerequisite murder--in fact 5 murders, a mother, father, two daughters and friend of the daughter from London found in a deep grave on Yorkshire farmland 30 years after they were killed. But the style is just so different. If Barbara Pimm or Alexander Smith McCall ever wrote a Yorkshire murder mystery, it would be like this: very polite and calm and oh-so-British. I've been deep into Robinson's series about Inspector Banks (which is also a BBC TV series) that tripping across Turnbull's much more urbane and sophisticated Hennessey and Yellich series is remarkable.

Hennessy, in the Trumbull series, took his young wife's ashes (who died from sudden death syndrome--aka, no reason for dying) and put them in his back yard (or 'garden' as the British say) and when he comes home at night takes a drink out and tells her about his day.

I've decided to do that with Bern's ashes if I happen (small chance!) to outlive her. And every afternoon I'll take my first glass of Pinot Grigio out on the deck and tell her stuff like this: "I was noticing how people try to protect their mailboxes from mailbox baseball and I played 20 hands of hearts on my computer and I took a nap about 3 and I had seafood salad for lunch and I watched MSNBC to renew my liberal biases..." Not a lot to report from my days....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.