Redbirds close out a good year

Well, it’s all over. The Astros convincingly beat the Cardinals in 6 games of the NLCS and they’re on their way to their first ever World Series. They’re a class team and I’ll be rooting for them in the Series.

I guess the poignancy of the end of Busch Stadium, the only stadium I’ve ever known, somewhat overshadows the loss and the end of the season. There’ll be another season; just not in this ballpark. My dad put some perspective on it the other day when he commented that he remembers feeling like this over the old Sportsman Park, but then he realized that the Cardinals had more years in this Busch Stadium than the old park. Turns out he may be off by a couple of years, but his point hit home with me. Ball parks, like most everything in this life, come and go; it’s just a building. Kinda like a church. It’s time for a new generation to capture some new memories in the new ballpark.

We’re lucky here in St. Louis; we have a good team most every year; I can’t complain.

What a Weekend!

It all started Friday afternoon. I left work a little early so as to renew my license plates. They were already overdue, of course. The DMV near my house has closed, so I happily drove to the nearest location, which is not-so-near my house. I joined the line of similarly-natured folks and soon enough noticed a hand-written sign on the wall reading, “We do not accept Credit or Debit Cards.” Now, first of all, can the state of Missouri not afford a real sign? And second of all, why not? Anyway, I left. What do I care, I have a pleasant evening and weekend ahead of me, I’ll just come back in the morning and get this all straightened out. So, the evening rolls around; Annette is visiting her sister, Emily is coming home tomorrow (Sat.) for a family wedding, and I have the evening to myself. And thus is began.

Still Friday evening the phone rings and it’s Emily. She had told us that she had a ride to St. Charles and we would then pick her up there sometime Saturday. She tells me that she’s arrived at her destination and is calling to give me directions for tomorrow.

I say, “Where in St. Charles are you?”

She answers, “High Hill.”

I exclaim, “High Hill? High Hill, Missouri?!”

She says something like, “I guess so.”

I explain, “That is not St. Charles!” as if that would somehow mean something to her. She really can’t conceive of logistics of what now awaits me. There was already a wedding Saturday night to get to, then Church on Sunday morning, of course, and then Annette had invited her mother and aunt over for dinner Sunday evening. So, a trip to St. Charles, OK, I can squeeze that in. But, High Hill MO? And, of course, we’d have to get her back there sometime when? Why Sunday night, of course, after our dinner guests had gone.

So, Saturday morning rolls around and I take off for Nowheresville Missouri, leaving Annette at home to ready herself for the wedding and the house for Sunday night. It was a pleasant enough trip; I pick her up and on the way home we stop for gas. Annette had asked me to get a quart of oil and put it in the car, so I did that.

Saturday night, the wedding was wonderful. How shall I describe Tara? I call her my niece. She’s my cousin’s daughter. But, that cousin is, and largely has been, absent from all of our lives. So, I tend to look at her through my Aunt Beth’s eyes; she Beth’s grand-daughter. I choked back tears at the wedding, when her dad walked her down the aisle and stood next to her during the ceremony. I always liked that part of the ceremony: the father stands right between the bride and groom for much of the early part of it. The father is symbolically between bride and groom. Only after asking the father, “Who gives this bride away?” does the father then join the rest of the family in their seats. Nowadays, as Tara’s dad did, you answer, “Her mother and I do.”

(The Cardinals were polite enough to wait until after the reception to start their game, so we went home and I got to watch them clinch the series against the Padres.)

Sunday morning comes, and as I’m sitting in Church next to Annette, we hear the Pastor say, “And don’t forget, the Church Picnic is this afternoon.” We both look at each other and if we were cartoon characters, there would’ve been a balloon over both our heads that read, “Crap!” I’d forgotten about the picnic and I was supposed to help with it. She glared at me for a moment and then mercifully said, “You’re on your own.” So, after Sunday School I went to the picnic and she went home to get ready for our dinner guests. Upon returning home from the picnic, I was walking into the house and noticed that Annette’s car was badly leaking oil. I went inside and announced, “Your car is badly leaking oil.” She immediately said, “Did you put oil in it yesterday?” I reflected for a brief moment and then that balloon appeared above my head again. “Crap!” I had neglected to put the oil cap back on. Turns out she has some experience in this area and took the news quite well.

Well, the dinner went fabulous and afterward, we all piled in my old ’91 Corrolla that has expired plates, and drove to High Hill, Missouri. Great family time, eh?

Maybe…

A quote from Peggy Noonan today:

Here are some maybes. Maybe the president has simply concluded he has no more elections to face and no longer needs his own troops to wage the ground war and contribute money. Maybe with no more elections to face he’s indulging a desire to show them who’s boss. Maybe he has concluded he has a deep and unwavering strain of support within the party that, come what may, will stick with him no matter what. Maybe he isn’t all that conservative a fellow, or at least all that conservative in the old, usual ways, and has been waiting for someone to notice. Maybe he has decided the era of hoping for small government is over. Maybe he is a big-government Republican who has a shrewder and more deeply informed sense of the right than his father did, but who ultimately sees the right not as a thing he is of but a thing he must appease, defy, please or manipulate. Maybe after five years he is fully revealing himself. Maybe he is unveiling a new path that he has not fully articulated–he’ll call the shots from his gut and leave the commentary to the eggheads. Maybe he’s totally blowing it with his base, and in so doing endangering the present meaning and future prospects of his party.

Hey Peggy, I’ve got one you forgot to add: Maybe Ms. Miers is a smart, conservative cookie and she’ll make a great Justice.

Supreme Deflation

This is the first time I’ve disagreed with so many conservatives. I’m talking, of course, of the nomination to the Supreme Court of Harriet Miers. Most conservative pundits; and that is most, not all, have been “deflated” as a result of this nomination. I use the word deflated because it seems to appear most in the editorials I’ve been reading, and I think it describes what all these conservatives are feeling. “Angry” is another word; yes, cheated and angry.

They don’t know where she stands on abortion? Oh, gosh, let’s see… I’ll bet she’s pro-choice! Yeah, right. But she’s never been a judge! Good, I say. It’ll do the Court good to have someone who’s worked for a living serving. And besides, it won’t be the first time a nominee has never worked as a judge and it won’t be the last time. It’s cronyism I tell ya! Oooh, that one really hurts! Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing! (Do I sound like Jon Stewart yet?) She’s a single woman, never married, no kids, was the first woman to do about ten different things in the country of Texas, and then she became the President of the United States’ lawyer; surely that counts for something.

Besides, it’s the Senate’s job to confirm her or not to confirm her. They are elected representatives. If the don’t like her, fine; vote her down and let’s do it again; no problem. I’m willing to be that they’ll (and most Americans) will love her.

Election 2008 update: I just wanted to re-establish where I stand on the next presidential race: Since just after the 2000 election (that’s 2000, not 2004), I’ve been predicting the race between Guliani and Clinton. Ask Wally if you don’t believe me. Anyway, at this point, I have no reason to change my mind. That’s who I think will be your candidates in 2008. Guliani will win. Now, having said that, I would gladly eat my words if my candidate would run. I don’t think he will, but a boy can hope. The smart Bush boy, Jeb.

Religious Holiday in St. Louis

Yes, people stopped working and were nice to each other, bosses left early, trials were recessed; everyone just took a break today from their daily grind to take in the 1st play-off game between the Cardinals and the Padres. While listening to the game on the radio, the fans were roaring so loud, they were drowning out the announcers. It’s the last post-season that will ever be played at the beautiful post-modern Busch Stadium and we all hope it will last until the end of October when the Redbirds will win their 10th World Championship under the steady hand of #10 Tony LaRussa. (Watch for the movie about Tony based on the book Three Nights in August.)

It would be hard to describe the atmosphere in St. Louis during these times if one was not familiar with it. One of the women I work with is a devout Muslim and she wore a big bright red Cardinal T-shirt today. Very unusual.

The Cardinals won against the hapless Padres; it was 8-to-1 most of the game but then in the top of the 9th they had the winning run at the plate. And then they lost. So sad.