My Sole Journey into Poetry

I’m no poet. But once, for reasons I can’t recall, I was inspired to write a poem—about the 1987 MLB All-Star Game. 

The game went into the 13th inning with no score. The National League finally crossed the plate twice in the top of the inning. In the bottom half, the American League hopes rested on the backs of three players that, at the time, I’d never heard of—Kevin Seitzer (Royals), Pat Tabler (Indians), and Matt Nokes (Tigers). When the game finally ended with a 2-0 National League win, I sat down and wrote this:

It was the last of the thirteenth
They were down by just two
It’s up to Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

They were the last hope
For the American Crew
They were Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

And up in the stands
Many voices cried, “Who
Are Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes?”

But there in the spotlight
Among the chosen, the few
Were Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

In came Fernandez
The crowd gasped as he threw
To Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

Sid threw four balls to Kevin
Things began to look blue
But not for Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

But Pat’s efforts were puny
His results were few
Seitzer walked, Tabler choked, now it’s Nokes

With Winfield in deck
Matt knew what to do
Come on Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes!

I’d like to say they were heroes
But when they were through
They were just Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

Whatever afflicted these three
Caught up with Dave, too
He choked like Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

Why they were out there
I haven’t a clue
Goodbye Seitzer and Tabler and Nokes

And there you have it—my only attempt at poetry. You’re welcome.

Other players mentioned are Sid Fernandez (Mets) and Dave Winfield (Yankees).

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Rock House Ice Cream

We weren’t looking for a meal after eating lunch at Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe, but ice cream sounded good. I decided to try Rock House, which I’ve driven past several times but never stopped at.

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The girls working behind the counter were very friendly. I ordered raspberry with chocolate chips. Sally had rum raisin, but she liked it anyway. We ate on the front patio and looked across the road at Sally’s mountain. My ice cream was a bit too sweet, but I’m not an ice cream snob, so my opinion isn’t significant.

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Garden of the Gods Market & Cafe

We now officially have a favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs. Everything we had here was amazing.

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We didn’t buy anything in the market, but we wandered around and looked while we waiting for our table.

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We split an order of chips with guacamole and salsa, all of which were the best we’ve ever had. Sal ordered grilled cheese with tomato soup and sang its praises the entire time she ate. I had a bacon cheeseburger that was also delicious (although the sauce was a bit too strong). The fries, which I generally can take or leave, were fantastic.

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There’s just one downside—it was pricey. We’ve already decided to split an entree and side next time we go. But yea, we’ll be back.

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Colorado Springs Sky Sox vs. Tacoma Rainiers

Perseverance pays off. Our two previous attempts to see a Sky Sox game were unsuccessful—the first because of rain, the second because the field was in bad shape from rain the night before. As we walked out of the park after the second cancelled game, we were told our tickets were good two-for-one for any other game this season. I used one of them for another Friday night game so Sal could finally see her fireworks show. 

The Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple A team of the Seattle Mariners, were in town. As we walked into the park, it all seemed so very familiar—complete with black clouds and rain. This time, however, there was no tarp on the field. 

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Our seats were right behind home plate, six rows up. We huddled under Sally’s umbrella and waited for the game to be delayed. But no! They actually started the game in a steady rain! It kept up for about an inning, then stopped, then started, then stopped, then started, and so on, never very hard but enough to keep everything damp.

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I noticed the name of the Rainiers right fielder, Boog Powell. I looked him up and discovered that he is no relation to the Boog Powell who played for Baltimore back in the ’60s and ’70s. I also discovered that he’s been suspended twice for taking illegal substances, which made me inclined to root for the Sky Sox. But that was difficult too, because they’re the Brewers’ farm team (and the Brewers were beating the Cubs at the very time we were watching this game).

There were other names I recognized. On Tacoma, Daniel Vogelbach was drafted by the Cubs before being traded to the Mariners for Mike Montgomery. Second baseman Gordon Beckham played for the White Sox for a couple years. For Colorado Springs, Keon Broxton has been up with Milwaukee, and Ivan De Jesus Jr. has played for the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Reds. His father, Ivan De Jesus, played for the Cubs. In total, of the 27 players who made it into the game, 18 of them have seen some Major League action (albeit, in a few cases, very brief).

Boog Powell hit a solo home run in the second (figures). The teams traded runs in the fourth. The Sky Sox scored thanks to a throwing error by the Tacoma third baseman who misplayed a grounder and then wildly tossed the ball into the first-base dugout. The Sky Sox returned the favor in the fifth when the pitcher fielded a bunt and threw the ball down the line into the bullpen, allowing the runner to get to second and later score.

Colorado Springs tied the game in the seventh on a home run by Andrew Susac and a couple of base hits. Nobody scored in the eighth or ninth. We were rooting for a quick ending by either team, and Tacoma obliged us when Gordon Beckham homered in the top of the 10th. The Rainiers won 4-3.

The level of play was impressive. Both starting pitchers had pretty good stuff. We saw some good hitting and good fielding. The throws were a little bit erratic now and again.

I forgot my camera, so all my photos look like this. This batter happens to be Gordon Beckham.

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Sally was entertained by a young girl in the row in front of us who smiled easily and was a bit of a ham.

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In the section to our left, three women watched the game without excitement. But I noticed that every time Mauricio Dubon came to bat, one of them would move down to a particular seat in the second row and stare out at the field. She didn’t cheer or smile or anything, but the one time, in the bottom of the seventh, when Dubon singled and drove in a run, she turned around to the other women and said, “See, it’s this seat.” Then she returned to her original spot. That’s her in the gray sweatshirt with her eyes closed. . 

The car on the field was done up like Doc Hudson from Pixar’s Cars. I asked Sally if it was the real car from the cartoon. She’s not that dumb.

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The big excitement came in the seventh when I caught one of the bags of sunflower seeds being tossed into the crowd by the ushers. I had two and decided they were too much work for the effort. Sally enjoyed them.

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There were plenty of empty seats in the park, but we were fortunate enough to have a family of three sit behind us. They showed up in the third inning, left after the fourth, then came back in the eighth for the rest of the game. The daughter (I think) was about 10 and had a deep voice. She clocked me in the head with her elbow when she first arrived. She was eating chili-cheese fries while her mother berated her for the mess she was going to make. The girl didn’t take this, or anything else her mother said, seriously, and for good reason. When her mom wasn’t swearing at her, she was trying to be her best friend with a non-stop banter that she thought was very clever. For example, she thought it was hilarious that she kept referring to Sky Sox player Kyle Wren as Kylo Ren. When she wasn’t being clever, she was insulting her boyfriend, telling him to shut up or to stop eating with hot dog in his mouth. I know it was her boyfriend because she talked about after they “got hitched.” I wanted to turn around and tell the guy that there’s no way the marriage would last. If she treated him like this before they were married, just wait. But I didn’t. The guy was wearing several gallons of cologne, which gave me a headache and made Sally’s nose run. He kept singing along (with food in his mouth) to the songs that played over the speakers and explaining things about baseball (usually incorrectly).

We moved up to the top of the grandstands for the post-game fireworks. The show was short but nice, and much better than the daytime show we saw the first time we were at the  park. We got back to  Chase’s a little after 11:00. 

Plays  box       

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Ivy’s Chinese Cafe

Ivy’s is a typical hole-in-the-wall, strip mall Chinese restaurant that only gets mention because it’s very close to our house and the food is really good.

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I had beef fried rice. I don’t remember what Sally had, but she said it was really good. The wontons, egg rolls, and soup were also delicious. It had the ambiance and crowd generally seen in Chinese restaurants.

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I didn’t think our fortunes boded well for the future of our marriage.

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I also wonder how long it would take to learn Chinese one fortune cookie at a time.

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It’s less than a mile from our house. We will be back.

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Chipmunks and Elk

On the grand tour we gave Linda and Barb, we drove from Victor to Cripple Creek (where we paused only long enough to see the wandering burros) to Florissant. We ate lunch at Costello Street, the headed to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument for a walk cut short by a looming thunderstorm. We were there long enough to see a family of Colorado Chipmunks in the ponderosa pines.

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We stopped at the Donut Mill in Woodland Park for donuts and ice cream, then headed north to Deckers. We drove along the Platte River for a while, with the rain coming and going every few minutes. We cut through the mountains on a dirt road to Sedalia, then headed south on Route 105. Just a few miles north of Monument, I spotted a herd of seven Elk in a field along the road. Even though we were at least 250 yards away, they were aware of us and moved slowly up the hill into the trees.

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I spotted four Wild Turkeys in a pasture a mile or so later. We stopped at Rosie’s in Monument for supper before I took Linda and Barb back to their hotel.

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Vindicator Valley

On Sunday, we took Linda and Barb up into the mountains to Victor. We spent a half hour wandering the Vindicator Valley Trail, enjoying the view.

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Wyoming Ground Squirrel in hiding

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Female Mountain Bluebird

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Even at the relatively early hour of 9:00 am, the sun was intense and the light was glary.

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A shopkeeper in Victor told me that the mine still owns the land and the old buildings and that within the next five to ten years, they plan on mining the entire area. All the old buildings will be lost unless the town can convince them to move them. I told her I thought the whole trail and the town should be turned into a National Historic Park.

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Recent Sunsets

Most of the time when I walk after work in Monument, I cut through somebody’s yard and hike up the hill (about 300 feet of elevation gain) to Fairplay Road and walk along the ridge. I usually head out around 7:00 when the sun is less intense—which puts me in a great position to see the sunsets. Here are several from recent weeks. 

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Hooked on Books

While we were downtown to see the Uncle Wilber Fountain, I happened upon a bookstore filled with historical works and books from the early to mid-20th century. While Sally, Barb, and Linda sat and relaxed, I wandered the shelves until I found a book—The Secret Life of Words, by Henry Hitchings. It’s a new location for an older store, half of which is located a few miles northeast.

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Uncle Wilbur Fountain

Every hour on the hour on summer afternoons, Uncle Wilber rises up under his blue dome and plays his tuba. He can be found in downtown Colorado Springs in Acacia Park. We arrived a few minutes late when the show was half over.

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Posted in Sculptures and Statues | 3 Comments