Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day 2015

I read this morning somewhere that there are no longer any union mines in Harlan County, KY. I looked up the UMW on the Google and got a bunch of articles about how Obama is anti-coal. The people who run the energy extraction sector can manage two non-contradictory things at once: they can keep Obama at bay, and also destroy unions. Reminds me of a story I read once in the New Yorker, where a mom says to her friend, "well at least they can't be having sex while they're driving around the night at a high rate of speed." And then her kid, who's lying concealed on the couch as mom and her friend walk by the door to the den having this conversation, pops her head up and says, "why not?"

I have to hope that there's something more stable about reasonableness than about the frightening things that swirl around us this Labor Day. Why would ISIS blow up a 2000 year old temple? I used to wonder, back when I was looking at my dad's old set of Britanicas, who in the world would shoot holes in the Spinx, or break the arms off Venus De Milo. I'd be listening to the old Chess 45 of Chuck Berry, looking at the pictures. "Marlo Venus was a beautiful (l)ass, had the world in the palm of her hand, lost both her arms in a wrestling match, to meet a brown-eyed handsome man..." The "(l)ass" was provided by a kid down the street, who had a dirtier mind than I did, and played '45s of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters singing "Annie Had a Baby."

A month after Labor Day in '56 I was walking home from school and saw a headline in the paper rack at Cameron Village (first mall in NC), "Larsen pitches no hitter." This was in the World Series. The games then were in the afternoon. Sometimes the Principal would play them on the PA system, and then we'd walk home and see the last inning or two as the long shadows crossed Yankee Stadium (where all World Series were played). At the movies later in the week we could watch a round up of the games, brief clips of big plays, Martin and Mantle and Yogi, grizzled Casey Stengel opining about what would happen next, Whitey Ford on the mound, or Allie Reynolds, who was a Creek Indian before he was a Cleveland Indian.

I think of that headline, Larsen pitches no hitter, quite a bit. I can see the green paper rack, and where it sat, under a covered sidewalk running along the top tier of shops in Cameron Village. The Village was more than a mall--it was a whole neighborhood of retail stores, just about anything you might want to buy being offered in one or the other. There was a dry cleaners, a hobby shop, a drugstore, a bank, several big department stores, a music store with little booths where you could play a cut or two of a record before buying it. I'd walk through the Village on the way from home to high school, but that was a few years off. I must have been coming from junior high that day, since Fred Olds, where I went to grammar school, was situated such that I'd be home before I ever got to the Village. Maybe I was going to get the papers for my paper route. I delivered the Raleigh Times, the paper sporting that headline, after school. It was a nice job, way better than setting pins in the bowling alley behind our house, which was what I did for a little while during this same period of time, mid-'50s, Raleigh, NC.

Copyright © 2000-2011.
All Rights Reserved by Baseball Almanac, Inc.
Baseball Almanac Box Scores

Brooklyn Dodgers 0, New York Yankees 2
Game played on Monday, October 8, 1956 at Yankee Stadium
Brooklyn Dodgers ab r h rbi
Gilliam 2b 3 0 0 0
Reese ss 3 0 0 0
Snider cf 3 0 0 0
Robinson 3b 3 0 0 0
Hodges 1b 3 0 0 0
Amoros lf 3 0 0 0
Furillo rf 3 0 0 0
Campanella c 3 0 0 0
Maglie p 2 0 0 0
Mitchell ph 1 0 0 0
Totals 27 0 0 0

New York Yankees ab r h rbi
Bauer rf 4 0 1 1
Collins 1b 4 0 1 0
Mantle cf 3 1 1 1
Berra c 3 0 0 0
Slaughter lf 2 0 0 0
Martin 2b 3 0 1 0
McDougald ss 2 0 0 0
Carey 3b 3 1 1 0
Larsen p 2 0 0 0
Totals 26 2 5 2
Brooklyn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 0 0
New York 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 x – 2 5 0

E–None. DP–Brooklyn 2 Reese-Hodges, Hodges-Campanella-Robinson-Campanella-Robinson. HR–New York Mantle (3,4th inning off Maglie 0 on 2 out). Team LOB–0. SH–Larsen (1,off Maglie). Team–3. U–Babe Pinelli, Hank Soar, Dusty Boggess, Larry Napp, Tom Gorman, Ed Runge. T–2:06. A–64,519.

It was about this time, this era, that the NC Legislature passed an early version of the big lie law, the "right to work" law. Michigan now has a "right to work" law, as does Wisconsin. Amazing. I told my writing friend Boyce the other day that this great unraveling we're living in probably started with the end of the Raleigh Times. That came about the same time as the end of day baseball. (the Cubs kept it going, like AmTrak, for a few more decades. I know. I went to 5 day games in a row at Wrigley Field back in '78 or '79, while some of the other Red Clay Ramblers were making the Carter Family record, "Meeting in the Air." They were recording in Chicago and we stayed at the Flying Fish Records office, which was an old frame house next to some tracks which, if you walked them, took you straight to Wrigley Field after about a mile and a half. Now that was a magic secret passage.)

We're pretty far along in this historic disaster. Who's to say we won't end up with Trump. If we do get him, we'll find out if the basic conflict between democratic choice and rational survival has the obvious resolution. On a smaller scale we are already picking survival at every juncture. The NSA still sifts all our records (hi, fellers, happy labor day to ya!). Yesterday a former spokesman for the survivalists, General Powell, said he thought the Iran agreement made sense. That was the most hopeful piece of news I saw this weekend.

The gigantic wave of refugees was kicked off by an incompetent foreign policy disaster led by Powell's superiors, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. I'd imagine that the Army learned its lesson. Then again, military folks believe in chain of command. We see that story all the time. Maybe no one will save us from democracy. In which case, realities will eventually teach us once again all the many things we have managed to forget in only 60 years.

Reality sometimes looks something like this:

No comments:

Post a Comment