Boys of Summer

Sorry, girls, but summer is a season made for boys, and nothing says summer and boys better than baseball.  Well, weddings count too.  To wit:

This good ol' boy in the bleachers was hoping for a White Sox win the other day, but he didn't cry when he didn't get it, because he got to see lots of good ol' baseball in the summertime.

This good ol’ boy in the bleachers was hoping for a White Sox win the other day, but he didn’t cry when he didn’t get it, because he got to see lots of good ol’ baseball in the summertime.

Hard work, but somebody has to do it.  Might as well be these boys.

Hard work, but somebody has to do it. Might as well be these boys.

You mean I get payed to play catch?  Where do I sign up?

You mean I get paid to play catch? Where do I sign up?

Put me in, coach.  I'm ready to save the day.  (Not!!!!)

Put me in, coach. I’m ready to save the day.

This boy knew how to get everybody in the mood for a summer wedding.

This boy knew how to get everybody in the mood for a summer wedding.

Boys always keep their cool, even at July weddings in Florida.

Boys always keep their cool, even at July weddings in Florida.

Jeff Rayl is probably thinking: "Hey, how come they never play 'Here comes the Groom'?"

Jeff Rayl is probably thinking: “Hey, how come they never play ‘Here comes the Groom’?”

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Mind, Body & Spirit

That whole Mind, Body & Spirit thing was drilled into my head as a kid, probably by the influential organizations of my childhood: the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, and the Episcopal Church.  The message was:  You can’t develop one and neglect the other two.  Be fit mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Message received.  And, I am happy to say, I have been working on all three in my dotage, particularly this year.  To wit:

Studying the clarinet with Jason Gresl (right) at Andrews University has pushed my old brain to the max.  Thank you, Jason!

Studying the clarinet with Jason Gresl (right) at Andrews University has pushed my old brain to the max. Thank you, Jason!

Rip Esselstyn taught me how to live and eat plant strong at the Engine 2 Retreat in June.  You go, Rip!

Rip Esselstyn taught me how to live and eat plant strong at the Engine 2 Retreat in June. You go, Rip!

For spiritual development, I turned to Sister Simone Campbell last Saturday for some words of wisdom from her book, A Nun on the Bus.  Ride on, Sister Simone!

For spiritual development, I turned to Sister Simone Campbell last Saturday for some words of wisdom from her book, A Nun on the Bus. Ride on, Sister Simone!

 

 

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Let’s make every day Mother’s Day

Opinion Maker Column

By Charles McKelvy

Photo of yours truly and Mom courtesy of an usher at Orchestra Hall in Chicago after a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Photo of yours truly and Mom courtesy of an usher at Orchestra Hall in Chicago after a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

(Author’s note: This essay appeared originally in The Herald-Palladium Newspaper in Saint Joseph, Michigan on November 30, 2010, just a month after we moved Mom to be near us in Bridgman, Michigan. And, I must say, it did earn the praise of local mothers, including Peggy Schaffer who wrote: “Well! You’ve won your way into every Mother’s heart with this article!”)

When I was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago, editors often told me: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Well, I sure checked it out as soon as I was of sound mind and body, and I thus knew at the tender age of 4 that I was forever blessed to have a loving mother who would go to any lengths to protect, nurture, and comfort her children.

It was at that tender age, you see, when I took deathly ill and was ordered by the family doctor to have my tonsils removed. You students of medicine will be interested to know that I suffered in succession: scarlet fever and tonsillitis. My condition was so severe that the doctor quarantined us in our apartment in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. Some of the neighbors actually moved out in fear of the dreaded scarlet fever.

Well, my mother didn’t move out. Nor did my father.

They were at my side, comforting me in my fever and assuring me I would get better and return to the hyperactive little life I had just been enjoying in my small corner of the Windy City.

Dad, of course, had to go to work to support us, so it was Mom who stayed with me throughout an illness that I still remember—lo these 56 years later—as somewhere beyond dire.

I knew in my fevered brain that I was at death’s door. I was really, really sick and frightened, but my mother was there comforting me and guiding me and praying for me and just putting cool wash cloths on my forehead and never leaving my side.

And then, when the progression of my illness led me to the operating room at the Chicago hospital in which I had been born just four years before, Mom was there with me. She not only stayed in the room with me, but she walked beside me as they wheeled me toward the dreaded operating room, and the frightful “rubber mask” and the rest of it.

She had to walk beside me, because I was a definite “flight risk” who had already jumped off the gurney and tried to book his way out of that creepy, old hospital.

Mom was there when I came to after the operation, and she was there ordering the doctor to bring me the vanilla ice cream he had promised to bring me after my surgery.

The man in the white coat tried to laugh me off, but Mom told him I had been quite serious in ordering ice cream as a post-surgical treat, and so the good doctor went and got some ice cream.

What a Mom!

And what I am getting at here is that although we are now in the Big Holiday season, we might all pause and reflect warmly on that wonderful Sunday in May that we call Mother’s Day.

This is the season of giving, so let’s give thanks for our mothers and say a collective: “Thanks, Mom!”

I was certainly inspired to do so the other day when I was wheeling Mom through the inner sanctum of a Chicago area hospital to an appointment with a doctor who was preparing to perform a surgical procedure upon her. As I pushed her in her wheelchair along the brightly lighted corridor, I glanced into a bay and saw a woman tenderly holding a little boy who just had to be her son and cooing comforting thoughts to him.

That took me back immediately to 1954 when Mom was there for me in the hospital.

I smiled and patted my 89-year-old Mother on the shoulder and said: “Don’t worry, Mom, I’m right here.”

She just nodded and directed me to continue pushing her toward her appointment with the doctor.

What goes around comes around, and what would certainly make this lumpy old planet a lot rounder would be some collective gratitude for the wonders that mothers work in our hearts and in our world.

So why wait until that sunny Sunday in May to say: “Thanks, Mom!”

Every day can be Mother’s Day if we want it to be.

And I’ll cast the first vote in favor.

There, I’m done.

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Sign of Summer

Is this a sign of summer or what?

Is this a sign of summer or what?

 

 

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Bukowski’s “Nirvana”

charleymckelvy:

If this doesn’t bring tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat, nothing, but nothing will.

Originally posted on Poetically Versed:

View original

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Der Ring

Ring Finger

Inspired Writing

by Charles McKelvy

If Mom's ring fits, wear it with love!

If Mom’s ring fits, wear it with love!

I now wear on my right, ring finger a ring that my mother wore most of her 93 years on her right, ring finger.

Mom told me before she died that she wanted me to have the ring her beloved Uncle Donald gave her after he returned from a trip to North Africa, and my sister Missy insisted I take the ring right after our dear Mother went to be with the ancestors on the night of June 4, 2014.

A night none of us will ever forget, that’s for sure.

And I am sure a shootin’ and a rootin’ and a tootin’ as I write this reflection that Mom’s ring has inspired me to write a book about the one and the only: Hannah Dick Macfarlan McKelvy (May 29, 1921-June 4, 2014).

I am not saying the ring has magic powers like the title character in Richard Wagner’s epic operas: Der Ring des Nibelungen. I did not get zapped or feel the heat when I put Mom’s ring on the pinkie finger of my right hand that dark night of June 4, 2014.

Nothing of the sort.

But I knew at once that the ring—Mom’s ring—in and of itself was nothing more than a gold band marked with the signs of the zodiac by an anonymous goldsmith in North Africa. But it is the very ring that dear old Uncle Donald Macfarlan gave little Hannah Dick Macfarlan when she was a girl.

Mom gave me a complete history of the ring, and I am sorry that I don’t have her here right now to remind me of the specifics.

All I know is that I took the ring to our favorite jewelry store in Saint Joseph, Michigan and had our friend Chip size the ring for me so I could wear it on my right, ring finger.

Chip did a marvelous job, and when I put it on my right, ring finger in his shop on the very weekend of the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff that Mom loved so much, Chip grinned and said I had made Mom very, very, very happy.

I know I did, and I know the ring is a sacramental of sorts in that it is an outward sign of Mom’s inward presence in my heart.

I kid with my brother and sister that I have to be a good boy when I wear Mom’s ring, and they say that is entirely true.

But I am not kidding when I state that my right hand has wanted to grasp my favorite fountain pen and write to the point of writer’s cramp about Mom since I placed Mom’s ring on my right, ring finger.

Is it a magic ring?

Does it have good karma?

Is it an outward sign of Mom’s presence in my heart?

Definitely!!!!

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Sunday Ride

We enjoy our Sunday bike rides from Harbert to Three Oaks and New Buffalo and back.  Yesterday, we saw evidence of the recent wheat harvest on Schwark Road near Kruger Road.

We enjoy our Sunday bike rides from Harbert to Three Oaks and New Buffalo and back. Yesterday, we saw evidence of the recent wheat harvest on Schwark Road near Kruger Road.

Sunset at Camp Sokol in New Buffalo.

Sunset at Camp Sokol in New Buffalo.

Day is done, gone the boaters.

Day is done, gone the boaters.

Time for the owls to get up.

Time for the owls to get up.

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