Day 28 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Baseball

Last week, I went to my third New York Yankees game at Yankee Stadium. They played the San Francisco Giants and lost 2-1 in 12 innings.

The New York Yankees is my favorite MLB team, but I’m not a rival-hating crazy fan. Growing up in New Jersey, the Yankees and the Mets were always on television, and I tended to gravitate towards watching the Yankees. I do remember watching the Mets in the 1986 world series against the Red Sox, and I can clearly picture Game 7 in my mind’s eye. My grandma also liked the Mets and I remember watching games with her.

One of my biggest regrets was never going to Yankee Stadium to see Tino, Jeter, Pettite, Rivera, Posada, Williams, and the rest from that championship era play in action. I did see them all last year at the Yankees home game on August 22 when Posada was honored.

Saturday marked two years in a row I went with my friends M & D to see a Yankees home game, and we agreed this will be a yearly tradition, no matter what.  Perhaps next year we will go to Old Timers’ Day, one of my bucket list items. I’d also love to attend a game in Fenway, at Citi Field, and in Toronto someday. Maybe I’d like to hit every stadium…that might be something to think about!

Anyway, Saturday’s game was hot, but we got used to the heat rather quickly. And we were the smart ones…our cheapo 400-level seats were in the shade under an overhang the entire time, plus we enjoyed a breeze during the whole game. My highlights: getting to see Aroldis Chapman pitch (since he was traded two days later), watching Didi score, seeing Brett Gardner (my favorite), and the grounds crew’s performance to “YMCA.” It was Military Appreciation Day, and there were about 20 young people who took their oath for the US Army right on the field.

The awesome-ist moment: I stumbled upon the last two June “Pins of the Month” in the stadium, which had my favorite character ever on it…Boba Fett!   Can you believe it?!?!? I didn’t even know about this pin before I saw it, and they were honestly the last 2 in the stadium (bought them both, one for my collection and one to wear). I also purchased the Chewbacca July “Pin of the Month” for my collection.

A simple game, a simple day, leaving me with a stronger friendship and wonderful memories.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

I can’t wait to return in August with my two nephews for their first Yankees game….on Star Wars Night! May the force be with the Yankees! I can’t wait to see which Star Wars character will adorn August’s pin of the month!

 

Day 04 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Red, White, Blue

Happy Fourth of July, friends, and Happy 240th Birthday to America! If you know me personally, you know that I love my country and I am an advocate for those who choose to serve. Yes, I AM a Yankee Doodle Dandy, and proud to be one!

With that being said, I would like to share something special to honor today’s prompt of RED, WHITE, BLUE. However, there will be photographs to accompany my story other than a meme at the end. I hope my words convey to you what I feel in my heart.

In June, I was asked by my 5-year-old nephew H to go to his preschool graduation ceremonies. “Please come to my graduations, Auntie Jill!” Of course I would go…how could I turn him down with his pleading brown eyes and his dazzling smile?

The two ceremonies were a week apart. As I sat in the audience of the first ceremony with family, we all looked for him during the processional, and there he was! Once he was on stage, he saw us all and waved. All of the little boys and girls wore red and blue graduation caps and gowns. The ceremony was lovely, and the children did a great job with their performances.

Towards the end, the children sang one more very special (and very secret) song. Each little hand held out a small American Flag as the song began, and together sang “God Bless The U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood. Immediately the tears welled in my eyes, but I was able to keep control because H’s little brother had fallen asleep on my lap. Part of me wanted to record this moment, but replaying in my mind’s eye versus on a device is more memorable. Those little voices singing about pride in their country while waving their little flags…I was immediately flooded with mental images of flags on every house after 9-11, of a country pulling together, of those who chose to defeat evil by serving, of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving…I could hear crowds yelling “USA” at sporting events and concerts, and our nation’s anthem sung at the top of everyone’s lungs…I could taste the unwavering pride for our country that we shared so strongly, a pride that has, sadly, since waned….

After the children finished their song, the graduation concluded and the red and blue gowns walked through the audience one last time. As H came by us, he had his little flag in front of him in one hand, his preschool diploma in the other, and a huge smile of accomplishment on his face. We went outside after pictures and cake.  I picked up H and told him how special that song was to me and how proud I was of him for singing it so wonderfully. He just looked me in the eyes, cupped my face, and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Fast forward to one week later for the second ceremony. The little graduates came out on stage at the beginning, and each was wearing red, white, and blue. Some had on patriotic hats. And what song do you think they opened the ceremony with? That’s right…”God Bless The U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood. The tears welled again as the angelic voices joined together in harmony, but once again, I was on little brother duty and tried to keep him quiet as he yelled, “My brother up there! My brother up there!” Another moving and special tribute excellently done by the graduates.

I was recanting this story for someone recently, and he said, “What a way to indoctrinate those little kids. Propaganda.”

Instead of responding, which would have been useless, I just looked at him in disbelief.

That is when I realized that THAT’S what’s so wrong with our country. The belief that everything’s a conspiracy, that everything is someone else’s fault, that people pass judgement so quickly without being open to all sides and are so quick to dismiss because of their own elitist views.

Here were two groups of children, showing pride in their country through song with no ulterior motive. It was a simple performance. I do not have children, but if I did and if my child took part in these ceremonies, I would have thanked the teachers and the staff for educating my child about pride and about our country.

I have never forgotten how much my world changed on September 11, 2001. I will never forget the first baseball game and NASCAR race televised afterwards. I will never forget seeing each victim’s name engraved at the 9-11 Memorial. I will never forget names like Nicholas Ott, Ronald Kubik, Christopher Duffy, and Vincent Frassetto, who demonstrated ultimate bravery while making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The only good thing I took away from that awful, horrid day in 2001 was a renewed pride in my country, no matter what. Regardless of the many acrimonious political/social/religious views and strife among us, the United States of America is our homeland. No, everything’s not perfect here in America, and improvement is needed in so many ways, but we can still come together and join hands. We can unite and support each other.

We can take pride in the RED, WHITE, AND BLUE.

Just as those little children weren’t embarrassed to sing “God Bless The USA,” I am not embarrassed to respect my country. I thank H and his preschool friends for reminding me of that.

I am proud to be an American every day, not just today.

Happy 240th Birthday, America!

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Day 02 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Bloom

File_000Bloom. There are so many ways I interpret this word, but they all have the same action in common: coming out of a shell in order to live while displaying beauty. I’ve been awed by how many orange day lily blooms I’ve had bloom this summer…so many more than usual! Sadly, this beautiful orange display is ending its short exhibit, as I only have two buds left, and both should open today. But that’s nature, all in its own time. I tried to mirror the photography technique of my friend C when I took this picture the other night; this bloom was lit by the evening sun and stood out from the rest.

My sweet-smelling milkweed is also in full bloom today. In the past, I’ve had full milkweed blooms in the middle of May, but this year’s blooms didn’t open until this week…the latest ever. Additionally, A few years ago, I had a rogue tiger lily appear in my garden, and since, it has multiplied into several plants. This year, most of them are already taller than I am, and I’m 5′ 5″! They should be the next perennials to bloom.

I’m finding that I, myself, am undertaking the progress of blooming. I am coming out of my self-imposed shell of solitude in order to live, and my hope is that my words will be what displays the most beauty.  We’ll see.

Something to SEA: Tomorrow Is Day 1 of 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016

Hello, friends!

Just a reminder that you can join me in celebrating my most favorite time of the year by participating in 31 Days of Summer Lovin’ 2016!

For every day in July beginning with July 1, there is a one-word prompt relating to summer.  How you respond to that prompt is up to you, either through your words or your pictures. The goal is for you to slow down, and on each day, focus on one glorious aspect of summer. As a result, you will hopefully have a renewed appreciation for the little things that summer brings our way, as well as 31 days of fond memories to look back upon.

Here are some ways you can participate:

I’m looking forward to loving the Summer of 2016 along with you!

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