Letting the mind wander, again …
Random thoughts while shaking off the impacts of re-entry into the labor force after vacation — not to mention filling out roughly 18 pounds of paperwork for my new bosses, who took over while I was gone.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
View from a section of Main Street in historic Cooperstown, N.Y.
Cooperstown, N.Y., site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, might be the finest place I’ve ever visited — probably because it reminds me so much of home. Except home doesn’t have several thousand tourists, a shrine to what used to be known as the National Pastime, two craft breweries and places every 100 feet where baseball bats or fake antique advertising signs featuring Shoeless Joe Jackson can be purchased.
What Cooperstown and my hometown of Danbury, N.C. do have in common is picturesque old homes, mountain scenery, streets right out of the late 1800s, acres of farmland, a Civil War monument and quaintness out the wazoo.
Cooperstown, by the way, is where we spent part of our vacation. It’s the ancestral home of writer James Fenimore Cooper, author of “Last of the Mohicans.”
The lake there is even more majestic than he described.
Those planning to go to Cooperstown should plan on two days at least. I was in the baseball museum for about seven hours in all and there’s still plenty left to see and read.
My favorite thing there? The uniform of Eddie Gaedel, the 3 foot, 7 inch-tall dwarf sent to the plate in 1951 by St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck. He walked on four straight pitches and was replaced by a pinch runner. It was his only appearance.
Gaedel’s uniform number? 1/8.
Now that’s why you go to a museum.
Second favorite thing: The area dedicated to Hank Aaron. It featured the home run crown once owned by Babe Ruth, which was given to Hammerin’ Hank when he took the crown.
Note that it hasn’t been passed on to anyone else. For my money, Aaron is still very much the home run king and will be until the steroid era is well into the rearview mirror.
Let those oversized freaks remain nameless.
One thing I missed in Cooperstown was the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum. Maybe I was put off by the life-sized figure of George Steinbrenner standing at the entrance.
So there’s something to go back and see.
Andy Griffith, just about the most famous person ever from North Carolina, died last week. We already lost Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs this year. It reminded me that many of our most famous current and former residents are aging rapidly and in declining health. The Rev. Billy Graham — the most famous person ever from North Carolina — comes to mind. Dean Smith’s another.
Don’t see many climbing up to fill their shoes.
I used to think that Danbury, the town where I grew up, could very well be the basis for Andy Griffith’s fictional Mayberry. After all, there was a sheriff (sometimes named Taylor), a courthouse, a street with houses featuring porches canopied by shade trees, and bluegrass music.
Truth is, it looks more like Mayberry than Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy.
The biggest difference between Mayberry and Danbury? Mayberry had only one town drunk.
I’m just kidding.
But not really.
I finally figured out, though, that Danbury couldn’t be Mayberry. In an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” Sheriff Andy Taylor takes the afternoon off and Barney Fife, his trusty deputy, says it shouldn’t be a problem because Andy will be at a lake just over the county line … in Stokes County.
But it made me proud to hear the name of my home county on a big-time Hollywood TV show.
The things you can find via Google. I was thinking about this particular song line all day Tuesday, when Andy Griffith’s death began to become known. Sheriff Andy Taylor sang it as an addition to a ditty about his deputy. To the tune of “My Darlin’ Clementine” … “Oh, my Barney, oh, my Barney, had a jail and couldn’t lock it. Had one bullet for his pistol, had to keep it in his pocket.”
Reruns of the AMC drama series “Breaking Bad” are seriously impacting my sleep schedule.
So are all those health insurance forms we filled out all week at work.
I probably needed a correspondence course in underwriting to do the job properly.
Reading a list of fireworks safety tips, I came to the conclusion that if you include adult supervision, eliminate alcohol, actually follow the instructions and refrain from using fireworks deemed illegal in North Carolina there’s really no point to it at all.
When it comes to current politics or culture I’ve decided that horror writer Stephen King has a better grip on reality than most Americans today.
By the way, what do Mayberry, Cooperstown and Danbury have in common? They all either remind folks of home — or the place they wish they could call home.