The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land. Ralph Waldo Emerson

23 October 2010

The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant! Whoooooooo-OHHHHH!!!

Tonight my beloved San Francisco Giants beat the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 2 to win the National League Championship and punch their ticket to the World Series for the first time in eight years. This is just the fourth time in my lifetime that the Giants have made it to the pinnacle of Major League Baseball.

In 1962--when I was just five years old--the Giants lost the Series to the Yankees in 7 games on a whistling line drive out by Willie McCovey in the bottom of the ninth inning with runners at second and third and trailing 1-0.

In 1989 the Giants were swept by the Oakland A's in a series remembered more for the devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck just prior to the beginning of Game 3 at Candlestick Park. (On a personal note, I was there that night and have the ticket stub to prove it--the only World Series game ever cancelled on account of an earthquake.)

In 2002 the Giants held a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 6, needing just nine outs to win their first Series in nearly fifty years. But the Anaheim Angels scored three runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth to win Game 6, and then coasted to a Game 7 victory as well.

Three berths in the Series. Three failures to reach the pinnacle.

Now comes try # 4.

The last time the Giants won the World Series was in 1954 when they beat a heavily-favored Cleveland Indians team that had 111 games in the regular season.

The World Series opens in San Francisco at the beautiful AT&T Ballpark on Wednesday night.

I feel like a kid at wow wow.

19 October 2010

The Glory Season

Back in February, I wrote about "the glory season" for my part of the world--when the almond blossoms were bursting with their pinkish white explosion of color, the peach trees would soon be blooming, and the landscape was covered in a carpet of green, something that disappears by May when the dry season begins.

But this is the peak of the glory season in other parts of the country, most notably New England. I had the pleasure of living there for three years in the mid 1980's. My family and I lived on Cape Cod, and we took full advantage of the spectacular displays of color in Massachusetts to see it all, breathe it in, and savor it in advance of the stark monochrome landscape of winter set in.

From the bright yellows and deep crimsons of the maple trees to the showy deep red of the cranberry harvest to the bright orange of the pumpkins for sale at the country stores and farmer's markets, Autumn has always been the season when New Englanders have bragging rights over those of us in other parts of the country.

I will never forget a vividly memorable outing my wife and I took to the classic New England village of Weston, Vermont. Weston is the home of the Vermont Country Store, has a beautiful grandstand and gazebo on its village green, and offers a picturesque setting for all that is New England on an autumn afternoon.

Now that I'm covered in walnuts during the harvest this time of year, it's nigh on impossible for me to get away to see the colors during the fall in Massachusetts or Vermont or New Hampshire. But I do often think of those years when I was immersed in the glory season of New England.

02 October 2010

San Francisco Fog

I love San Francisco. It's one of the most beautiful cities in America, blessed with one of the mildest climates and surrounded by some of the most pristine natural beauty of any city in the world.

San Francisco--like all great cities--possesses characteristics that mark its personality. One of those features is the fog that reliably rolls in during most months of the year, particularly in the summertime. The fog lends an ethereal mystery to the city, and it's welcomed by the locals like an old friend.

It is also a major reason that one of the city's most famous quotes is attributed to Mark Twain: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."