A Fork In The Road…

Initially, my reaction to the passing of Yogi Berra was sinking sadness, but…what a  glorious life of unbelievable accomplishments to be celebrated. 10 rings? That record may stand forever. Yankee Stadium had the vibe of completeness when Yogi was in the house. All the Yankee reminiscing got me thinking about baseball ghosts. Everyone knows I love to read, write and carry on about the paranormal, but the ghosts of Yankee Stadium…I know they exist. I saw them. It was a moment…I was alone, but doesn’t the most extraordinary stuff always happen when you’re alone?

All Star Game

July 31, 2007. Of course, Scott and I were in the Stadium when this logo was unveiled. We were there for every series from 2002-2010–sometimes twice a week. I don’t know how we pulled it off, but back then parking was $14 and tickets were $30-ish. We left NJ around 2:30pm and didn’t get home until midnight. I did it with no sleep. Scott somehow ran a business with those ridiculous hours.  161st St. and River Ave. was the center of our universe.

Once the All-Star Game was announced for the Final Season of Yankee Stadium, I was going…hell, high water or a massive credit card bill. This time the big $ on my Visa was worth it. All-Star Week was hot—typical July in New York. Insider, pre-game tip—hide in the back bar of The Dugout—their air-conditioning is cold enough to freeze your blood. Monday night was the Home Run Derby and Josh Hamilton put on a show for the ages. Our hearts were already rooting for him–crazy story for another day–but Aura and Mystique were in his corner too.  The whole crowd was chanting his name, and the Yankee Stadium crowd rarely chants for anyone but a Yankee. They did that night. Josh rocketed home runs off the Utz Potato Chip sign, splintering old wood and leaving dents that would never be repaired…if anyone’s  home runs deserved to land on River Ave…   And he didn’t even win.  But every Home Run Derby since, they show clips of that legendary performance.

Mo ASG

Looking through pictures from that All-Star Week triggered a slew of memories, like Mariano playing catch with his sons. The dancing mascot parade. 3 Doors Down’s awesome performance and the band members running up to Mariano in the dugout afterward—to shake his hand—the best closer in the history of baseball. Mariano, Derek and Alex playing host to the entire baseball galaxy and an opening ceremony that only the Yankees could pull off. All-Stars and Hall of Famers from every position on the field together, and oh yes, the Stealth Bomber—no opening ceremony since has come close to that one. I’m pretty sure none ever will.

Yankee Post 2

Okay…enough babbling, back to the ghosts. The 2008 All-Star Game went 15 innings. 4 hours and 50 minutes. I watched the full moon rise above the right field bleachers, creep over my head and set behind the grandstand. It was a long night and by 1:15 am, the third tier was almost deserted. The last train was gone, the lightweights and corporate types had disappeared and only the real baseball fans were still in the stands. I ran to the bathroom between innings—had to hurry—didn’t want to miss anything. Anyone who knows old Yankee Stadium, knows how crowded that upstairs tier was and how pitifully small those restrooms were.

Yankee Post 3

I jogged out of the tunnel, stepped into the concourse and stopped cold. Nobody was there. No lines, no jostling It was empty—not another soul in sight. I was absolutely alone, but I sensed a crowd swelling around me. The air glimmered at the ceiling and pulsed along the floor. I’m sure it was only seconds, but time wobbled and paused when I stumbled into that fringe of the past.  I could still hear the noise of the game behind me, but it sounded distant and grainy…like a snippet of history echoing in the limestone walls. The Cathedral of Baseball, a leading lady in the final run of her brilliant career, was holding court with the ghosts and the legends for one last summer…savoring every pitch and every minute she had left.

“It gets late early around here.”

RIP Yogi Berra

 

3-Word Challenge: “Under the Square” by Anne Marie Andrus

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I had a wonderful time participating in Brian’s 3-Word Challenge and was so thrilled to see my characters (especially Steven), get a little limelight. 🙂

Bonnywood Manor

Under 5

Guest Writer: Anne Marie Andrus

The Three Words: chicory, humidity, decadence

The Result: “Under the Square”

Trickles of murky water danced with shadows and fractures on the underground walls. Flickering candles twisted wilted blooms and innocent stone angels into a jungle of goblins.

“If you’re still fussing, you should have started earlier.” A redhead flashed through the arched doorway and scowled at his watch. “This place will never be anything but a tomb, disguised as our courtyard.”

“Like the desolate streets above us, masquerading as our city?” A man in a tuxedo slicked his mohawk straight up, and adjusted his bow tie. “I thought you said rebirth was near, Lord Steven.”

“It’s so close, I can taste it. You’ve followed my instructions to the final detail?”

“Haven’t I always, sir?”

“As much as humanly possible, I guess.” Steven pointed to a steaming carafe. “Pour.”

The man’s shoulders slumped. “What am…

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Sapphire and Tears

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Times of grief and battle

Two souls laid to rest

Separate, once as human

Eternal sisters, joined at last

Sorcha stepped off the streetcar, into the leafy tunnel of Washington Ave. “How did you get the cemetery opened after dark?”

“I know the family who owns that restaurant.” Steven pointed at crisp green and white awnings. “They have pull with the mayor, and I’m sure he’s six drinks deep in the back bar.”

“He’ll want six more when he sees the overtime bill.” A sea of blue uniforms parted in front of her. “You found so many musicians.”

“All in town for a new Jazz festival. Could be an annual event, if it catches on. Twelve cent martinis didn’t hurt, either.”

“Our friends both had proper funerals?” Sorcha followed him under the arched gate, into the city of the dead.

“Respectable, but not nearly what they deserved. This city can do better.” Steven’s footsteps crunched along the candle-lit walkway. He plucked bills from the pocket of his black blazer and traded them for an armful of roses, placing flowers at each crypt and reserving the lion’s share for the last tomb on the left. “My family. A tree with only dead branches.”

The breeze through budding magnolias and a distant saxophone punctuated a rare moment of silence.

“So,” Steven chose one rose from the bouquet. “You still want to see her?”

“The weeping angel?”

“Right this way.” Steven forced himself to walk like a human until he was cloaked in shadow. His secret key turned tumblers in the crypt door. A wave of his hand ushered Sorcha in.

“The angel is blindfolded.”

“Damn, I looked everywhere else for that thing.” He slipped his silk tie off the statue and pointed up to the skylight. The noise of debris being cleared away was followed by a handsome grin and flashing eyes. “I, or, we…you know. First time, right here.”

“That’s just…only you.” Sorcha squeezed his hand and turned her attention to the grieving angel, wilted across the altar. “She’s exquisite.”

“And heartbreaking.” Steven handed over the last rose. “I always bring a gift.”

Sorcha spun the flower in her hand and crouched in front of a lifeless face, marred by eternal tears. She puffed air from her lips and blew red dust off the bloom, leaving sapphire petals behind. Energy sizzled through her fingertips and surged into the stone.

Steven sat down hard on the marble floor. “I don’t believe it.”

Weathered veneer crumbled as the angel’s mouth turned up at the corners. Delicate hands grasped the rose from Sorcha’s palm before freezing again.

“Yes, you do believe it. Anything can happen in this town.” Sorcha dragged her friend back to his feet. “I hear the horn section getting restless.”

He flashed into the crescent moonlight. “Handkerchiefs?”

“Looks like half the city’s out here.” She handed him a square of snow-white silk.

“It’s a long walk to the cathedral. The other half will join us along the way.” Steven took his place behind the brass band. A snap of his fingers sent somber notes wailing into night. “Let’s make history. “

To The Second Line…