Good morning and greetings, Columbus Day fans. For this week’s photo roundup, we are featuring the first sunset that made the headlines this fall. After closing out a sweet September with apples and honey to welcome in Rosh Hashanah, it was a fitting start to the new month. Throw in the Yankees beating the Tigers in the first game of their American League divisional series and a good time was had by all that night, that is, until the Yankee’s bats fell as silent as Marcel Marceau in the deciding game five.
Since the sun was not yet dipping into the Pacific from my usual vantage point at Natural Bridges State Beach, I decided to head up to the cliffs at Davenport for this Saturday night live experience. Accompanying me on drums was my old Syracuse friend Amy Zimmerman, who I had not seen since my wedding in Long Beach in 1988. It was a classic reunion, although it turns out she was still waiting for the thank you note for the lovely vase that she gave us for our nuptials.
Now I wouldn’t rate this as a “world class” sunset, but I thought I was good enough to make the pages of this cyber tabloid. I would have preferred a little more red, orange or purple at the climax, but was once again reminded of the words of Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get want you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need.” And he was right, as wild horses or a “Sons of Anarchy” marathon couldn’t have dragged me away from the cliffs that night.
So this first twilight show of clouds and color got me to thinking about firsts in life. So today I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane and look back upon some classic firsts.
Now I don’t remember my first breath when I entered the earth’s atmosphere, but I do remembered what I was looking for. Unfortunately, my mother said she had a headache and later that she just liked me as a friend. I don’t remember the first time I ever tasted chocolate, but I know it has had a everlasting lifetime effect upon me. Nor do I remember the first time I ever tasted pizza, but I am now aware that when I stepped into Pizza King in Fort Lee, New Jersey, that I stumbled upon the holy grail of mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.
The same holds true for my first venture to the land of tasty Cantonese cuisine at Hop Kee on Mott Street in New York’s Chinatown. Just one taste of the soft noodles of lo mein, the wider-noodled chow fun and the delicate and succulent sweet and sour chicken and I was hooked. I could do the backstroke in that sauce. Plus, any place that’s open till 4 in the morning on a Saturday night works for me. Nothing works up an appetite like flying down the FDR Drive at midnight in search of pan fried flounder in black bean sauce.
I don’t remember my first day of nursery school, grammar school or high school, but I do remember my first day of college at Syracuse University. My parents and I were the first on line at the bottom of the hill. When they gave us the okay to go, we drove up to the Flint Hall, where we were greeted by three lovely coeds wearing skirts that were shorter than the light at winter solstice. Much to my surprise and delight, they proceeded to carry my heavy trunk to my room. I thought, wow, if this is what college is like, I’m definitely going for my masters.
Now there are many things I don’t remember, like the first rain, the first winter snowstorm and the first time I heard the Doobie Brothers. I don’t remember my first dream, the first time I cried or the first program I recorded on TiVo. I don’t recall the first time I hit a jumper, threw a baseball or caught a pass for a touchdown in football. Unfortunately, I do remember tamale pie, the SAT’s and saying to my parents, “I hate algebra. I’ll never use it for the rest of my life.”
And much to my chagrin, I don’t remember the first time I read a “Hardy Boys” book or watched Ralph and Norton in “The Honeymooners,” or Phil Silvers as “Sargent Bilko.” Nor do I recall my first New York Giant football game, Knick basketball game or Yankee baseball game. However, I do remember getting hit in the head by the first pitch that was thrown to me in my little league career, outpitching my good friend Steve Margolin in the championship game and my father taking me out for a chocolate milkshake to celebrate the victory. That I do remember!
But here are a couple of more of things that I have on instant recall. I do remember the first time my father telling me how proud he was of me, even when I wasn’t setting the world on fire. I do remember my mother telling me how clever my blog is and wondering how I come up with these unpaid pearls of wisdom. And what I really remember is back in the 80′s, the first time I realized that a young woman who I was cohabitating with was really something special and different from all the others. It was at that moment that I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. And that is why I impulsively rushed into marriage after a nine year courtship.
What I remember like it was the day before yesterday was the birth of my first child, Jason. I remember just staring at him like a mental patient in his first hour out of Allison’s womb. I couldn’t believe this little person was actually ours. Then he threw a no-look pass with his rattle and I knew he was my son. In my nearly six decades, I don’t remember ever a feeling higher, except for maybe a couple of New York Giant playoff wins or after my daily tantra meditation. I’m into keeping my chakras strong.
I do not remember the first time I realized I’ve been blessed with good health, but have never taken it for granted. I don’t remember the first day I realized how great it is to have friends, but not a day goes by that I don’t cherish that thought. And cherish is a word that I use to describe all the feelings that I have for you hiding here inside. I don’t recall ever wondering what I would be like being the father of a teenage girl, but now I get to play one every day at home. Let me say that it was a whole lot easier learning how to hit a curveball, but the ball never smiled back at me and warmed the chat rooms of my heart.
So to summarize, I may not remember my first double date, double rainbow or double stuffed Oreo. but fortunately, I do recall some of the important firsts of my life. I may not have instant recall of my first laugh, Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar or my realization of how great sports are. Oh, well. I guess I’ll just have to go on remembering the first time I realized what a lucky boy I’ve been and keep my fingers crossed that my future of firsts is ahead of me.
Let’s hit the late night. “Mitt Romney speaks French and John Huntsman speaks Chinese. “When Michele Bachmann heard they were bilingual, she said it’s OK, as long as they don’t get married. Rick Perry is pretty serious about running for President. Today he freed all of the slaves on his ranch.” –Jay Leno “Herman Cain said that as president, he will bring Republicans and Democrats together. He was the guy that brought pineapple and ham together on a pizza, so it wouldn’t be surprising.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Gov. Chris Christie keeps saying he’s not running for president. On the other hand, he would consider running for Santa. If he does run and he is elected, say good bye to the White House garden and say hello to the White House Olive Garden. Perfect fit: Oval Office, oval president.” –David Letterman
“Happy anniversary to President Obama and the first lady. They had a nice private dinner to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the last time someone said ‘yes’ to an Obama proposal.” –Craig Ferguson. “President Obama was heckled by a protestor who called him ‘the Antichrist.’ The protestor was detained, but released without being charged, and then later he was offered his own show on Fox News. President Obama was in San Diego and traffic was a huge mess. There was even a three-hour backup tunneling in from Mexico.” –Jay Leno
“First Lady Michelle Obama was spotted shopping at Target yesterday. Yeah, she told the Secret Service to keep their eyes peeled – not for threats, just for a person that actually works at Target.” –Jimmy Fallon “More than 700 protestors were arrested over the weekend for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. They say the best way to fight corporate greed is to make random people sit in traffic while they’re trying to visit their aunt in Brooklyn.” –Jimmy Kimmel
So that’s news, weather and retorts. Happy birthday wishes go out to the Dwyane Wade of anesthesiology, Dr. Michael Schur, who claims that no amount of prayer can atone for Alex Rodriquez’s latest sins at the plate. Just ask Carmen Diaz. We’ll catch you shutting out the Phillies. Aloha, mahalo and later, Chris Carpenter fans.