Thursday, June 29, 2006

Indians and Greeks

J was able to get us tickets for really decent seats at our first Cleveland Indians baseball game. They played the Reds Friday night. We showed up in plenty of time, were able (through diligence) to find $5 parking instead of $20 parking and had time to get a bite to eat before the game started. I spent much of the game being vigilant so that no foul balls would conk me in the head. Have I mentioned that sports and I do not mix? I spent a decent portion of my formative years dreading gym class because I was afraid of the ball & hated to run. I was always picked second to last for teams and invariably got blamed if our team lost. My grandparents say I was born a pacifist, so while I have always loved things like swimming and canoeing (a true water baby), I have never been a competitive sports fan. I imagine the attitude of my classmates toward my abilities did not encourage a love of sports, either. Imagine my surprise several years ago when I was coerced, after using my dressy shoes as an excuse only to be confronted with a spare pair of size 11 sneakers, into playing volleyball with a bunch of lesbians at a party and was actually able to serve fairly well. Or my astonishment when I played miniature golf with J & the boys last summer and beat the pants off them. Boot is convinced that I could be a good athlete and love sports, if I would just try. I have let go of a similar illusion regarding him and books.

So, despite my need to be vigilant & the kids' decrying of said need, I had a delightful time at the game. I can actually follow baseball to the point of knowing if someone scored or not. I don't know the names for all the pitches or plays, but I dated a boy who played baseball years ago & learned some then. I credit that same jock boy, who wasn't good for much else, with my football knowledge. I also love to watch the players' little rituals as they prepare to bat. That's my favorite part of the game. After the game, there were fireworks. And what fireworks! It was one of the most spectacular shows I have seen. Pie sat open-mouthed in wonder through the entire show. He adores fireworks. J & I were also rapt. Boot looked bored the whole time...surprised he wasn't text-messaging back & forth with his god...I mean, dad. Ah, teenage ennui. I was bratty enough at almost 16 to try to stay in the car when my grands took me to the Grand Canyon. When required to get out, I glanced at it and then said, "Okay, I've seen it. Can we go now?" What an absolute BRAT! In my defense, I had been on the road with my grands & staying in Los Angeles with our Vietnamese friends for 3 weeks and just wanted to get home to my mom & friends. Still. I was rewarded for my brattiness by also getting to see the Hoover Dam.

Saturday morning, after some sausage gravy & omelets, we spent much of the day at the pool. The kids complain that I never do anything fun at the pool. I "just sit in the water & read" instead of having fun. I blamed the cold water for awhile, then realized that my idea of fun in the pool and the kids' idea (and J's idea) are radically different. Even when I was a kid, I was never into dunking, splashing and squirt gun wars, nor did I indulge in "Tip The Raft" or "Race You To The Deep End" type games. J says it's because I never had brothers. I imagine my grands would say it's because I was born a pacifist, like my uncle Vic, who became a Canadian citizen in the late 1960s. The games I liked to play as a kid, the games all my girlfriends played, included "tea parties" on the bottom and contests to see who could do the most somersaults in the water ( I have been known to do 6 in a row), the longest hand stands, the bravest swim down to the drain, the quickest quarter retrievals. We would "dolphin dive" across the pool and see if we could keep our eyes open while emerging from the water and, yes, gossip on our towels during rest periods (that is, when we weren't flirting with cute boys at the concession stand at the bottom of the hill). So, the rough-housing J & the boys love to do in the water looks, frankly, unpleasant to me. I don't like to play like that. So, why should I? The boys make me feel as though I am boring or a bad stepmom because I don't play like that. Then, I look around & see that J is one of only a few adults actively engaged in such play. I am simply being grown. Now, if they would play the kind of pool games I like, I might join in. In the meantime, I will stick to trashy pool mags like Jane and conversation with the other girly girls.

After swimming, we had dinner at Alexander's with my uncle & aunt. It is always great hanging out with them & Saturday night was no exception. We sat on the patio talking for hours. They are getting ready to re-do their floors, all by themselves, with wood flooring. I am impressed! When they invited us to come by & visit the dogs, we nearly said yes before realizing that might be more than our bored boys could withstand.

We hit the first church on our shopping list Sunday morning, a congregational church in town that is not listed as "Open and Affirming" but which we thought would at least be close-by. I was happy to see a woman associate pastor and thought the church was lovely. The people were nice, although they seemed fairly conservative. The music for the day, selections from the Bill Gaither collection, made me long for good old karaoke church Christ-Pop like "Forever" and "Open the Eyes of my Heart", so dreadful was it. J kept writing me notes saying, "Make it stop!!!" Why can't we have the blues in church? At coffee hour, we met a very nice lesbian couple, so if we attend there, we won't be the first lesbians. That would be a nice change from the Presbyterian church we've been going to. Groundbreaking is all well & good, but it gets tiring after awhile. Boot, our little misogynist, hated the church as soon as he saw that there is a woman pastor. Pie just doesn't want to have to sit still that long.

After church, we allowed the kids to have a video game break. We fed them, then went to the Greek festival. When I was a kid, I would never have passed up an opportunity to go to a festival, but I was obviously a very different kid than these. We toured the beautiful church, with a retired priest who is definitely a vampire hunter when he is not leading tours. He was very kind & very interesting, with lots of historical knowledge to pass on to us. When we got to the "holy of holies" (not really, but the inner sanctum where the Word rests and women are never allowed), he said, "Now, I am going to show you something you have probably never seen before." When he withdrew a book from the altar, I expected something very old or very ornate. However, it was simply a Bible with Greek on one page and the English translation on the other. Heck, we OWN one of those! The priest held it up to J, expecting her to be amazed that it was in Greek. Instead, she began to read it aloud. What a great surprise for that priest! He turned out to be the one amazed, asking her, "Where did you learn ancient Greek???" She told him about her Master's degree in Judeo-Christian Studies in the Greco-Roman Period. A marvellous discussion ensued and we all had a great time. After the tour, we looked at the vendors' booths and had a bite to eat. J got a plate of fabulous chicken & artichokes with lemon-dill sauce and a tyropita. I had a combo plate, containing pastitsio, a Greek meatball, rice, a spanakopita, and dolmades. Before we left, we picked up a couple of pastries, too.

Sunday evening was spent at the pool, at the request of Boot. We grilled hot dogs & they played in the pool, while I read on a lounge chair & made bruschetta Caprese for an appetizer. It was a lovely evening until Boot got water in his eye & went stomping home. Temper, temper. The rest of us hung out in the hot tub for awhile before heading home ourselves.

1 comment:

Gandksmom said...

Oh Daria? Are we siblings by any chance? I am so afraid of the ball and I wasn't picked second last but dead last! In fact, I knew that I was going to be last and would just walk resolutely over to the poor team stuck with me. SAD! I still hate sports and would have swam with you in the water and challenged you to lots of dives to the bottom and somersaults. We would have been best friends growing up I just know it!