Saturday, August 22, 2009

Preview of Sid Sanford Lives
Chapter One-Pastime
Part 1

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be previewing the first chapter of my (still) unfinished novel. The book centers on the life of Sid Sanford who bears a striking resemblance to…well…me. For better or worse, he’s become my alter ego and I keep coming up with ideas for him that keeps me from finally putting down my pen. The chapter introduces Sid and the family that is his (and my) backbone throughout the novel. Please enjoy and stay cool!

The man yawned.

He stretched out his arthritic fingers and gripped the steering wheel tightly.

Almost home.

He had endured another day. He had been called in early and left late. It seemed the whole world could call out sick without impunity but him. He knew there was always had to be that guy who picked up the slack for everyone else. He just wished he didn’t always have to be the one to do it.

The radio was shouting at him. Whoever the talk show host was, he was angry and letting everyone know it. He could usually put up with the right and left wing back and forth, but certainly not today. He quickly changed the setting to play whatever CD he had in the player. It didn’t take long to recognize who it was.

“Hello cowgirl in the sand,” he sang quietly along with Neil Young. “Is this place at your command?”

He turned the car off the main drag and unto a side street.

My street.

The neighborhood had an enclosed, secluded feel thanks to a pleasant wooded area that brought traffic to a halt at the bottom of the street. From there, the street branched out to the right and carved out a block and then returned right back to where it started. All of the houses on the block had vibrant green lawns that boasted more than one handsome tree.

Summer always brought out the best in the neighborhood, and this year was no exception. The man passed by his elderly neighbors diligently attending their garden. He gave them a friendly wave as he pulled into his driveway. He only had two things on his mind now as he turned off his car.

My boys.

My wife.

He reached for the coffee mug he had discarded on the floor of the passenger seat earlier this morning. He decided he was too lazy to reach into the back seat and collect the tie he had tossed back there after work ended. It could wait until tomorrow morning when he needed it again.

“Kenneth, you’re cooking burgers on the grill, get moving!” His wife yelled from the kitchen. He had barely made it through the door.

“Sounds good,” he said trying to sound upbeat. “I’m just going to change first.”

He walked into the kitchen. He needed a kiss. He needed his wife’s love, no matter how abrupt it might be.

“How was work?” she asked kissing him on the lips and pulling the mayo out of the fridge at the same time.

“It sucked,” he replied. “It’s over now and that’s all that matters.”

He pulled his wife close. He wrapped his arms around her and put his head on her shoulder. She allowed it for a half a heartbeat.

“Ok, you can love me later; we have work to do to get these kids fed.”

“I love you Gail.”

“Hurry up!”

Kenneth slowly made his way up the stairs to their bedroom on the second floor. He gripped the railing tightly to give some extra support to his creaky knees. He started to unbutton his white shirt with his free hand. He reached the top landing and could feel the ache of work slowly start to dissipate. He pulled the shirt off his shoulders and tossed it into the laundry pile. He kicked off his clunky black shoes and sat down at the edge of the bed. He pulled off his black socks. He got back up and pulled everything out of his pants pocket and threw the contents haphazardly on his dresser. He caught himself in the mirror.

He took a deep breath.

He had yelled at a customer at the store this morning. She had asked about something in the circular and she wasn’t accepting any of his answers. He finally called his manager and found out he been the wrong. He came back to her and apologized for it, but she decided to keep pestering him and saying what a horrible job he was doing. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore.

“Well, let me just put a bullet in my brain then lady,” he yelled.

He regretted it instantly. She left right after. He didn’t here anything about it from his managers, so she must have just left the store all together without trying to get him in trouble. He was red in the face all day and he couldn’t seem to get it out of his mind.

He had never yelled at a customer before. He usually just rolled with whatever they threw at him and did the best he could. Maybe, dealing with hundreds of grocery store customers a day had finally wore him down to his breaking point. It didn’t help that he had gone through another “restructuring” that had him learning a whole new job on the fly. Their plans didn’t come with any more pay for him either.

Turn it off, his mind told him.

He smiled.

He was home now. He’d be home until 6 am the next morning. He’d probably pass out early, but at least he was here.

He stripped off his white T-shirt. He rummaged through his dresser and pulled out his navy blue Yankees shirt. It was his favorite shirt he owned. His boys had gotten it for him as a Father’s Day gift. He put it on along with a pair of cargo shorts. After pulling on a pair of soft white socks and his sneakers, he was ready.


A white ball had bounced off the bedroom window causing Kenneth to jump. He walked over and pushed the curtains back more. He looked down and saw someone frantically running. There was another figure racing after the ball.

He smiled again.

My boys.

Read Part 2.

Baseball Sunday Player Spotlight

In honor of all the August birthdays in my family, today’s spotlight shines on a few players born during the dog days of summer.

Joey Jay was a pitcher for 13 seasons from 1953 to 1966 for the Milwaukee Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.

His best seasons came in 1961 and 1962 while pitching for the Reds. He won 21 games both seasons and finished 5th in the Most Valuable Player Award voting in ’61. He tossed 4 shutouts both years and struck out a total of 312 batters. He won one game and lost another in the 1961 World Series against the New York Yankees.

He finished his career with 99 wins and a lifetime ERA of 3.77.

William Chester (Baby Doll) Jacobson played 11 seasons from 1915 to 1927 for the St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers.

His best year came in 1920 while playing for the Browns. He batted .355 with 216 hits, 34 doubles and 14 triples. He followed that up the next year with a .352 batting average with 211 hits, 38 doubles and 14 triples. From 1922-1926, he batted .316 with 899 hits, 173 doubles and 45 triples.

Jacobson finished his career with a .311 batting average and 1,714 hits.

Boog Powell played 17 seasons from 1961 to 1977 for the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers.

He won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1970 after hitting 35 homeruns and 114 RBI and leading the Orioles to a World Series Championship. He had five hits in that Series including two homeruns and five RBI. He hit 22 homeruns and drove in 92 runs the following year, but the Orioles came up short against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series

Powell finished with 339 homeruns and 1,187 RBI.

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