Freshening up the stripes, by Tony Sampas.
Freshening up the stripes, by Tony Sampas.
Here’s another softball poem from the vault. This one was first published in the literary journal “Kennebec” at the University of Maine, Augusta. I spent many summer days in Maine during the 1970s and ’80s, visiting a friend who lived near Ellsworth. I brought this poem to a writing workshop led by a university-professor poet on the West Coast, who asked the group if this was a poem at all. He said it read more like the script for a beer commercial. That’s what you get when you risk showing your work to serious people. I was experimenting with forms. Who says it’s not a poem? Somebody at another university later put it in a literary magazine.—PM
Softball Game, Down East Maine
This is a town meeting.
Otis Ice Cream Palace vs. The Heron Chokers.
Lumpy field near Maggie’s camp—
dead grass, cereal box bases,
junked car hood backstop.
Regulars pull up on bikes, cycles,
in pickups, old vee dubs.
Fifteen players, six gloves,
and a dog-chewed catcher’s mitt.
A couple-three cases of beer.
Total equal opportunity.
One pitcher wears combat boots;
the bat’s a cracked 34.
Talk about Game of the Week—
this is all beyond TV.
—Paul Marion (c) 1995
I found the entry below from the Middlesex Community College Blog a fascinating story of a remarkable young man from Tewksbury.
Below I reposted the entry in it entirety…
What follows is the story of Mark Tibbetts of Tewksbury, a 2010 Liberal Studies graduate of Middlesex who is now a student at Salem State University with a major in history and a minor in secondary education and communications. At MCC, we’re always proud to tout the careers and accomplishments of our alumni. Tibbetts, 21, is volunteering in Kenya, and this is his story, in his words:
This summer, I am doing volunteer work in Mombasa, Kenya, through an organization called Global Vision International (GVI) for six weeks. The name of the project that I am currently working for is called “Assisting with care, education, counseling, arts and sports for disadvantaged children and orphans from Mombasa.” The name of the project is what got my attention.
I am currently teaching at a school called Precious Vision Care Centre. The ages of these children in the school range from 2 years old to 14 years old. Within the school they have 200-250 students that are registered. The age range in my class is from 6-11 years old. I teach English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Sports, and one-on-one reading. My work day starts at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m. Volunteers and staff members live in a gated community in Nyali, Kenya, which is a suburb of Mobasa and the school is a 20 minute walk from the GVI base.
The volunteers create lesson plans, activities, and also do adult lessons. The adult lessons are optional to attend, but the goal for these lessons is to teach them the English language and to use the functions of the computer. Other activities that we do for the kids are swimming at local pools, computers, and field trips to Haller Park or the Butterfly Farm. This project also allows the volunteers to gain insight on the surrounding communities in which these kids live. They live in a poor area called the Shauri Yako Village, which is where Precious Vision Care Centre is located. read more »
Honda recognized UMass Lowell Field Hockey star Sammy Macy as Division II Athlete of the Year. Macy ended her amazing career racking up 91 goals and 38 assists. The award brings a $5,000 donation to women’s sports at UMass Lowell.
Below Macy speaks about the award she received at the Collegiate Women’s Sports Conference.
This video was originally posted by umlriverhawks
I wrote this sketch several years ago just after the Fourth of July. The Cassini-Huygens space probe, according to Wikipedia, “entered into orbit around Saturn in July 2004,” and it is expected to transmit data about Saturn and its moons until 2017. In January 2005, the vehicle landed on the Saturn moon Titan in “the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system.” The probe is named for a 17th-century Dutch astronomer who “discovered” Titan. We live in big wide world.—PM
Jim Casselton is one of the morning walkers. One summer morning we visited for a few laps on the South Common oval. The bluish three-quarter moon’s dents and ridges made a mottled surface that was papery in its translucence. The moon held its place like a shape cut out of a blank sheet. Way beyond, after seven years in transit and two billion miles, the latest celebrity spacecraft, the Cassini-Huygens probe, had reached Saturn. The SUV-sized craft “deked” its way past swirling chunks of ice and universal gravel to find a gap in the rings on Independence Day. In no time, Cassini started beaming back pictures of the distinctive rings and several of the planet’s 31 moons. The trip will climax with the landing of a pod on the vast moon, Titan, the farthest surface on which humans have ever tried to land a machine.
“That moon is fat this morning, and there’s something odd about the light,” said Jim. We’d been talking about pushing the Parks Department to spruce up the Common. He’s a barrel-chested man of medium height. He wore a New England Patriots sweatshirt, the one from the second Super Bowl win, black running pants with a silver stripe up the leg, and white sneakers. When he saw me coming down the hill, he pointed at his white cap with a swoosh and then to my Oakland A’s cap, and said, “Tonight,” meaning the A’s would be playing the Sox at Fenway. Jim lives in “the housing” near the Common, a complex named for a local priest. He’s usually finished his workout before I arrive.
He takes the train to Boston some days and walks along the Charles River. “That’s a beautiful stretch,” he said, “and they keep it so clean. There were 450,000 people at the Boston Pops on the Fourth of July, and the police didn’t report one incident. That’s people having a good time in a good way.” Underfoot were dozens of spent red-and-blue paper casings of fireworks from the local celebration. “I had my windows open and heard them until all hours. It’s not as rough as it used to be. They stopped the carnivals after a guy got stabbed, but that was years ago. You still have to keep your eyes open.”
“When I was with county corrections, a bunch of us would run in South Lowell on weekends. We’d run through the Back Central area, which some people used to call the South End, where the Portuguese have done a marvelous job keeping up appearances. When I came to Lowell from Florida in 1959, that area was run down. The Portuguese took it over street by street. They’ve got a fine neighborhood. It still has problems, but look at what they do with a patch of land—the car-ports crawling with grape vines and the roses and fruit trees in the miniature back yards. Talk about the Portuguese—Did you know Mr. Homer, the fisherman? He’d come around the section where a lot of the black people lived with his truck and put out these big tubs of fish on ice, all kinds. He’d say, ‘Go ahead, Mrs. Casselton, take a couple more. There’s plenty in the ocean.’ He had piles of fish.”
—Paul Marion (c) 2004
Essex Dam on the Merrimack River in Lawrence Massachusetts
The mayoral term of William Lantigua could be “water over the dam” if the petition for his recall is successful. The Eagle-Tribune is reporting that the citizen group collecting signatures to recall Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua is ready to start the clock ticking.
A group known as “It’s Your Right – Es tu Derocho” says it is ready to submit the necessary 100 signatures to the city to begin a recall effort of Mayor William Lantigua.
Organizers Wayne Hayes and the Rev. Edwin Rodriguez announced they will be submit an affidavit with more than the 100 signatures required by the city’s charter to the City Clerk tomorrow at 2 p.m.
According to a press release, the reasons cited for the recall are the mayor’s “reckless disregard for law enforcement,” failing to “carry out his duties as chief executive officer,” his failure to hire a finance director for the city, and the ongoing multi-jurisdictional investigation into criminal allegations against Lantigua.
Read the full article here at eagletribune.com.
The recent rather positive statement from FERC – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – about ENEL’s $6 million proposed bladder dam project for the Pawtucket Dam was detailed in a Lowell Sun story by Jen Myers followed by a soft “let everyone sit down and talk” editorial. The letter has brought a more vigorous reaction from the concerned neighbors and Bob Gagnon, Chairman of the Lowell Flood Owners Group.
As I noted to Jen, this FERC letter is not the last word. There is still time for more public comment and input to FERC – the deadline is July 10. Expect other governemental entities to present a different picture to FERC. The reality is the is that the folks who oppose the change expect a long process most likely involving lawyers before this is over.
Just a few notes about the Pawtucket Dam issues – as food for thought:
*Lowell was settled and became America’s first industrial city because of the Pawtucket Falls.
*The Falls are in the protected boundaries of the Lowell National Historical Park.
*The Pawtucket Falls and adjacent buildings are on the National Register in a National Historic Landmark District within a National Park.
*The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Massachusetts and the State Preservation Officer are on record as agreeing with the National Park opposition.
*The city of Lowell and the towns of Chelmsford and Tyngsboro agree with opposing this project.
*The Director of the National Park has asserted that energy projects don’t get a pass on complying with historic preservation laws – the law authorizing the LNHP prohibits projects that would have an adverse effect on the park’s historic resources.
*The US Department of the Interior’s Regional Solicitor as filed a Notice of Intervention as standing for a lawsuit.
The historic resources in Lowell – natural and manmade – are important. As I’ve noted – this is far from over. You as an individual, a concerned citizen as well as organizations can still voice your views.
Travelers around the city find many streets and roads under some kind of work order or reconstruction. Some work is related to water department projects – others to upgrading of streets in tough condition. And then there’s the bridge work. Over on the City Manager’s blog here, there’s an explanation along with a list of streets scheduled for work in 2011-2012. There will be a reward for travelers at the end of all this construction! As a “regular” on these streets and roads, I appreciate what’s already been accomplished and am looking forward to the solutions for those “cobblestoned” intersections.
The state’s Division of Health Care Finance & Policy (DHCFP) is holding a series of presentations, speeches and panel discussions this week in regards to health care cost trends reports and cost containment efforts. Globe staff writer Liz Kowalczyk covered yesterday’s healthcare costs hearing and is reporting that some hospital chiefs see a need for government intervention with price controls on the healthcare market. While the Partners HealthCare CEO disagreed, Lowell General Hospital CEO Norm Deschene and others noted:
Norman Deschene, president of Lowell General Hospital, said his hospital is losing doctors because they can see a patient and make “$100 today with Lowell General’’ and then sign on with a better-paid competitor and make “$150 tomorrow for the same work.’’
“Some government intervention needs to take place,’’ he said.
Ellen Zane, chief executive of Tufts Medical Center, and James Roosevelt — chief executive of Tufts Health Plan, the only insurance company executive on the panel — also said they favor temporary price controls. Lowell General, MetroWest, and Tufts Medical Center are lower-paid providers, or they fall in the middle, depending on the insurer paying them.
Read the full article here at Boston.com.
Last week, one day around suppertime I was walking our family’s Boston Terrier on the South Common and I had what I can only describe as a sense memory. The strong sun, bright sky, dry air, grass underfoot, and voices bouncing through the park made me think that the evening was perfect for a softball game, reminding me of the many games I’ve played. Here’s a poem I wrote in 1987 that evokes the culture of men’s softball teams. The poem later appeared in the anthology “For a Living: The Poetry of Work” (University of Illinois Press) and is included in my collection of Lowell writings, “What Is the City?”—PM
Jimmy Allen at the Library of Congress
The folklore researchers, all Ph.D’s,
dropped by to collect softball behavior,
part of the Lowell Folklife Project.
Dr. Tom began shooting in the hot, low sun
back-lighting trees at Parker Field;
Dr. Doug and Dr. Dave taped the chatter:
“C’mon now, be a hitter! Dig in. Take a look.
Make the pitcher work. Good eye. Drive that ball!”
After the win, Dr. Tom set up a team portrait,
then everyone drove to the Civic Club
for a feast of popcorn, pizza, and beer.
Somebody kept yelling a cousin curse;
Dr. Tom made a note of the term.
Bird informed the bar regulars
that the folklore guys were “Congressmen,
right from the Library of Congress!”
Next, Bird and Dr. Dave sang “O Canada”
while Dr. Tom took another team photo,
sort of a “before and wasted” situation.
That’s when we called it a night.
Months later, Dr. Doug gave a lecture with slides
on Capitol Hill for the erudite, including
Smithsonian scholars and National Geographic Society.
He showed a Greek priest, Cambodian dancers,
kids on skateboards, a wine-maker,
and suddenly Jimmy Allen was on the mound
in his crimson Burgess Construction jersey,
as big as he’d want to be on screen,
throwing a strike for American folklife.
Paul Marion (c) 1989, 2006