Weekend Daybook: the evil, tragedy, memorials, and common grace edition

A week of collecting what I've been up to lately: places, people, books, podcasts, music, links & more for your weekend downtime.

You can consider this late from last week or early for next! We’ll be gone for the next couple of weeks and I look forward to catching back up with you in September, friends!

(1) photo from this week

A common grace found in Kennebunk, Maine: The MOST delicious lobster roll I’ve ever eaten + fresh squeezed lemonade. I will never forget this meal.

A common grace found in Kennebunk, Maine: The MOST delicious lobster roll I’ve ever eaten + fresh squeezed lemonade. I will never forget this meal.


(2) helpful podcasts covering the subject of gun control

As with most other important policies, gun control is complicated. It feels hopeful we may finally move to more common sense in regulation, but we need wise governance to navigate all the complexities. These two podcasts helped me think through this issue with more knowledge and nuance.

  1. Trump Says He’s Ready For Gun Measures | via KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center

  2. Constitutional Primers: Second Amendment | via Pantsuit Politics


(3) links remembering Toni Morrison

I’ve not yet had the courage to read her work. I keep waiting for the “right moment” to engage emotionally and intellectually. In the meantime, I’m grateful especially to one of my favorite writing peers, Allison Backous Troy, for pointing toward Morrison as “a powerful witness, Toni Morrison's God Help the Child brings us into the work of reconciliation, the work of the Cross.”

  1. Toni Morrison – Remembering the Award-winning Novelist [NPR] | via Englewood Review of Books

  2. The withering witness of Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child and The rough redemption of Toni Morrison’s Home by Allison Backous Troy | via Think Christian

  3. How Toni Morrison Countered the Canon by Karen Swallow Prior | via Think Christian


(4) beautiful examples of the Church responding to evil and tragedy in Dayton and El Paso

Slowly, slowly - and, sadly, too late for many - a few voices from the American Church are more clearly demonstrating a public response that sounds like what Jarvis J. Williams and Curtis A. Woods describe in the CT piece linked below : “We believe in a Savior who redeems, a Spirit who reconciles, and a gospel that is the antithesis of white supremacy.”

  1. Context for El Paso mass shooting from Sami DiPasquale, Executive Director of Ciudad Neuva

  2. Returning to the Lord in Times of Evil and Tragedy by Fr. Peter Coelho, Church of the Cross, Austin, TX

  3. A Litany of Lament and Repentance For Our Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees | via Caminemos Juntos

  4. Jesus, Deliver Us from This Racist Evil Age by Jarvis J. Williams and Curtis A. Woods | via CT


(5) remembrances on the 5th anniversary of Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson

Jemar Tisby’s piece reminded me that it was not only Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent protests in Ferguson that began to wake me up to my own racist complicity, but more specifically a question I asked an Intervarsity leader friend of mine after he returned from Urbana ‘15. I heard my own racism more clearly than ever and began to confess, repent and hope for reconciliation with my Black neighbors.

  1. Michael Brown Jr.’s Sisters Remember Their Brother on the Fifth Anniversary of His Police Shooting Death | via StoryCorps

  2. Five Years Later, Two Ferguson Protestors Reflect on the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photo that Captured their Anguish — and Connection | via StoryCorps

  3. How Ferguson widened an enormous rift between black Christians and white evangelicals by Jemar Tisby | via Washington Post

  4. I’m a Shooting Survivor. If You’re Going to Pray for Us, Here’s How. by Taylor Schumann | via CT

  5. Ferguson Mother of God: Our Lady against all Gun Violence, 2015 by Mark Dukes

Ferguson Mother of God: Our Lady against all Gun Violence, Mark Dukes   Source

Ferguson Mother of God: Our Lady against all Gun Violence, Mark Dukes

Source


(6) photos from my first week participating in #AugustBreak2019

I’m always ready by August for a little daily prompt to keep paying attention to the beauty of summer, aren’t you?

There is much to be cynical about—and it is a good answer if there has not been an incarnation. But if that has happened, if the Word did become flesh, and if there are men and women who in and through their own vocations imitate the vocation of God, then sometimes and in some places the world becomes something more like the way it ought to be.
— Steven Garber, Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good

(7) links featuring first-person narratives expanding our understanding of the Imago Dei

I hope you’ll take the time to read through this list I’ve curated. It covers an expanse of people and places, held together by the thread of society’s outliers. May reading the words translate into real-life noticing in our everyday lives.

  1. Confessing My Racism by Anna Broadway via Amy Julia Becker’s Thin Places at CT | How forgiveness could transform us all: “But insofar as we can call racism a blind spot (by which I don't in any way mean to absolve people of responsibility), Jesus taught a very different process for correction: start with your own sin.”

  2. Introducing: Mockingbird, History Lessons For Adults via Black Coffee with White Friends | "What if, all those years ago, when I asked Mrs. Jacka, “what should I be,” she’d been able to tell me, “Well, your people were the great pharaohs who were already here. They were from distant lands like Egypt and they arrived with gold spears to trade with the indigenous people who allowed them to stay and exchanged land for goods”? See a sample lesson here: Gimme shelter

  3. Christ in the Camps by Caitlin Flanagan via The Atlantic | Migrant children are suffering. Christians need to help: “But the Beatitudes come at you sideways sometimes, and that’s when you’re really in trouble. It occurred to me this morning that maybe as a Christian I’m also supposed to be meek.”

  4. My time with Jean Vanier and his mom, the grandmother of L’Arche by Ellen Rahner via America Magazine | "My time with Jean Vanier and his mom, the grandmother of L’Arche."

  5. The Fruits of Your Suffering: A Letter to My Refugee Mom by Adrienne Minh-Chau Le via On Being | "I have grown up so comfortably eating the fruits of your suffering."

  6. Going Home with Wendell Berry by Amanda Petrusich via The New Yorker | The writer and farmer on local knowledge, embracing limits, and the exploitation of rural America.

  7. The McDonald's Test by Chris Arnade via Plough | Learning to Love Back Row America


May your weekend include some rest and some fun with friends and family. Peace...

p.s. This post may contain affiliate links because I'm trying to be a good steward, and when you buy something through one of these links you don't pay more money, but in some magical twist of capitalism we get a little pocket change. Thanks!

Epiphany +2: Resurrection Wine

A weekly Epiphany devotional post for these 8 weeks of witness. Join us!

You can read here for a brief description of the liturgical season of Epiphany, and see previous Epiphany daybook 2019 posts here. Blessed Epiphany, friends!

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


Look: Epiphany in the New Jerusalem, Jyoti Sahi

( Source )

This year, as I’ve been meditating on the first miracle of Christ at the Wedding of Cana, I’ve been caught up in the sheer unnecessary joy of this act. Like Christ couldn’t help but add to the beauty of the day with full-bodied wine from plain well water. Like Jesus looks at the faces of the wedding guests and sees the friends he’ll feast with again at a wedding day yet-to-come. Like he wants a fruity swallow of resurrection wine before stepping into the crowds of diseased and possessed, hungry and thirsty, offended and furious. He wants to ingest a beauty that’ll linger in the back of this throat during the journey ahead of him that ends with drops of sour vinegar on his parched tongue.

Like, here’s a little sip of the celebration headed our way. Pour another round on me, friends, and let’s raise to the Founder of the Feast!

I love this Sunday in the liturgical calendar so much. Mazel Tov!


Listen: “Water to Wine” from Oak & Apple, Wilder Adkins

Spotify | YouTube

Listen to my entire playlist on Spotify: Epiphany - Good Wine & Wedding Feasts. Add it to your account by clicking ‘Follow.’


You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.”

*

”How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.”

*
”Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

*

”On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
— Isaiah 62:3-5 * Psalm 36:7-9 * 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 * John 2:1-11 (ESV)


Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the
Revised Common Lectionary (Year C). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 1), using the Psalm selections for Morning Prayer.


Pray:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

Do:

Muslim family having dinner on the floor

Eat with friends

We happen to be attending a wedding this week. How perfectly timely! If you don’t have the fortune of an actual wedding to attend, this is a good week to gather together for a meal with family or friends. Linger over food and wine. Savor the beauty of flavors and the joy of conversation. Take a risk and plan a few toasts for the occasion, or shove the couch aside and dance in candlelight.

For one meal, put aside the sorrows and concerns for a couple of hours to practice the celebration that is our inheritance in the kingdom. Mazel Tov!

You can find other activities for Epiphany at this post: 12+ Ways To Keep Celebrating With the Rest of the World (loads of links)


(See all Epiphany Daybook posts from 2018 here.)

Work Stories 2018 wrap-up!

For a couple of years now, I’d been hoping to add one more blog series to my liturgical posts. I knew that I wanted it to be a series that combined both my own reflections and guest posts from some of the people I know and admire. I knew I wanted it to be on the subject of seeing our everyday work lives through the lens of a sacramental life (that is a life that honors both the invisible and the visible realities of our lives). Initially, I was picturing this being a Pentecost series, but for a variety of reasons - for this year at least - I decided to publish the series during Ordinary Time.

We follow the historic calendar of all the saints in order to become more deeply formed by the theology at the foundation of the traditions. What does it mean that half of our church calendar is categorized as ordinary? What does it tell us about the God who created and gives purpose to our lives?

If Advent to Pentecost takes us through the timeline of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, what do we meditate during the rest of the year? For one thing, I like to consider the parts of Christ’s life that Scriptures tell us almost nothing about. We know only a few sparse detail about Jesus in the time between his newborn and toddler days which were spent in various locations of the earth - as his parents sought refuge from Herod - to the beginning of his more formal ministry marked by his baptism in the Jordan River. You could say this was the ordinary time of Christ’s life. The years we can patch together a few details of work and worship made up the vast majority of his days on earth.

If the historic liturgical calendar teaches us to number our days to gain a heart of wisdom, there must be a lot of wisdom to be gained in our regular, working, resting, and worshipping lives. This is the model Christ seemed to have lived, and the church invites us to embrace the same pathway.

With the words of theology professor Wendy Wright, I wanted to consider the last couple months of Ordinary Time as a season

“…to become attentive to the call of discipleship both outer and inner. What are we called to do? … What are we called to be?”

There may not be another area of our lives that we hold most in common without realizing it: we want to know what we are uniquely made to do in our lives and we spend our days trying to fill the gap between what we were made to do and what we do with our days in reality. This gap is no small thing; it often feels like an ache we can’t name and leaks out in the midst of our day jobs and our too-short weekends. We carry this sense of wanting something more with us into every relationship and every job interview. We know, in our innermost being, we were made for something good and most of us are not sure how much attention to pay to that feeling.

I’ve been delighted to share some stories from a few friends who are on the same journey. Each week we were invited to hear a story of each guest contributor’s work life through a day-in-the-life snapshot.


Thank you to my first guest, C. Christopher Smith, for the work you do which is both theologically rich and missionally compelling. Your work has influenced my own love for reading, writing, church, and meaningful conversations with friends and neighbors. It was an honor to introduce you to you my blog readers in this way.


Thank you, Amy Willers, for inspiring us with your commitment to integrate matters of both the heart and mind, as well as truth and grace in your work and relationships. Thank you also, through sharing your day of small tasks, for reminding us of Mother Theresa’s encouragement to do “little things with great love”.


Thank you, Shaun and Katie Fox, for not only being people who’ve wrestled well with your own calling but also invaluably supporting Brian and me in ours. A series about vocation would not be complete without sharing your story. Thank you for encouraging all of us in the challenge and joy of a wholehearted and collaborative journey of calling.

katie-conducting.jpg

Thank you, Christie Purifoy, for your beautiful and graciously-told story of placemaking. Thanks from my home to yours for the encouragement to continue planting seeds and burying roots deep into whatever place we find ourselves.


Thank you, Kim Akel, for reminding us that we are called to steward the pain of our lives. Thank you for doing this passionately in your everyday work and for encouraging us to do the same.


Thank you, Jason Harrod, for walking out the vulnerability of making music and friends again and again - all while maintaining a commitment to ask honest questions and search for hidden, complicated beauty in your relationships with God, people, and place. Thanks for encouraging us to do the same through both the rewarding and challenging bits of our daily work.


Thank you, Walter Wittwer, for reminding us that caring for the least of these is not limited to those in social work. We’re all called (and I love how you reminded us that we’re also all on the spectrum of need).


Thank you, Krista Vossler, for reminding us of the kingdom paradox that only as we embrace our hiddenness in Christ do we have eyes to rightly see the unseen realities in our relationship with God, others, and our own selves.

Krista Vossler5.jpg

Thank you, Nancy Nordenson, for encouraging us toward hope no matter where we find ourselves on the spectrum of doing the work we’ve always wanted to do and just doing the work we’ve found.

Nancy Nordenson3.png

In between the lines of the thousands of posts I’ve logged into this blog since 2006 you can hear my own aching questions of vocation, calling, and work for Brian and me. If nothing else, the nearly twenty-eight years of our marriage has been trying to help each other figure out what we’re going to do when we grow up.

In some beautiful ways, God has helped us gain deep peace in this question and we feel like we have some answers to the question of our callings - as individuals and as a couple - that will probably stay with us for the rest of our lives. In addition to the lifelong callings of being husband and wife, mother and father, we now can add priest (Brian) and spiritual director and writer (me). Whatever else develops for us as we age (grandparenting? caregiving for family members? book writing?), we are grateful for some hard-won confidence that the recent vocational arrivals will stay with us into eternity. Hard-fought, hard-won and all the more rewarding for the sometimes excruciating insecurity on the journey.

As a part of the inaugural Work Stories series, I wrote wrote 3 stream-of-consciousness reflections on our journey:

I’d love to hear your stories, too. How have you been able to recognize the truth that some of your most extraordinary qualities are demonstrated in your ordinary work?

I hope you’ve been able to hear the stories, prayers, and songs from each week as a blessing and affirmation that your work matters.

With that in mind, let me conclude the series with some of the words Nancy Nordenson concludes Finding Livelihood:

Consider your own experiences of work, no matter whether your work falls short of or far exceeds what you thought you’d do in this life. You are at once worker, witness, and narrator, protagonist and minor character. Write your experiences ... Scribble in the margins your longings and disappointments, your passion and needs, your aspirations and limits, the tension of your planned life and your given life.
...
You’re aiming for glimpses of what’s really going on here: how work becomes more than what it is and how you become who you’re meant to be in the process; how you find livelihood even as you are making it.
— Nancy Nordenson, Finding Livelihood: A Progess of Work and Leisure

Share with us, won’t you?

Work Stories banner FB.png

I didn't intend to stay away for so long [an update]

 

Hi, friends. I've been meaning to write an update for several weeks and finally just recorded a short message to post on Instagram which I've included at the end of the post.

While I canceled several of my freelance writing assignments this summer, I've had two posts published at the Telos Collective's Intersection blog. You might recognize the content from a parenting series I wrote here some years ago, but the contents been polished up a bit (thanks to the editorial help at Telos). Head on over to their site to read. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

While you're there, take some time to peruse other posts. I've linked a few of my favorites below.

My posts on the Intersection blog:

Part 1: What Is Your Family's Cultural Footprint?

Part 2: Becoming Culture Makers and Blessers

A few other posts to check out while you're there:

Black Christians in America: A Personal Invitation from Esau McCaulley (I strongly encourage you to listen to Esau McCaulley' talk at the 2018 Intersection Conference "Towards A More Diverse Anglicanism")

What Makes A Culture Christian?

Present in the Polis: Toward an Anglican Political Theology

And here's my four-minute, off-the-cuff update:


Thank you for your companionship on the internet. I'm grateful for you and look forward to reconnecting soon!

In the meantime, I'd love your feedback on the types of posts you find most encouraging. Drop me a comment and let me know. You can browse through the menu bar at the top of the website page here for a view of the various categories I've covered over the past twelve years.

Heading home [sharing at Art House America this week]

read the whole article at Art House America

“When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.” 
—Yogi Berra

My dad loves baseball. From as far back as I can remember, he’s been a Yankees fan. He tells me he was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan until they broke his heart and moved to the West Coast. That was the 1950s and long before I knew him. His grandfather was a Yankees fan, and his parents are Yankees fans. Naturally, the man I chose to marry is a Yankees fan. But I don’t really remember anything about the Yankees before their comeback year of 1996. With a new manager, Joe Torre, who had never won a championship in his thirty-two-year career as both a player and a manager, the Bronx bombers began to live up to their pinstripe glory once again, winning their first world series since 1978. We followed every single game.

We didn’t own a television in 1996. When our third child was born in March, a few weeks before baseball spring training and a couple months before my husband completed his bachelor's degree in education, we were paying our bills with his substitute teacher income. We had no health insurance, no vacation time or sick pay, and made ends meet by picking up extra work cleaning houses. We’d put all our hopes in a college degree landing him a teaching job in the fall. Evenings in our second-floor apartment, after we put our two sons to bed, we’d tune into the game on our radio. While I sat on our hand-me-down sofa to nurse my daughter, Brian sat across the room writing résumés on our clunky IBM personal computer. It doesn’t take a therapist to figure out that we’d associated our own underdog story to the scrappy team fighting for a win, night after night, a couple hours south of us in the Bronx. 

The 1996 season introduced Yankees fans to Joe Girardi (catcher), Derek Jeter (shortstop), and Mariano Rivera (relief pitcher), among others. It’s the season we rooted for Darryl Strawberry to rise above his drug history, and he did. We worried about pitcher David Cone’s surgery to remove an aneurysm and rallied behind him when he promised to come back by the end of the season. And he did—in time to pitch a winning game in the World Series. It’s the year I discovered the joy of befriending radio announcers John Sterling and Michael Kay. Even though I’d never meet them in person, they felt like guests sitting in our living room, passing the time with warm conversation for hours each evening. We began to relish the ritual of sportscasting, loving each Yankee home run not only for the score, but also for John Sterling’s patent call: “It is high! It is far! It is gone!” Over time, he would embellish his trademark home-run call with wordplay for each player’s name. Center fielder Bernie Williams hits a run, it’s “Bern, baby, Bern!” from the announcer’s booth; first baseman Tino Martinez cracks one over the fence, “It’s the BamTino!” and so forth.  

After a long, uncertain summer, we celebrated our team’s October World Series win almost as raucously as we’d celebrated the teaching job Brian received in September. We earned a salary, and the Yankees earned a championship.

Fast forward nearly twenty years, most of our circumstances had changed. ...

read the whole article at Art House America


BONUS FEATURES: 2 extra deleted "chapters" that include my own very humbling unsportsmanlike behavior + a whole bunch of cute photos of my kids repping the Yankees over the years

“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.” -- Yogi Berra

My Dad played baseball through high school and college. By all accounts - mostly his and a couple of yellowed news blurbs clipped from the paper - he was a pretty good player. Naturally, he’s never given up hope that one of his 6 kids and 18 grandchildren might take up the sport with the same fervor. As the oldest child, I did my part in disappointing this fatherly wish with a couple of seasons of town softball. I recall these years in snatches of terror and embarrassment. Somehow, I never quite understood what was expected of me as an outfielder (wayyyy out in the field) my few times off the bench. As far as my stats at the plate, I ask you: Is there anything more humiliating than swinging a big stick at the air? The answer is no, no there isn’t. I fared slightly better on the school soccer team, not because I was any more talented, but because I could at least run around a lot between the goal and half field, and make it appear I had what my Dad called “hustle”. Although, I have a clear memory of a burly coach yelling in my direction while our team ran laps, “Hill! Can’t you make your stride any longer?!?” By that time, I’d already reached my adult height of 5’2”, and felt my stride was doing its part adequately.

During the springtime of the town league softball games, a kind, older cousin showed mercy on me, teaching me how to V my thumb, fore, and middle fingers along the leather stitching of a baseball, cupping the ball just so, and then releasing it in the generally correct direction. As far as I can remember, no one even attempted to address my incompetence with a glove.

When our own four kids were of the age for town sports, they each took a turn at T-ball, softball, or Pony League. One son got as far as relief pitching, but he quickly realized it felt like stress instead of fun, and he took up the guitar instead. All my kids leaned toward artistic, rather than athletic, pursuits. While our neighbors were schlepping their kids to the ball field, ours were making a holy rock’n roll raucous in the basement, instead. This was a development that rather pleased me - even if it was noisy.

Still, we kept up with the Yankees. Not playing baseball in the spring actually gave us more time to enjoy watching and listening to each game. We began a family tradition of giving each of our kids their own first trip to see a live game in the house that (Babe) Ruth built. We took our oldest son when he was only 5 years old, and it’s one of our happiest memories. We spent the day sightseeing the city as far as his little legs would carry him, stopping only to crane his neck upward to take in the skyscrapers. One photograph captured the image of of Brian and Andrew staring up at the Twin Towers. In the evening we sat through all nine-innings of the 1996 Yankees. Andrew’s inagural stadium trip coincided with Derek Jeter’s rookie year.

The photo I’ve kept of our second son is a close up from nosebleed seats. He’s smiling at the camera, waiting for the game to start, miniature Yankees cap shoved down on his head so far his ears are jutting out either side of his face. A little over a decade later, he and Brian would attend the final game of the 2009 World Series in the Yankees new stadium. They’d watch the home team beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3, and win one last title for the "core four" of Pettitte, Posada, Rivera and Derek Jeter. Alex would cheer as gently as possible because he was suffering a tooth infection, and was scheduled for a root canal the following morning. If you asked him, he’d still say it was totally worth it.

On one of our daughter Kendra’s first trips to the stadium she’d get the thrill of a player, Ramiro Mendoza, handing her a baseball after batting practice. She’d lisp “thank you” through her missing teeth, and later give the ball to her Dad as a Father’s Day gift. It now enjoys a treasured spot on the bookshelf in his office.

Natalie, as sometimes happens with a youngest child, would wait until she was a bit older to visit the stadium, and she wouldn’t be by herself. Our whole family would be with her, because a kind church friend gave us free tickets. But we managed to get a photo of her, cheering from the railing of our upper deck seats, taking in Brett Gardner’s first hit and first RBI in the seventh inning. Gardner went on to steal second and eventually score in that inning.

This year, the 2017 season that Natalie is living back home with us, Brett Gardner is a much-needed veteran on a team of new kids, known affectionately as the Baby Bombers. Now that we live about an hour north of the Bronx, Natalie and Brian have been to the stadium three times together this season. Thanks to generous church friends, again, she’s enjoyed great seats - most notably along the right field line within shouting distance of #99, right-fielder Aaron Judge. At that game she made it to the jumbotron, with her giant, hand-letter sign, “I’ve got 99 problems, but A. Judge isn’t one!” The home-run-derby king’s gathered a huge fan club this  year, but I’m positive none more earnest than my daughter. He should be so lucky.

“It ain't the heat, it's the humility.” -- Yogi Berra

I’m a fairweather stadium attender, myself. I mean that literally. The older I get, the more comfortable I am insisting on my own comfort, and, in my book, that includes forgoing the experience of sitting thigh-bone to sweaty thigh-bone with over 50,000 people stewing in stale beer underneath the blazing sun. I no longer feel the need to physically suffer for the love of the game.

I’d like to blame the physical discomfort of a hot, crowded stadium for one of the most epic moments of my own humility, but the truth is the weather was decent that night, and we were only sitting in our town’s double-A minor league stadium, which at capacity seats only 6,000 people. And that night we were not even close to capacity, but I was feeling clausterphobic anyway.

Here, let my son tell you in his own words (the ones he wrote for a senior-year Public Speaking class. Lord, have mercy.)

"Baseball game are rarely fun when you're sitting near drunks. That was the situation I was put in about five years ago at a Binghamton Mets game. Behind us where the drunks; in front of us were the smokers.

The drunks were mad at the smokers for smoking. They said their kids -- John, Ashley, and you know, what's-her-face (they couldn't remember because they were so drunk) -- were crying and scared because the smoke from their cigarettes were drifting upwards towards their row.

This was obnoxious to me because the drunks were obviously looking for controversy for controversy's sake. It was also obnoxious that the smokers were fighting back. They weren't drunk, and they should've had the common sense to just move up to the dozens of empty rows in front of them. It's a B-Mets game, after all. There are going to be empty seats.

The person who broke up the tiring feud was my mother. She looked back, and I swear the second before her mouth opened I could see lightning strike behind her profile. She screamed 'Shut Up!' at the drunk parents, whose little kids were now crying only because the adults were so angry at each other. She was so scary that the two rows ceased their arguments.

A couple of fighters on each side ended up speaking to each other, just stubbornly apologizing for their pointless fight. My brother and I actually spoke to each other because we could finally hear each other without all the shouting. And no one, absolutely NO ONE, spoke to my mother. And I have a feeling she was okay with that."

Brian helps Natalie ready for her catcher position in town softball.

Brian helps Natalie ready for her catcher position in town softball.

A Yankees game in 2008, Natlie's watching Brett Gardner's first hit for the Yankees.

A Yankees game in 2008, Natlie's watching Brett Gardner's first hit for the Yankees.

Brian & Alex catch the Yankees in Houston (where Alex was in college). It was Mariano Rivera's last game, 2015.

Brian & Alex catch the Yankees in Houston (where Alex was in college). It was Mariano Rivera's last game, 2015.

Alex, age 4, sporting his first Yankees cap, Christmas 1997. (That's Kendra, 21 months old, and Grandma Meacham - Brian's mom, reading the book.)

Alex, age 4, sporting his first Yankees cap, Christmas 1997. (That's Kendra, 21 months old, and Grandma Meacham - Brian's mom, reading the book.)

Alex's (age 4) first Yankees game, summer 1998.

Alex's (age 4) first Yankees game, summer 1998.

Andrew's first trip to NYC and his first Yankees game (summer 1996)

Andrew's first trip to NYC and his first Yankees game (summer 1996)

Kendra!

Kendra!

Brian and Natalie (age 19) at Yankees Stadium, June 2017.

Brian and Natalie (age 19) at Yankees Stadium, June 2017.