This is the welcome mat below deck of the Pride of Baltimore II, a Baltimore Clipper tall ship, circa the War of 1812.
The crew of the Pride of Baltimore II find their joy on a craft that catches wind in mighty sails that carry them across the bounding main — and the Great Lakes. They rest easy on a ship that can anchor when needed, save them in peril, and fire up weapons to fend off foes.
Their happy place is nothing like mine — I prefer dry land, uncrowded sleeping space and luxurious showers — but I find joy in knowing that the crew of the awesome tall ship is in their happy place when skimming across glinting waters .
This morning I checked the date and thought, “It’s Maggie’s birthday!”
I laughed at myself then, because Maggie isn’t real. Well, that’s not true. She’s real to me.
She’s a character in a novel I’m writing. She was born in Shea Stadium on the day the Montreal Expos played their first game—fifty years ago today, April 8, 1969. The place and time of her birth determine her destiny: She is the female entrepreneur who brings back the Montreal Expos.
Some people say baseball is life, and I would agree. That’s why so many of our day-to-day expressions (clichés) come from the game: step up to the plate, go down swinging, cover all the bases, throw a curve ball, swing for the fences, or better yet, knock it out of the park. I’m just spitballing here, and maybe you think it’s a screwball idea coming out of left field and that I’m way off base—you can touch base with me about that later—but if you’re a heavy hitter who plays hardball, even if you occasionally strike out, soon it’s a whole new ball game.
I could go on.
Life Lessons from Dead Women (working title) is about baseball and life. Some of Maggie’s life lessons include:
Hot dog buns make excellent pillows.
Damage helps us get a grip.
Wrong is right and right is wrong, but it’s all right.
Curious . . .? I hope so.
I was alive at the time the Expos played that first game against the New York Mets, but I don’t remember it. I know that my father would have had his nose up to the TV. He was a baseball fan in general and an Expos fan in particular. He taught all of us the game, and led us on trips to Jarry Park to watch them play. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the bleachers and watching the great Rusty Staub warm up.
I don’t remember the game, but I’ll have a chance to listen to it. TSN 690 Radio in Montreal is replaying the original broadcast at 7:00 p.m. EDT, April 8.