Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Dodgers, Yankees, Rosh Hashana

BENNINGTON -- L'shana tovah!

In Hebrew it means best wishes for the new year.

Tonight starts the 2-day holiday called Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, 5773; 2012 was so 3761 years ago.

Wishing folks L'shana tovah is the extent of my Judaism the last 25 years. I had a bar mitzvah October 13, 1984, then had my confirmation 3 years later in 10th grade and haven't been back to temple since then save an appearance or two at High Holiday services. Religion is not who I am, not who I ever will be. God? Please. You can't fake what you don't believe in your heart of hearts.

Anyway, the man above is holding a Star of David trivet. He and his wife walked into Fiddlehead at Four Corners a little while ago and bought the ceramic art piece used for cooking or holding hot dishes. Trivets are popular here. Five minutes after they bought their trivet, another hubby and wife from Central Mass bought one.

But anyway.

I saw his shirt when he walked in and sparked a conversation.

"Yankees fan?"

"Yeah. Am I allowed in here?"

"Of course you are. I'm a Dodgers fan, but we can coexist."

He said he liked the Dodgers, when they were the Brooklyn Dodgers. I asked who his favorite Bums were.

"The Duke, Hodges ... Campanella."

"That's when teams stayed together 12 years," I said. "When I was a kid it was Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey ... "

"That's when they were in L.A.," he said.

We talked baseball a bit. I said the Dodgers stink this year, said the trade with the Red Sox is turning into a bunk trade and yadda yadda. Said that I don't want them backing into the playoffs as a second wild card. If you're going to the playoffs, win the division.

"I agree," he said before injecting a silver lining into the chat. "They have a great manager now. Great manager."

"It must've been a joy to watch Donnie Baseball during his prime," I said and he said "It was. It really was."

That's when I asked his name. "Marc," he said. "M-A-R-C."

"My older brother's name is M-A-R-C. ... ... We don't talk too much."

And as I spelled Marc's name I thought about how I've had maybe 3 conversations with him the last 19 years, and thought about how it's the Jewish new year and that maybe I need to stop being an asshole brother and start anew and reach out to him; reach out to both of my brothers on a regular basis.

I was packing the trivet in bubble wrap and tape when Marc the Yankees fan walked over. He said he's 72 and that when he was a boy his dad took him to Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium. He said there aren't many people who can claim that anymore.

There is no bigger Dodger fan than my dad, born and raised in Long Beach, California. He is 71. His mom was born and raised in New York City. Grandpa Harry and Grandma Edna went to NYC often, and when they could they brought my dad to Ebbets Field. His favorite team of all time is the '55 Dodgers. That was the season of seasons in Brooklyn.

Soon the Brooklyn Dodgers were the Los Angeles Dodgers. My Dodgers.

"What was your favorite field," I asked Marc, "Ebbets, the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium?"

"Yankee Stadium," he answered. "But I liked all three."

Marc and Laura left with their trivet, a gift to Jewish friends with whom they plan to break the Yom Kippur fast in 10 days.

Shofars from here to Haifa will sound for the next day and a half during Rosh Hashana ceremonies. On a baseball level, it's probably time to blow the horn on the Dodgers because ain't a chance they're catching the Giants. Bums.

For a Cliff Notes explanation of Rosh Hashana click HERE.

UPDATE (9-17): Marc emailed this morning thanking me for writing the blog. He said people promise to do things but don't follow through so he was happy to read the piece about him. He also wrote this:

"I don't think I mentioned my two favorite Yankees of all time. Thurman Munson was my longtime favorite and I cried the night I found out he was killed. He was a great ballplayer."

"My all-time favorite is Derek Jeter, he is a class act and everything a ballplayer should be. He is certainly one of the best players with all the big numbers he puts up, plays even when hurt and has never said a bad thing (in public anyway) about anyone or anything."

Marc closed by saying "I hope both our teams get in the playoffs."

There's a much greater chance of me believing in God than that happening, Marc.