Friday, June 10, 2016

When the Streetlights Come On

I smile when I read about the Democratic National Committee, DNC, struggling with their Bernie Problem; that is, what to do with the Senator whose sticker is on my automobile's back window.  

To be fair, the DNC didn’t know what to do with him when he interjected himself into the coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton over a year ago and made a right mess of that whole procession. How silly to think he'd go quietly and take so many of us with him.

And now, to add insult to injury he refuses to acknowledge that they see him as little more than Banquo’s Ghost but with millions of adherents and who knows how many new voters, they can’t get rid of him fast enough. Maybe they could send him an email, or is Mrs. Clinton handling that? Kidding, but only just.

Here’s the thing: as a Jersey kid growing up on Bloomfield Avenue in Franklin Township, which was a bedroom suburb of New Brunswick, itself a wholly-owned (or so it seemed) subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and Rutgers University, it always seemed to me that the summer days went on forever.

You’d gather up all the boys and girls (we didn’t care, not because we were so enlightened but we needed all the ballplayers we could find to have enough for teams) from up and down the street as well as from over on Simpson and Appleman. 

We'd head towards what passed for a baseball field, a big, flat lot with grass and dirt over where Fairmont and Irvington intersected (all built up for probably the last 50 years) for all-day baseball games far enough away from all the houses no windows were ever in danger.

Everyone brought lunch and maybe a snack. The folks on Girard had a hose on the side of the house they’d let us use to get a drink of water as long as we didn’t get too loud or make too much of a mess. We’d always promise not to but then forget and usually did anyway.

We never kept score; it didn’t matter, but the baseball sure did. Some kids had gloves or bats or balls or (because my dad was rich, I guessed, not that I knew and he wasn’t) in my case all of the above, and everyone played with everything all day and nothing ever got lost or stolen. I couldn’t tell you how many innings the games lasted or how long because none of us wore watches which was about the same number of us who could tell time.

But we all knew when we had to be home for dinner, which is sort of my point, assuming I have one at all, for the DNC. In those days, it took awhile for the street lights to warm up. They all had sensors and when the night finally arrived, the street lights would sputter and start to softly glow and you rushed to finish the inning or the at bat but also to savor the whole day before you ran home.

Dinner was served when the whole family was home and we were told to be home by dark. No exceptions and no excuses. Same was/is true in Brooklyn where Senator Sanders grew up playing stick ball. As far as I know, the DNC convention will be in a Philadelphia neighborhood with streetlights. Wait until they find out Bernie knows the rule, too.
-bill kenny

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