Monday, January 29, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 01/28/18: Trip to Worley, Turkey Stock, Going Back About Forty-Five Years

1. Ed swung by and picked me up and he drove us to the CdA Casino where we bought tickets for boxing matches coming up on March 1. Several of us are going down and because Ed jumped on buying tickets right away, we were able to secure a row of seats in the reserved section. The last time I went to a live boxing match was when I was a little kid and the Elks Club sponsored a night for youngsters who were learning to box at the YMCA to have it out and Dad took me. I remember being glad that Dad never encouraged me to box and I can't remember if I enjoyed watching these kids box.

I do remember, though, that I used to watch a lot of boxing matches on television with my dad and, as I got older, with friends. In high school, if I got home kind of late, there was a boxing show that played around 12:30 on local television on Friday (I think) called Boxing from the Forum, taped in Los Angeles. On that show, it seemed like every white boxer was nicknamed "Irish" and my teammates on the American Legion baseball team laughed and laughed about it and would call everyone by their real name and put "Irish" before it, the way the announcers did on Boxing from the Forum. I got such a big kick out doing this, no matter if a guy's name was Slavic or Italian or Norwegian or whatever, that one of my teammates called me "Irish", and when I ran into him at Yoke's last spring, I said, "Hi John" and he responded, "Irish? Is that you, Irish?" It was me. Irish. It had been a long time since anyone called me that.

So we'll see if any of the pugilists at the casino will be nicknamed, "Irish" and we'll see if the old enjoyment of watching men box is still inside me. One thing I know for sure: it will be fun to have a night out with Ed, Buff, Jerry, Scott, Pete, and whoever else might come.

2. I opened up the package of turkey necks I bought at Pilgrim's on Friday and roasted them for about 45 minutes, turning them over about every ten minutes.  After they cooled a bit, I put them in the slow cooker, poured about four quarts of water over them and tossed in a chopped onion, celery leaves, garlic, a handful of baby carrots, pepper, salt, a couple of bay leaves, and, on a whim, some chopped kale leftover in the fridge. This stock will bubble away for at least the next four days, but while I do a two day preparation for a colonoscopy on Thursday, since I can drink broth, I'll probably dip into it from time to time during my fast from solid foods.

3. Thinking about all the funny ways we entertained each other on the Kellogg-Wallace American Legion team reminded me of one day when a fellow teammate drove into the swimming pool parking lot before a game, smoking a cigarette, and blaring Rare Earth: In Concert over the little speakers in his sub-compact car -- was it a Ford Pinto? A Chevrolet Vega?  The track filling the parking lot was "I Just Want to Celebrate" and, to be honest, I thought this album was my secret pleasure because I hadn't heard any other friends or teammates or anyone talking about it and I was mega fired up to hear it. That moment of feeling a part of a Rare Earth body of listeners beyond myself came back to me last night so I listened to the whole album and it was thrilling, especially the long jam on the "Get Ready" track which lasts about twenty-three minutes. The older I get, the more I enjoy long jams like this one, whether it's Rare Earth or The Grateful Dead or John Coltrane, and this one really pleased me all over again.

Before I listened to Rare Earth, I listened to the entirety of one of the most listened to albums of all among my Kellogg friends: The Best of the Guess Who. I suppose that along with Credence Clearwater Revival, the Guess Who was about the most popular band of many of my friends and I had a good time listening to tunes like "These Eyes" and "Share the Land" and "Undun" and  "Hang on to Your Life" and not only enjoyed this album in the moment, but enjoyed how much this music was around me and my friends in high school and in the years to follow. We affectionately referred to it as The Guess of the Best Who. Ha!

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