Monday, March 31, 2008

Asparagus with a side of horsehide


There are three things that say "spring" to me: fresh asparagus, baseball's opening day, and the sound of wind machines running in the vineyards. And getting in nine holes after work. Ok, that's four things that say "spring" to me. Actually, big fat robins out in the yard, that says "spring" too, so let's say there are five things. Or more. Who's counting?

The point is, springtime is here, the asparagus is jumping and the robins are high - the baseball players are rich, and their girlfriends are good looking. So excuse me if I rise up singing, ok?

Of course, it is a little bittersweet this baseball season's start. The Giants opened their season today by getting skunked by the hated Dodgers (who are now coached by Joe Torre, who is a guy I've always liked, so I'm stuck liking a guy wearing a Dodger uniform, which is -- uncomfortable, let's say.) Some people are saying the Giants just need to have a realistic goal for these year, like not losing all 162 games. And then there are my beloved Cardinals. They have four rookies on their roster, Fat Albert Pujols may need elbow surgery, and their only two pitchers who have recognizable names are on the DL. All the same, the season has started and hope springs eternal. A formerly young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of doubles in the gap and the properly executed hit and run. That and asparagus.

When I was a kid I had a complete mental block on asparagus. I had eaten it once and it was probably cooked to death, which made it both mushy and stringy, and afterwards just the thought of it made me want to chowder. One day in the lunch room at Stapleton Elementary they served it, and I left it on my plate. One of the teachers said I had to at least try it. I replied that I would most assuredly barf if I put the asparagus in my mouth. She forced the issue, and I proved that I was a boy of my word by upchucking it directly. That teacher learned a lesson that day. Kids that age barf a lot, for no apparent reason, so if a kid tells you they're going to barf, they probably will. Asparagus and I went our separate ways for many years after that, but in returning to it as a grown up boy I have learned it is one of the best things there is, and completely barf-free at this stage.

So for all these reasons I cast my vote in favor of spring. I think we should have it every single year.

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