Haruko Hasumi loves baseball – Japanese baseball, American baseball. She flew from Tokyo to DFW in 1991 and witnessed the seventh and last no-hitter of Nolan Ryan’s career.
First time I met her, she was wearing her SWOBODA 4 Mets jersey outside the Tokyo Dome in 2000. She and the Swoboda family were in Queens for the final days of Shea Stadium in 2008. This year Hasumi began following another team – Nichidai-Fujisawa High School. She has been going to the same dentist, Yasuki Ito, for many years, and this spring his son Rui was a senior on the team.
“I heard that parents cheered for their children every game but they had no time taking photos,” she wrote in an e-mail. “That's why I thought of taking photos for them. At first I introduced myself to the parents, ‘Hi guys, I'm Dr. Ito's patient since 1990.’ That cracks them up.They call me ‘Ms. Patient.’”
Recently, Nichidai-Fujisawa was playing in the Kanagawa Prefecture playoff, the prelude to the famous Koshien national tournament. (Final Four and Super Bowl, wrapped into one.)
In the ninth inning, she caught Rui Ito throwing out a runner at home, and his father cheering in the stands.
But the team lost, which is clear from the mothers’ faces. The players bowed, everybody cheered – and the juniors had to carry the bags to the team bus.
Now Haruko will devote her energy to rooting for the Mets, from afar. And good luck with that.
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)