A good actor always knows his cues. The last loads of Super Bowl schleppers were being hauled back to civilization when Derek Jeter entered, stage right.
Jeter took batting practice on the field in Tampa Monday and said he was fine. Of course, he says that when he has broken bones.
Funny thing. I was thinking of Jeter last Thursday while watching the current London production of Coriolanus, in our favorite movie house in Kew Gardens, Queens.
It seemed to me that the star, Tom Hiddleston, resembled the Yankee captain: A star. A distant star. But a star, nonetheless.
Probably not a good recommendation for the production, if your mind wanders like that. Hiddleston is popular with young audiences. (The Queens audience skewed decades younger than usual for the mid-week production, live from the UK.)
We saw Ian McKellan play Coriolanus at the National Theatre in 1984, for goodness' sakes. McKellan was 45, an aging and properly arrogant soldier-survivor. Hiddleston looks like a star shortstop.
With my mind wandering from this pop version of Shakespeare, I found myself hoping Jeter has one more good year left in him. This is no fun, even for somebody emphatically not a Yankee fan, to watch the wheels fall off one of the signature players of our time.
Jeter has started the rallies, clapping his hands as he reached second base, standing up, staring back at the dugout, as if saying, “Next!”
He retrieved a wayward baseball and retired a knucklehead who did not bother to slide. (One of my favorite columns:)
Jeter has also played an extremely dependable shortstop.
He is the Yankee captain. He doesn’t give much of himself away, but he represents the team. Coriolanus would respect him.
Is it too much to ask that Derek Jeter be healthy and productive for one more season, clapping his hands at second base and retiring knuckleheads?
Plus, he knows his theatre. Football exits, stage left. The captain walks out on the field.
More and More, I Talk to the Dead--Margaret Renkl
NASHVILLE — After my mother died so suddenly — laughing at a rerun of “JAG” at 10 p.m., dying of a hemorrhagic stroke by dawn — I dreamed about her night after night. In every dream she was willfully, outrageously alive, unaware of the grief her death had caused. In every dream relief poured through me like a flash flood. Oh, thank God!
Then I would wake into keening grief all over again.
Years earlier, when my father learned he had advanced esophageal cancer, his doctor told him he had perhaps six months to live. He lived far longer than that, though I never thought of it as “living” once I learned how little time he really had. For six months my father was dying, and then he kept dying for two years more. I was still working and raising a family, but running beneath the thin soil of my own life was a river of death. My father’s dying governed my days.
After he died, I wept and kept weeping, but I rarely dreamed about my father the way I would dream about my mother nearly a decade later. Even in the midst of calamitous grief, I understood the difference: My father’s long illness had given me time to work death into the daily patterns of my life. My mother’s sudden death had obliterated any illusion that daily patterns are trustworthy.
Years have passed now, and it’s the ordinariness of grief itself that governs my days. The very air around me thrums with absence. I grieve the beloved high-school teacher I lost the summer after graduation and the beloved college professor who was my friend for more than two decades. I grieve the father I lost nearly 20 years ago and the father-in-law I lost during the pandemic. I grieve the great-grandmother who died my junior year of college and the grandmother who lived until I was deep into my 40s.
Some of those I grieve are people I didn’t even know. How can John Prine be gone? I hear his haunting last song, “I Remember Everything,” and I still can’t quite believe that John Prine is gone.
Jan. 30, 2023