My New Favorite Player

Some friends asked me if I would take a few pictures of their son during his senior year at Brazoswood.  (If you looked in here around the middle of March, his photos were running on the sidebar from my Flickr site postings.)

Graydon Hill pitched for the Brazoswood High School Bucs until this summer when his doc pulled him and sent him to the showers. A medical condition eliminated pitching from the things he would be able to do during his senior year. Doc said he could still bat, run bases and play at first base occasionally.

So I went around town Wednesday with Graydon and his parents to take some shots. It was a cloudy, muggy day, the only time he had available due to tournament play and work during his spring break. I enjoyed taking pictures and he tolerated it pretty well. He gave me some great photos and I did my best to catch them.

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Graydon simulates his pitching motion for the camera. His doc won’t allow him to pitch anymore.

Graydon was expected to be one of his team’s starting pitchers this year. But disappointment is a temporary condition when you are as able with the bat as he is. The role of DH seems to suit him well. The day after our photo shoot he was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. In one day he surpassed my lifetime stats in Jacinto City teen play.

Graydon had no intention of making a career of his beloved game. Sorry, Astros. He has been accepted into Texas A&M’s very competitive engineering program. So, no more Aggie jokes. They were smart enough to pull this kid in. They are doing a lot more than playing football and cultivating maroon veggies for H.E.B.

Graydon is one of our graduating seniors at Chapelwood this year. I understand that he has also graciously accepted the job of unofficial team chaplain. He must be doing a good job. They won their Thursday game 18-4.

So, you ask, what happened to my old favorite player? She graduated and went to University of South Carolina to play softball with the rest of the best. The two of them, Anna and Graydon, give me hope for the world we live in at a time when hopeful signs seem hard to come by.

 

 

Methodists – Stay Put! We Have Work to Do.

A few days ago, a strange instrument of polity we United Methodists created to resolve – hopefully once and for all – the question of the denomination’s acceptance of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex marriages met and failed. Without going into all the details, suffice it to say that the special session of the General Conference “resolved” the issue by emphatically endorsing existing language of the Book of Discipline that forbids the ordination of gay clergy and prohibits any ordained member of the clergy from officiating marriages for same-sex couples.

This all started in 1972 with the insertion of language into the Discipline of a statement meant to support the rights of gay members in the church and in society. However, conservatives at that General Conference succeeded in capping it off with  following additional clause: “…although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

To the contrary, it is this exclusionary provision that is more likely incompatible with Christian teaching in the estimation of most 21st century United Methodists in America. Most of us see it as wrong to pretend that God’s love and the grace of Jesus Christ is somehow less available to people who express their love and commitment to each other in relationships that do not conform to 19th and 20th century ideas of acceptability.

Continue reading “Methodists – Stay Put! We Have Work to Do.”

Yes, We Have a National Emergency – A Mental Health Emergency.

And if you have any doubts, watch this video from the New York Times web site this morning. We haven’t had a leader with such serious mental health issues since King George III.

Here’s a piece by Jennifer Senior that helped me understand him. From her February 9 column in the New York Times:

I’m not convinced, as some people are, that the Twitter fusillades from the White House are part of a larger strategy of distraction, specifically intended to divert us from this particular administration’s malfeasance and failures. I think our president’s attention span is genuinely scattershot. (“Post-literate,” Michael Wolff called him in “Fire and Fury.” Seems about right.) When I imagine his brain, I imagine a bug zapper in a drizzle. Bzzzzzzzzzzt. Fzzzz. Bzzz fzzz bzzzzzzzzzzt.

And there is this from the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank citing his Rose Garden performance as evidence enough to provoke discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment.

Opening Tonight at Brazosport Center Stages: “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”

If you were coming of age in the Fifties and Sixties, the music you heard every day on the radio still lives in your head. “Yakety Yak,” “Searchin’,” “Charlie Brown,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Hound Dog” – to name a very few – are songs that never go away. But do you have any idea who wrote them? Probably not.

Brazosport Center Stages opens “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” tonight in the Freeport LNG venue, aka, the large theater. Directed by Jean Warren, it is really more of a musical revue than a play. It consists entirely of songs written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller performed by excellent musicians from our area. Just a few of the singers you will hear are Elon Coates, Lizzy Conger, Amber Crawford, Jacob Aguilar, Cameron Losoya, Mason Rod, Chayton Herbst, Maurice Williams, and some new folks whose names I can’t recall to tell you right now. But they are all good. (Send me a tip if you identify them in the photo below.) More photos are posted to the Flickr site here.

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Lest you think this is a show for old timers, I can tell you that when I finished shooting photos of the invited dress rehearsal last night, I spotted some high schoolers on the third row and I asked a young man if he knew someone in the cast.

“No but I love this music,” he said.

“A gift to you from my generation,” I said.

“Wow. Thanks,” he said.

“Fee, fee, fi, fi, fo, fo, FUM, I smell smoke in the audi-tor-i-UM … ” I said.

It’s a great show. Come out, listen, and re-live to the birth of rock and roll – back when you could make out the words in the songs.

Maybe you can even learn how to shimmy.

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Reservations available online at The Center web site. The remaining shows:

Saturday, Feb 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb 3 at 2:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb 8 and Saturday, Feb 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb 10 at 2:30 p.m.

The Mental Health Benefits of DELETING Your Facebook Account

I ran across this report in The Guardian tonight. While it seems like a pretty weak research design, I concur with their finding based on my own experience that there can be happiness after Facebook. I ditched my account in April or May of 2018 (I’m not counting) and really haven’t missed it a bit. I write more letters with ink and pen. Anything Putin wants to know about me, he just has to wait for me to write him a letter.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

We Give Texas a Speaker: Dennis Bonnen

When my daughter came home during a break in her first year in college in 1996, she drove up to Angleton one day to meet me at work and have lunch. We headed over to the Texas Rose, an establishment run by a British expat who made the best hamburger in Brazoria County at the time. As we left the Texas Rose, young Dennis Bonnen followed us out the door and stopped us on the sidewalk.

“Mr. Fowler, I sure would appreciate your vote in the runoff next month.”

Dennis was pretty fresh out of college with a political science degree, a boatload of energy, and presenting for public office for the first time. He had barely made it into the runoff by edging out Beaver Aplin (yes, that Beaver) by ten votes. I had to tell Dennis that I was not qualified to vote in his runoff since I had voted in the Democratic primary.

The rest is history, of course. Beaver Aplin invested his free time in his gas station business and went on to develop the regionally famous “Buc-ee’s” brand. Dennis, won the runoff, served the next twenty-two years in the Texas House and on January 8 of this year was elected Speaker by unanimous vote of the membership.

Continue reading “We Give Texas a Speaker: Dennis Bonnen”