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Five {really thirteen!} Books That Changed Me

This morning I was watching Super Soul Sunday on Oprah’s OWN network, and she was playing old inspirational episodes. One of them was an interview with Betty Eadie, the author of Embraced By The Light which was published in 1992. It chronicled her Near Death Experience, and at the time was the most lengthy and detailed account that we had of someone’s experience of dying and coming back to life.

I had been urged to read this book by my friend Hope who had had a Near Death Experience, and it had been recommended to her as a way to make sense of what she had gone through. {Hope has since crossed over, and you can read my post A Visit From The Afterlife to see how she came through to me in a dream}. Reading Betty’s book set me out on a search for knowledge about what happens when we die. The books I read, combined with personal experiences, did something more than convince me of the existence of an afterlife-it convinced me of the existence of a Higher Power. Sometimes I call it God, sometimes The Universe, but either way, I am a true believer and I credit the authors of many many books for that. Reading the same themes from so many different people, I couldn’t help but believe.

At this time, the New Age section in Barnes & Noble was about a four foot section – and only about 4 shelves high. Not even close to the aisles devoted to it now. I was thirsty for information and all I could find were astrology books and books about the Occult. There were the scientific books, of course, like Life After Life by Raymond Moody and On Death & Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, but I had read them in a Death, Dying & Bereavement class in college, and they were both good, but very dry. Same with the studies of Edgar Cayce – interesting, but not what you’d call a page turner. These books are all important in the study of Life After Death, but for the average reader who is curious about it, but not a doctor or scientist, I have found some books on the topic that turned me from reluctant skeptic to believer. I thought it would be nice to share the titles that I learned the most from with my readers.

1) The Bridge Across Forever / One
By Richard Bach

Years before reading Embraced by the Light, I had my first taste of Destiny and Soul Mates and how everything is connected to everything else when I read these two – in this order. I was suddenly hooked on metaphysics, and I didn’t even know that was what it was called yet.

2) Out on a Limb / Dancing In The Light
By Shirley MacLaine

Over a decade before Embraced by the Light hit the bestseller list, Shirley MacLaine wrote Out On A Limb. Anyone who loves to read or write about the paranormal and metaphyical needs to show some serious gratitude to Shirley. She took one for the team back in the early 80s by putting herself out there in the public eye, vulnerable to the hostile criticism, accusations of insanity, and vicious jokes by late night comedians that got passed around at water coolers the next day. I was in middle school then, but even I remember the hype surrounding it. I never really took her seriously (c’mon, I was ten!) Until I read these two books-again, in this order. You have to see how she goes from skeptic to willing ambassador for reincarnation and even UFOs! She was chosen for that. She had the means to devote her life to learning and because of her celebrity, her books got into the hands of enough people that the collective consciousness began to shift. Sure, there were the ones laughing, but there were just as many starting to quietly question things. People who like me yearned to learn more. I was late to the party, as I didn’t read it till about 10 years ago. Evidently, it was meant for me to have read some other books first, so that I could truly appreciate her metamorphosis since I was going through one of my own at the time.

Anyway, she rocks, you should totally read them, and if you own a dog, you should then read Out On a Leash.

3) Life On The Other Side / The Other Side And Back (and all of her books-but these first)
By Sylvia Browne

I was a property manager for a while, and there was a girl who lived in the apartment next to my office who was a Reiki healer (or whatever you call them…she did Reiki!) an we talked about metaphysical, new agey stuff when she would hang out in my office. One day she brought me these two books and they changed my life. Sylvia had gone through the same Catholic upbringing, but not getting anything out of it. She started to question things that she was being taught, because they didn’t make sense to her. I had felt the same way, and now she was showing me that it was ok not to just blindly follow the dogma of a religion because that is how you were raised. I learned about the Gnostics and I learned what the other side is like by her channeling her spirit guide. A lot that came through validated other things I’d read about what others had experienced. I also learned more about something I’d always known but many do not: the fact that psychics, mediums and the like get their gifts from GOD, not from the devil. They are not devil worshipers. This is why I felt it necessary to share that it was through learning about psychics and mediums {and psychic-mediums} that I came to start believing in a Higher Power. Would Satan-worshipers let that happen?

4) Heaven is For Real
By Lynne Vincent and Todd Burpo

A story about Todd’s son Colin’s journey to the other side. A kid couldn’t make this stuff up. This kid saw Jesus-FOR REAL. I saw him on a show talking about how he met Jesus. He later looked at many pictures of Jesus, but when he saw a painting by young artist Akiane Kramarik entitled Prince of Peace, he said that was him. Akiane has also seen Jesus, by the way, so here’s 2 kids who saw Jesus and one had the God-given talent to paint a realistic painting of who she saw. Unbelievable, but ya just gotta believe it anyway!

5) Left To Tell
By Immaculee Ilibagiza

Now, this one’s not about life after death, but it was the nail in the coffin, so to speak, for my belief in God. Long story short, she taught me about forgiveness by forgiving the people who were hunting her down during the Rwandan Genocide. The way she was obviously protected by prayer on multiple occasions was what sealed my faith. I took her story and learned how to forgive a boss for causing stress because she knew not what she did. I didn’t tell her that, but I forgave her in my heart. It changed our relationship, so that by the time she was let go, I felt genuinely sorry for her. It changed the way I have dealt with other people going forward, and it made me a better person {if I do say so myself, haha!}. Everyone should read this book. It’s AH-MAY-ZING.

So those are the ones that made a specific impact on me, but I highly recommend some others after you get through those and you need more: Read on if you’re interested!

90 Minutes in Heaven., by Don Piper

God on a Harley / Heaven in High Gear, by Joan Brady

Everything Happens For a Reason, by Suzane Northrup

Anything by Sylvia Browne {Past Lives, Future Healing is pretty fascinating}

Anything by John Edward, James Van Praagh, Gary Zukav

Welcome to To Be Read Mountain! Happy Reading!

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Magic Happens

Yesterday, June 6th,would have been my dad’s birthday. I wanted to share something I wrote for my parents 50th Anniversary. It is a true story about two people who were destined to be together, Hope it brightens your day!

 

Magic Happens

A true love story

“Be my valentine.  You are the sunshine of my life.”  The words written in perfect script were almost never read.  At first glance, Don hadn’t noticed the hand-made valentine from Judy, his wife of 48 years. He almost tossed it away in the trash without a second thought.  Even after all this time, she still surprises me, he thought, as he got up and hobbled on unsteady feet from the kitchen to the bedroom.

Judy was in there, still putting on her face.  She heard him enter the room and thought he was coming to get something that she could have more easily brought to him.

“What do you need?  I’ll get it,” she asked. 

“Nothing,” he said.  Then smiling at her added, “You are the sunshine of my life too.”

Judy’s face relaxed into a schoolgirl smile.  Having left it on the kitchen table before she went to bed, she had forgotten about the card.

Some people are destined to be together.  Sometimes the clues are more obvious than other times.  With Don and Judy, the signs went back to even before they met.

When Judy was in eighth grade, a seventh-grader named Joyce McCue sat next to her in class.  Judy thought that was a nice last name, and liked the way it looked when she wrote her first name with that last name.  She practiced it over and over:  “Judith V. McCue”.  

Joyce’s Uncle Don had no idea he already had a wife.

Don was talking about marrying Judy before he met her also.  When he was in Koreaplaying baseball in the Army, mail call was always an exciting time.  The expectations were always high.  No matter what you got for mail, it was good to get.  One day, Don received the latest issue of The Illuminator, a newsletter for employees of the Hartford Electric Light Company where he worked.  On the cover was a picture of a kick-line in a Rockette’s-style dance show.  Don said to one of his buddies, “I’m gonna marry the one in the middle.”

His friend said, “Oh yeah? What’s her name?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?  Haven’t you met her?”

“Not yet.”

“Well, what if she has a boyfriend?”

“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Back on American soil, Don worked in the store room at the light company, and was sometimes called upon to deliver appliances to people who had bought them through the company.  When he had to go to the building on Pearl Street where Judy worked, he would try to time it so that he could ride in the elevator with her, so  that he could see how much taller than him she would be in heels.

On one of the hottest days of the year, the company had an outing.   The guys were playing baseball and Judy was watching from the bleachers with her friend Barbara Modine, who at the time was going with Don’s nephew Billy Adams.   The heat was unbearable.  After the game, he came over and Barbara introduced them.

 He had a beer in his hand.  Judy wasn’t much of a beer drinker—never cared for the taste, really—but she had always heard people say how good a cold beer tastes on a hot day.  She was melting form the heat, so she asked him if she might have a sip of his beer. 

It sure was cold. 

She still didn’t like it.

          At a sports banquet that year, the guests were seated at very long tables.  Judy and her friend Norma were sitting down towards one end, and Don was down toward the other end, but on the other side of the table.  The person sitting next to Don got up to go see someone, and Norma said, “Ooh, there’s a seat open down there next to Don McCue…I’m going to go sit next to him!” and headed off down one side of the table and around the end.

          Don looked down the long table and said to himself, Hey, there’s a seat open down there next to Judy Van Ostrand…I’m going to go sit next to her!, and proceeded to walk down the other side of the table and around the end. 

Norma never spoke to Judy again.

After they went out a few times, Judy didn’t hear from him for awhile.  Her mom asked, “What ever happened to that McCue boy?”  Judy just shrugged and said she didn’t know, but figured that he just wasn’t interested, so he stopped calling.  Judy wasn’t really looking for anyone.  She had given up on ever finding anyone, actually.

 Too bad though.  She liked him.

Since his family didn’t really know they were dating, she was unaware that the jaundice that he brought home fromKoreahad landed him in the hospital.   Don didn’t want to worry his mother, so he kept wearing the same yellow shirt day after day.  When she would mentioned that he looked a bit yellow, he told her it was just the reflection off his shirt.

One day, Judy and her family were visiting some friends inNew York, and Don was calling her all day.  He had finally gotten a car, and he couldn’t wait to come show her!  Now they could go on dates without having to coordinate it with his friends so that someone could take him to pick her up.  They had gotten home pretty late, but her dad let him come over to show her the car.

The coincidences didn’t stop there either.  Riding the bus on her way to work, she was talking to a lady named Joan Blais.  Joan asked her if she was seeing anyone, and Judy said that she was sort of dating someone.  When Joan asked to see a picture, she said, “Oh my god, that’s my Uncle Joe’s brother!”  Small world!

Soon after that, Don asked Judy, “What would you like for your birthday?  Do you want a hope chest or a diamond?  We’re getting married you know?”  Always one to be practical, she chose the hope chest.

Naturally, she got both.

Fifty years later, they are still happily married.  Not to say that they didn’t have their trials and tribulations to get through, but neither could have gotten through anything without the other.

Theirs is a love story that has stood the test of time.  It is a true love story, and it goes to prove that destiny is real.  This is however, not a story written for aHollywoodmovie, but something that truly happened to two of my favorite people.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

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Se7en Challenge

It’s been a long time since I have logged onto my blog, but a challenge from my Twitter besties, @clraven has me back in front of the laptop.

So here is the deal. Go to page 7 or 77 of your manuscript. Go to the 7th line down then copy and paste the next 7 lines into your blog. Then tag 7 other people and ask them to do the same. 

I have accepted the challenge, but I can’t decide between the 7 lines on page 7, or the 7 lines on page 77…..I say, throw the rules of the challenge out the window! I am putting both!!! I hope that I can figure out how to tag some of my Writer Tweeps an issue this challenge to them, but if not, here are my two excerpts – I hope they are worthy. The lines are from my almost finished manuscript, The Other Side Of The Fence. On Page 7, Marco recalls the day he was sentenced, and how his wife reacted:

He only heard sobbing on the other end of the phone, followed by a muffled whisper saying only, “I can’t”. He hung up the phone knowing he had lost her. It wasn’t fair to her to keep pushing and putting her through the stress of siding with him against her family. She needed them now. She needed their help raising Desiree. Their marriage was over, this was undeniable. Maybe they would find some common ground again, but if not, he could get over that. He would never get over losing his daughter. Maybe her opinion of him hadn’t been completely tainted.

On Page 77, Robin finds the names of the people she believes were saved by her late husband when the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11:

She came across the piece of paper with the names on it while going through her desk tonight. She didn’t know at the time why she kept it, but now she had an idea. She might look them up. Ever since seeing the story, she had let herself believe that it was Sam. It comforted her to know that his sacrifice benefited these nice people. A part of her wanted to meet Helen and Pete to have them confirm that he was their hero, but another part of her was afraid their truth may only serve to extinguish her hope. It was a slim chance that it was him, yet as much as she wanted to know what really happened to Sam on that last day of his life, she wasn’t ready yet to face that kind of a letdown.

So that’s that. I hope you enjoyed it. You all are the first to see any of this in years, so be kind! 🙂

Now I need to decide who to issue my challenge to…I have many ideas, let’s see who will play!

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A Visit From the Afterlife

For years I have been fascinated by Life After Death. I have read probably 75% of the books written on the topic, and believe more than ever that our souls continue on after they are done in this life. The following is my story of  when I was visited by a dearly departed friend. I had read other people’s accounts of this type of visit, but once I had my own, I never doubted again.

 

OnAugust 4, 2003, my dear friend Hope passed away, 13 years after she briefly crossed over once before.  Hope was one of the most vibrant, outspoken people I had ever met, with an infectious cards-on-the-table personality that was, to all that knew her, distinctly ‘Hope’.  The closest comparison would be Bette Midler, talent and all.  To see a person like her in ICU on the edge of death was mind blowing. 

 After taking our final exam for our Tap class at college one year, she came down with food poisoning that led to a very rare disease in which all her organs shut down, and had previously only been seen in a handful of people inNew Guinea.* The doctors knew she was dying, but did not know what to do to save her.  I did not believe in much of anything back then, least of all the afterlife.  That began to change when Hope told me of her near death experience, in which she saw her late father and uncle hovering by her hospital bed.  They told her, “no, not yet.  It’s not time yet.”  If not for her deceased loved ones telling her to hold on, she most certainly would have left us.  Instead, she opened her eyes, looked at her mother and said, “I am going to live”.

 When she was feeling better, someone recommended a book to her called Embraced by the Light.  She in turn recommended that I read it, and that started my quest to learn everything I could learn about life after death and the journey of our souls.  Hope and I had only been in touch sporadically for the next few years, but shortly after Christmas 2002, we started emailing each other. Hope sent me a lot of inspirational and spiritual emails that gave me the sense that since her near death experience she had become a believer in God and her faith was strong.  I was not there yet, but was heading in that direction, beginning to develop some semblance of a belief system based on what I had learned.  I had had what I thought were a few signs from my late grandmother, but without concrete validation, the skeptic in me still lingered.

 When I heard that Hope passed away, I was beyond devastated.  Even though we were not in touch every day, I had always felt that we had a connection that could not be explained, like we had known each other for lifetimes.  Still, because no one else would understand why it was such a personal loss for me, I felt guilty and selfish for grieving like I had lost my best friend.  I simply did not know how to handle it, and fell into a deep depression.

 A few days after her wake, I sat in the dark in the middle of my bed, and spoke to Hope, telling her all the things I had meant to tell her when she was alive.  I told her how important her friendship was to me, and how sorry I was for procrastinating so much that we never got together.  I had wanted to discuss so many things with her, especially her new-found spirituality.  Since that chance was gone, at least in this life, I asked her to send me a sign.  Just something to let me know that what I believed about the other side was true.  I wanted to know that she could still hear me.  It was the only way I could emerge from my hopelessness…no pun intended.  Feeling emotionally drained, but somehow better, I went to sleep.

The next morning when I turned on my car, I thought for a second that I must have turned off the radio for some unknown reason the day before, because I didn’t hear anything.  As I reached for the volume knob, I heard the first words of a fairly new song by the group Train.  What I thought was radio silence was not silence at all; the silence had gotten my attention, and was followed by a gradually building sound like wind chimes before the words started.  I had only heard the song once or twice at this point, and had evidently never heard the first line which says, “I need a sign, to let me know you’re here.  All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere”. 

I felt pretty certain that this was the sign I had asked Hope to send.  It really could not have been more obvious.  As the day went on, I began to second guess myself, dismissing it as the manifestation of my overwhelming need to make that connection.  In a matter of weeks I had convinced myself that I believed it only because I wanted to believe it; it was a coincidence, though I did not believe in coincidences.  The skeptic was back.

 I was thinking about it all the time, still trying to decide if it was for real.  My mind—or my soul—would not let it go for some reason.  One night a few weeks later I had a dream that my husband and I were in some kind of warehouse store, like Sam’s or Costco, with long aisles of very tall shelves.  We were looking at something on a table in one of the aisles and when I looked up I saw Hope as clear as day on the other side of the table.  In a flowing white dress looking healthier than ever, she was positively radiant.

 She looked at me with her crooked, cat-that-ate-the-canary smile that she was known for, and glanced upward.  From the speakers overhead I heard the wind chimes again, and then the song, Calling All Angels, that had been playing in my car that morning a few weeks back.  She smirked at me, and began to walk away.  It was like she was saying, ‘Do you believe it now?’

 Absolutely.  I no longer doubt that I got the sign I asked for. 

 

*Click the link below to read the article published in Discover Magazine in 1995, written by Hope’s doctor…her name was changed to Grace for the article.

The Beast in the Belly.

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Fan Letter to a Write Star

This is the closest I come to being a crazed fan. It is not for a Movie Star, or Rock Star, but for a Write Star. This goes back a few years, so let me start at the beginning.

 Before I begin I must say that if you have not read the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, I highly recommend it. Even if you have seen the movie, which was fabulous by the way, you still should give the book a chance. There are more characters in the book, which makes the Pay It Forward movement deeper and more far-reaching than they could accomplish within the constraints of the film. The ending is much different, but equally as powerful as theHollywoodending.

 I forget now how I heard about the book, maybe it was on Oprah, but I remember that hearing the story about what she went through to get published intrigued me (she actually got the movie deal before the book deal if memory serves). I bought it as soon as it was available and it is still in the top five of my favorite books.* I cried through the entire last quarter of the book which I had not done in recent memory. (This was prior to reading anything by Nicholas Sparks, which do it to me every time, but for different reasons) I was so moved by the story, I felt changed in a profound way. Such is the power of words.

 I did not have a computer yet, but I remember closing the book after reading the last line and saying to myself, “The minute I get a computer, I am going to find a way to let this author know how much I loved her book.” A few months later, when we purchased our first computer, the first thing I did was search for Catherine Ryan Hyde. I found her email address, and sent her a short note about how her story affected me, and asked her how she felt about the movie adaptation. If you read my post on my distaste for adaptations, you already know that I was leery of this one.

 Much to my surprise, she wrote back! This was before the instant Twitter communication of today, so I was stunned that she replied, telling me that she was okay with the changes that were made, and explaining some of them. She said that she hoped I would see it and let her know what I thought.

 Wait…she wanted my opinion??? But I am nobody, and she is, like, a REAL WRITER!

 So I did see the movie, and I loved it. (Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment? Who wouldn’t love it?) I recognized the differences from the book, but since they worked, and I knew that the creator of these characters was okay with it, I embraced it as a different entity from the book I loved. I emailed her again, to let her know. And then I read the book again.

 Flash forward to a few weeks ago. Now I have hopes of becoming a published writer someday, which was not even a fraction of a thought back then, and I found and followed her on Twitter, @cryanhyde. And guess what?

 She followed ME back!

 I shouldn’t have been surprised, as she was so gracious towards me years ago before she had multiple books published. But now she was way more successful, and I thought I would be lost in the shuffle of thousands of followers.

 One day I visited her blog and there was a contest to win a copy of her latest book, Don’t Let Me Go, which was not even available in theUnited Statesyet. High on my win days earlier of a bookmark and signed bookplate from Victoria Schwab, I entered the contest. Then I read that she had recently had a contest to give away an ARC of Pay It Forward. Oh how I wished I had visited sooner! I would have loved to win that!

 But instead I wound up with a signed copy of her book, and a cool bookmark to go along with it, which was even better. I read it in two days, and it was fantastic! Once again, I contacted her (on Twitter this time) to let her know how much I liked it, and we had a conversation about the characters. Once again, I was virtually speaking to one of my favorite authors. I could have continued that conversation all night, but I didn’t want to seem like some kind of deranged nutcase who thought she had nothing better to do with her time than talk to me.

 I couldn’t stop yapping about it for the rest of the night. The Husband was excited for me.

 I wanted to share this today, to illustrate how writers can connect to their fans through Twitter and other social media. We as writers and as fans, have an obligation to be nice to one another. Maybe not an obligation per se, but we should, because it is the right thing to do. The publishing world today relies a lot more on word of mouth than it used to, and if we can help each other out by Paying It Forward in the way of encouraging each other, and reading and reviewing each other’s work, it makes that world a little more fun to live in. Also, being able to communicate with people who have navigated the often scary and brutal business of publishing makes it seem less daunting to someone that is not yet in print. I am just one person who seriously had my day made by someone I considered to be an idol taking the time to connect with me. It only takes a minute, only 140 characters at a time, but it made a difference to me.

 So to Catherine Ryan Hyde, I say THANKS! And to the readers out there, I ask you to take the time to let your favorite authors know that what they are doing is appreciated. Write a review, tell a friend, but mostly, tell the writer.

 Even if you think they already know.

 

*FYI, the other four are: A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving; Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry, The Bridge Across Forever, by Richard Bach; and Left To Tell, by Imaculee Ilibigiza

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Writers on Writing

Every year, I looked forward to the National Writers Workshop in Hartford, CT. It was one weekend in April, packed with lectures by writers, agents, and journalists, who came to share with us their expertise in this business of writing. It was inexpensive and close to home so no matter how broke I was each year, I would put off paying the electric bill or something minor like that, to come up with the 100 bucks. I was going to the workshop. It was my one annual indulgence.

At the time, I had not even begun to write my novel. I was still just entertaining the dream of being a writer. But I loved being around 800 other people who had a similar dream. These were my people. Even if I didn’t speak to anyone, as I was both in awe of them and intimidated by them, I still learned from them.

Three years ago, there was no National Writers Workshop. It ended without warning and I was heartbroken. I had finally started writing, and I was ready to open my mouth and speak to these people, make connections, you know? But now, my chance was gone. The Hartford Courant evidently could not afford to organize this anymore, since no one was reading newspapers.

Recently I found my notebook from one of these annual conferences, and thought that I would share some of the insights that warranted writing down. Some of them are quotes from the speakers themselves, but some are quotes from others that they shared:

“Make your writing more compelling than the TV.” – Sebastian Junger

“Always retain the movie rights – you never know when Kevin Spacey may come knocking on your door.” – Ben Mezrich (author of Bringing Down the House, which was later adapted as “21”, starring Kevin Spacey).

“Boring things don’t sell.” – Tanya McKinnon

“Just waking up or about to fall asleep? Write it down. You WON’T remember it.” – Elizabeth Berg

“When you hear that voice telling you you are NOT a painter, by all means PAINT.”- Vincent Van Gogh

“Trying to write in a gender other than your own is like skating backwards.” – Toure

“Put yourself at risk…go to a place where you feel shame and embarrassment and work it out through writing. Also, write something fun. This is what pen names are for.” – Garrison Keillor

“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“Editors and agents are looking for a reason to reject you. If they find a typo in your query letter, you are rejected.” – Ben Mezrich

“Every single day you wake up, your life gives you a reason not to write.” – Claire Cook

“When an agent speaks to you for the first time, they are assessing whether or not you are a psychopath.” – Tanya McKinnon

“I think I did pretty well considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin

“Always keep your laptop where you can see it.” – Garrison Keillor

“Really, just try not to get rejected.” – Ben Mezrich

I hope you enjoyed these snippets from my lost weekend! I will revisit this in a later post about how I discovered new books by hearing the authors speak at the National Writers Workshop. A benefit that has now been replaced by Twitter….thankfully!

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I Picked The Yankees

My life revolves around The New York Yankees. I sat at the Stadium in The Bronx through the longest rain delay in MLB history (5 ½ hours). I was there when A-Rod hit his 600th homerun. I was there when Mariano Rivera made his 1000th appearance. I get goose bumps when I hear “Enter Sandman”. Everyone knows I am a HUGE Yankee fan.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Growing up in central Connecticut-literally ½way between Boston and The Bronx, you were either a Yankee fan, or a Red Sox fan, I am a girl, so I didn’t really care. I didn’t understand how important this choice was, and how it would shape my life and personality forever. Fortunately, I didn’t make a hasty choice.

I went to a couple of Red Sox games when I was little on bus trips with my Dad’s work. All I really remember about it was that on the way home, we ran out of soda on the bus, so the grown ups let us kids drink miniature beers. Ah, the innocence of the 70s…

But I digress…

I never liked the Boston sports. I am not sure why, exactly, but there is something about their fans that I could never relate to. They are kind of…what’s the word? Punks.

Back in the day when Hartford had an NHL hockey team and the Boston Bruins would come to town I was a waitress at a restaurant near the Hartford Civic Center. To this day, in all the customer service jobs I have held, Boston Bruins fans were the absolute worst people I have ever served. In. My. Life. And I wasn’t even a Yankee fan yet. Boston fans are so loud and obnoxious when things are going well, but the second the Red Sox start their inevitable collapse, they start talking about the Patriots. They give up on their own team! I mean, let’s be real here-I don’t fault you for being a Red Sox fan, I fault you for being a fair weather Red Sox fan…and that is what the majority of the really loud ones are. Those fans that quietly watch every game – hoping but never daring to think that they could actually win a pennant race – are the true fans. For those fans, 2004 and 2007 were years filled with joy and World Series rewards for their patient suffering, and I am silently happy for them…the non-punky fans.

On a side note, both of my sisters and their families are Red Sox fans. Just sayin’.

So being a Red Sox fan was never an option for me. That would make me a Yankee fan by default right? You would think so, but I didn’t think I was qualified to be a Yankee fan. Not a fan of bandwagon hopping, I didn’t want to be one of those people who only liked a team because they win most of the time. So I didn’t choose to be a Yankees fan.

I became a Minnesota Twins fan. Wait…what???

To make a long story short, I hopped on a bandwagon.

I was working in Florida, and my best friend there was from Minnesota. When you come from a state that HAS a team, there is no question where your loyalties lie. It was fall of 1991, and the Twins were on their way to winning the World Series. I knew NOTHING about baseball back then, I just knew that I liked Kirby Puckett and the way he wore his love for the game all over his face. And the way he hit home runs. I vividly remember watching a playoff game where he was being intentionally walked and saying to Michelle, “That’s not fair! They won’t even let him TRY!!!”

The rules of baseball were still a mystery to me at the time. I basically figured it was like kickball, but with bats instead of feet. No one gets intentionally walked in kickball.

So, for a few years, I was a Twins fan. But unless you live in the area where your team plays, you don’t get to see many games, and it is hard to follow closely. I had become a Twins fan in name only.

So how did the Yankees come about for me? In a way, I married into it, but it was a gradual thing. My husband was a lifelong Yankee fan, but being a chef, he was not often home to watch the games. When he was, he wanted to watch the game. This was fine with me. I would read, or do a crossword puzzle. He could watch his sports.

Then I started to get distracted by the game. I re-read the same paragraph twelve times. Alfonso Soriano would hit a homerun and I would look up, watch the replay, watch him go into the dugout and do intricate high fives with each of his teammates. I thought Soriano looked and played like Willie Mays Hayes in the movie Major League. I started to get caught up in the way the players interacted with each other and realized that it was like a soap opera for guys.

I like soap operas.

I started to watch the games when The Husband was not home. It felt wrong. It sure didn’t feel normal. I am a girl. I am watching a baseball game by choice. If The Husband had to go to bed early, I would turn down the volume and turn on the subtitles. I read the entire 2001 Game 7, which was one of the best games I ever saw…even though it ended with the Arizona Diamondbacks winning the World Series.

An unexpected side effect was that I could go to work and have intelligent conversations about last night’s game with GUYS who had been watching the sport all of their lives. Guys who, prior to my getting involved in the discussion, assumed that I was just a dumb girl who picked the Yankees because they were winners, and that I only watched during the commercials of Melrose Place. But I proved myself. I was part of the club now.

I’m not just a true YANKEES fan. I’m a true BASEBALL fan.

Ten years ago, if anyone had told me that I would be blogging, tweeting and cheering about the Yankees, I would have thought that person was from some kind of alternate universe. I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would have been like if I had been a Red Sox fan. I certainly wouldn’t be smiling as much! 

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