In the wee hours of Monday, October 21, I had a scathing blog set to publish regarding criminals who steal the valuables of others from the beach.
At 12:45 a.m., I shelved my opinion, even though I’d been working on it off-and-on throughout the day while listening to the Talledaga NASCAR race on MRN and following NFL games on ESPN’s cool Gamecast sites. For those of you not familiar with Gamecast, you can keep up with several games at once and get information on plays within a minute or so of their happening. You can also get continuously updated team and player statistics throughout any game in which you have interest. Among the games I followed was the tilt in which my New York Jets stunned the New England Patriots, 30-27. Yee-ess!
I jumped on the Jets bandwagon in the late sixties when Joe Willie Namath was throwing beautiful spirals to Don Maynard and George Sauer. He handed the ball off to Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer. The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets won Superbowl III, beating the mighty Baltimore Colts, who were led in those days by awesome QB Johnny Unitas and by the great coach, Don Shula. Earl Morrall started the game in place of Johnny U due to injury. Johnny came into the game late, but couldn’t rally his team to victory. The Jets might not have won the game without Jim Turner’s three field goals. My man, Weeb Ewbank, had a better game plan than Don Shula that day. Joe Namath carried it out to perfection and the Jets’ defense shut down the Colts’ highly regarded offense. Final: 16-7. The memories are priceless and memories are among the best things that I own.
Since Superbowl III, as many of you know, the Jets bandwagon has broken down into more of a beat wagon. My favorite team has spent a lot of years since then stuck in a rut. One rut after another. The horses that pulled that bandwagon in the late sixties devolved into mules. But QB Geno Smith and Gang Green restored a little of my faith Sunday, and it is always better to focus on the positive rather than the negative. More on that in a sec.
I just couldn’t pull the publishing trigger on that blog. Why? I first wanted to document my having the pleasure to have met many wonderful people on the beach over the last fortnight. Good people deserve acknowledgment far more than the bad apples of the world. A beautiful, elderly lady from Georgia put that idea into El Bummerino’s head.
Our conversation started when we exchanged greetings in front of the 67th Avenue beach access. Just yards from where I’d had my possessions stolen two hours earlier. She told me a little about her home, the Atlanta area, and I told her about the theft and how it had shaken my psyche. I was in a bad place and she helped stir my spirit. She was among several people who calmed me down in the aftermath.
The Georgia Peach said, “Look out there, son,” pointing to the ocean. “God put that there to give us inspiration. He did it so we didn’t dwell on the negative in times like this. He wants us to rise above the bad things that happen to us.”
Just prior to meeting this angel of a person, I didn’t have much faith in anything. But what she said lit a candle of hope and I saw the flicker of it.
“Oh my gosh! That was beautiful. I wish I had a tape recorder,” I replied. As it turned out I didn’t need it. When I got back to my bungalow I remembered most of what she told me like I remember that glorious Superbowl played on Jan. 12, 1969. Football fans know that game was the first to be recognized officially as the Superbowl, but most don’t remember that Joe Namath didn’t throw a single pass in the fourth quarter. The Jets ran the ball down the Colt’s throat.
Speaking of throats, I know of one that I’d like to rip out right now, but beach criminals are slime and they don’t deserve our time — unless, that is, that time is spent behind bars. Sitting on cold metal slabs and jabbering with others in denial of what they’ve done to society. What they’ve done to fellow human beings.
Bob Dylan, Gotta Serve Somebody, : “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” Beach criminals serve El Diablo.
Adiós mis amigos!
Bum raps: This three-part series is dedicated with love to my grandparents, all of whom have passed away: Madeline “Mattie” and James “Cork” Fenstermacher of Sunbury and Blanche and Gordon “Gordie” Hufnagle of Lewisburg. All good people. Thanks so much for YOUR time everyone! Part II of this scintillating (sarcasm intended) tale will be published on Friday. Its focus will be on more good people that I’ve met on the beach recently, but I’ll delve a little into the details of the crime as well.