Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg
It was October. We were packing for our annual trip to Sedona. All of a sudden, I heard my husband say (in a wail, really), from the other room, “Oh no!” Oh my gosh, “What happened?” I thought. I ran to him and my heart was pounding … was he alright? Did a family member pass or was there a national/international emergency? “What’s wrong?” I asked, with concern in my voice. “Whitey Ford died,” my husband lamented. “Whitey Ford?” I asked myself. My husband’s favorite team was The New York Yankees and Whitey Ford was an iconic pitcher for the team.
I had heard the name before, when I was a child. My father would listen to the Detroit Tigers on a large box-radio while he was tinkering in our garage.
As it turns out, Whitey Ford had quite an illustrious career, having played 16 years for the New York Yankees. He was picked for 10 all-star teams and he was on six World Series championship teams and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as a pitcher. His name, along with the likes of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, and Willie Mays, is synonymous with long, hot summers when young boys would listen to a radio or watch baseball on a black and white T.V. screen.
Ford’s passing notwithstanding, the year 2020 saw many untimely deaths, and not just due to the unfortunate specter of COVID-19. Here is a very brief list of those who have passed as of this writing: Sean Connery, the shaken, not stirred, James Bond actor; Tom Kennedy, longtime T.V. game show host; Johnny Nash, singer-songwriter who sang “I Can See Clearly Now”; Eddie Van Halen, co-founder of Van Halen; Helen Reddy, the 1970s singer behind the anthem, “I Am Woman”; Mac Davis, country music legend; Diana Rigg, noted English actress; Kobe Bryant, basketball legend; Kirk Douglas, Academy Award winning actor; Mary Higgins Clark, noted author; Regis Philbin, daytime talk show host; Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears player and legendary running back; Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court Justice; Chadwick Boseman, actor in The Black Panther movie; Olivia de Havilland, legendary Hollywood actress; Charlie Daniels, celebrated country and western singer; Ennio Morricone, prolific Italian composer, best known for the score of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (to see how this interesting music was made, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxvD3CpB3l4); Hugh Downs, former broadcaster on The Today Show; Carl Reiner, legendary actor, director, and comedian; Annie Glenn, wife of U.S. Senator and astronaut John Glenn; Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver; and Phyllis George, co-host of CBS Sports’ the NFL Today.
Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
(Attributed to John Lennon)
Do have a safe and healthy New Year!
‘Til the Season Comes Round Again
May the new year be blessed with good tidings,
‘Til the next time I see you again,
If we must say goodbye let the spirit go with you,
‘Til the season comes ’round again
This I Have Learned …