Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Yankees of the Bronx.

The temperature dropped about 25 degrees from yesterday to today, from about 70 degrees to 45 degrees. In other words, the weather (now that it is mid-October) is finally seasonable.

I remember when I was a kid when the weather started turning chilly around the start of the school year, my old lady bought me and my brother a light nylon windbreaker at Korvettes with the word "Yankees" in Yankee-script emblazoned in white across its Navy-blue front.

My mother tossed nickels around like manhole covers and rather than buying each of us a jacket, my brother and I, separated by just one grade and only a couple of inches, were meant to share the garment. Fred would get it on even days, me on odd.

These were the fading days of the Yankees' greatness, when they still had immortals on their squad, like Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and, of course, the most-immortalest of all Mickey Mantle. 

My brother and I were sure that this jacket had magical properties, that somehow it would gird us with super-human Mickey-Mantle-like strength and ability. We were certain this jacket would, on our day to wear it, turn mere boys into Yankees.

The jacket was perfect for temperatures in the low-60s or high-50s, but one day, I prevailed upon my mother to let me wear my prized Yankee jacket into November. All was fine as I ran to school kicking a can or a rock the whole way. But while I was in school, dark clouds rolled in and the temperatures dropped like a stone. I ran home, freezing in my light windbreaker, with the temperatures in the low 30s.

What bothered me as I ran home from school shivering wasn't that I was cold--what bothered me was that my mother had been right, and I knew that the Yankee jacket would be put away for some months, until Persephone's pomegranate seeds bloomed again and golden-fingered Spring was upon us.

Last night, as if the world had not turned Macbethian and topsy-turvy with foul fair and fair foul, the Yankees played in the Bronx, near the stadium of my youth--the one called "The House that Ruth Built." Now, that stadium destroyed, the Yankees play in "The House the Taxpayers Built that only the Rich can Afford." 

But still, I'm sure, little boys are careening through their tilted little neighborhoods, running to school, and wearing Yankee jackets against the cold, dreaming of being Didi Gregorius or Aaron Judge, Mickey Mantle, like so much else, disappeared deep into memory.

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