When you see this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our servicemen.
June 10, 2013
Old time BASEBALL
With graduation and kids getting out of school, we know Spring because the baseball teams are all working hard with kids learning to hit, throw and run. Baseball was the main sport in most small communities long ago. It did not require a lot of expensive equipment and everyone loved playing.
Do any of you remember the Fillmore baseball team from the early 1900s when Harold Mayhew and his buddies were all cracker-jack players? (I’m still looking for that old picture of the team.) The ball field for our community was between the current 126 and the railroad tracks on the east side of town. Ventura Street was a dead-end so there was plenty of room down that way for a baseball diamond between Frank Howard’s place and Southern Pacific.
I wonder what the rules were then? A recent article in the paper told about some men in Northern California who are reviving the game with the original rules from the 1880s—they now have two teams who play by those old rules. They required the pitcher to deliver the ball underhanded without a windup. The game had one ref who stood behind the plate and his decision was never challenged. He was suited up in black coat and top hat. It was a game for “gentlemen.” (That seems to have changed!)
When a batter came up to the plate, the ref asked him what kind of a strike he wanted, the batter told him and that was the way it was called. If the man wanted a high inside ball for a strike, then that pitch was called a strike. Wonders, of wonders. These guys now play in old-fashioned uniforms to go with the old-fashioned rules---if they ever play in Ventura County, you can bet we will go see that game.
Summer softball leagues for the returning veterans were popular after WW 2—local businesses sponsored teams and the young men had a great time. The four teams wore jerseys showing Jones Brothers, Munoz Pipe, and Frenchy LaToille on them. We cannot remember the fourth sponsor. The companies each provided uniforms and equipment for their teams. The fellows only had to bring their shoes and glove to be ready to play. It was good advertising for local businesses and supported Fillmore recreation. The league used the high school facilities. The baseball field was located where we now have the new swimming pool. There were a few bleacher seats and lots of fun. All the fellows were buddies but when they got on the field, they played to win. With a population of about 6000, everyone knew everyone, so there was no chance to bring in a “ringer” who lived outside of Fillmore.
In our house, we often watched GIRLS playing basketball and baseball on TV and anything else between. We have discussed the passage of Title 9 that opened the way for girls to have the same chance to play sports as the boys have in school. I had just been voted to the local school board when that was passed and I loved the equal opportunity in sports that Title 9 brought. Our youngest daughter played basketball for two years and loved it. Track was about the only thing open for the girls prior to Title 9. Now it is hard to make the girls understand how much times have changed in their favor.
Gene enjoyed watching the girls play as they are still playing the games more like the original intent. There is less pushing and shoving and ranting and raving. They play with more finesse. Gene frequently mentioned their mastery of basic fundamental skills that make them interesting to watch. After a recent College World Series of Softball for Women and his admiration for some of the good old-fashioned hitting, pitching and catching, I told him, “I think you used to play like a girl!”
I ducked. He didn’t hit me! Perhaps I should leave well enough alone with that one! Yes, our marriage did have humor.
MARIE’S FLY BY
By Marie Wren
MARIE’S FLY BY
By Marie Wren
June 17, 2013
Patriot Guard Riders
When I wrote this story about the Patriot Guard Riders a couple of years ago, little did I know they would become so special to me. My son-in-law, Greg Vincent, became active with them and now spends many hours doing escort duty as a team leader each month. When my son, Steve, passed away in May, Greg insisted his ashes must be taken from the mortuary to Bardsdale Cemetery with full honors by the Patriot Guard Riders giving him a final send off. And they did! This is a first for Fillmore but may not be the last as we have so many great young people serving our country. I pray they will not need to be honored until they are old and frail. If you happened to see this long group of motorcycle riders or their Avenue of American flags at the cemetery, remember why they are there.
We ‘Seniors” (elderly folks) remember when traffic was stopped for a funeral procession crossing a major road. Cars pulled to the side of any road to show respect for the deceased going to their final resting place. At the cemetery, no one ever stepped “on a grave.” Children were taught to walk in front of the headstones and carefully avoid stepping on the deceased. Flowers were taken to the graves on anniversaries, birthdays and other special events in their life.
If you lived in a rural area, without perpetual care, Memorial Day was a “cemetery working day.” Everyone turned out to clean off graves, cut wild grass and weeds and set up old tombstones. It only happened once a year, but at the end of the day, that little old cemetery looked like the community loved it—and they did. People brought their own equipment and tools with a picnic lunch to eat at noon when they rested and renewed acquaintances with neighbors who had moved away and just came back on Memorial Day to clean family graves. It was a community event, got the work done and families looked forward to each May.
With another member of my family being interred at Bardsdale, I appreciate all the work and effort that goes into keeping our local cemetery so pretty. I hope you all will acknowledge the effort made by so many of my friends to escort Steven to his final resting place. Please remember the Patriot Guard Riders are all volunteers and available if your family wants to honor a deceased serviceman or veteran of any age. Now I will tell you more about this group:
In 2005 a new phenomenon emerged all over the United States and Canada. It is the newest “honor guard” for our fallen military known as the Patriot Guard Riders. They are self-designated and escort deceased military from airfields, mortuaries and homes to cemeteries for burial. The group started after protesters disrupted a military burial in Kansas. The men felt every military burial should be respected, honored and dignified and that is how they started.
The only requirement for joining the PGR is to love the United States of America, a desire to remember our fallen heroes, respect their families and a wish to honor each individual who gave their life in service to our country. (Whether we agree with the war or not, those who give their lives should be honored. We support the troops wherever they are serving.)
This group of motorcycle riders is mostly retired military, but a few are still working, enjoy riding and, most of all, want to honor our fallen heroes in a special way. Anyone who is interested asks to be on their e-mail list and notified about military burials all across the nation. Their patch says, “Standing for those Who stood for us”, and it identifies these riders.
Most areas have a road captain who does the loose organizing. What actually happens, men and women check their e-mail, decide if they are able to attend, take off and meet with the others at the site. Often there will be 10-12 riders but it might be 6 or it might be 60. The burial of a Fort Hood casualty in 2005 brought out over a 100 riders. When they assemble, the team captain gives them details about locations, times and other necessary information.
Usually, the riders escort the hearse from the memorial site to the cemetery. They ride ahead and at the cemetery they park their bikes and form a double row of flags to honor the deceased as the hearse goes into the cemetery. Each rider carries his own flag and stands at attention with it in front of their bike. It is a spectacular sight and long remembered by those who participate and the families of the fallen.
No one is paid. No one is required to do anything except bring their flag and honor the military dead. If the deceased is buried without pallbearers, the Patriot Guard Riders will fill that need. This group of men and women do what is needed. For details, history and additional information go to www.patriotguard.org. They also have a scholarship fund for the children of fallen military with requirements on the web site.
Only in the United States would you find such a grass-roots group who wants to show the love of their country and love of fallen men and women in such an extraordinary way.