BETTY STEIN: A little bit of this, a little bit of that

As of this writing, the Baltimore Orioles have lost 74 games this season. I wondered if that was a record, so went to an old faithful friend Google, and no, that’s far from a record, but they are on pace for one. A team called the Cleveland Spiders back in 1899 lost 134 games in one season. Now that was a long time ago, so I checked teams I remember, and there we have the Mets, who lost 120 in 1962. Yes, I remember that disastrous year. I’ll bet Met fans do, too. But the season is far from over, and the Orioles are on pace to challenge for that dubious honor.

Anyway, the Orioles are having quite a season. I wonder about ticket sales. And by the way, they really are not my favorite team. My parents were both from Baltimore and brought their love of their hometown with them when they made their home in Fort Wayne. So I try to be a good daughter. But really, the Boston Red Sox are the ones I root loudest for, and it’s all because of Ted Williams. What a baseball giant he was!

Last week there was a special television feature which aired on PBS American Masters on the Splendid Splinter and I was in seventh heaven again watching him swing at the incoming ball after incoming ball — and knocking so many out of the ballpark. The program referred to him as “the greatest hitter who ever lived.”

And his fielding was as great and as graceful. I have written about him before, telling how I saw him here. Mr. Mac really did it right: Every summer there was a Mr. Mac Day for the Wildcat players — a party and a special guest — a well-known baseball hero every year. And one memorable summer he brought Ted Williams to Fort Wayne, and among those devoted fans drooling with pleasure was Betty Stein. I saw him!

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Timeout while I check my backyard. Every year for years I planted a butterfly bush and every year it flourished and reigned in beauty — then died.

But miracle of miracles, last year’s butterfly bush survived the winter and now the beautiful blue buds are appearing and soon that bush in all its glory will be helping to make the yard a butterfly delight. For heart-warming beauty, plant a butterfly bush in your yard and enjoy.

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You know by now that I think the Allen County Public Library is one of Fort Wayne’s great gifts, and every once in a while I’ll write about another. This time it’s Dr. Andy Downs I am citing. I just arranged his annual visit to Memorial Park Middle School to talk to the kids before this year’s election and as usual, he is going to be with the youngsters three days, teaching them about our elections and citizens’ responsibilities and helping them see how democracy works. He is extremely knowledgeable and he shares that knowledge so well with kids, with adults and with anyone hoping to enrich his or her knowledge of how things work. Thank you, Dr. Downs.

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Has anyone else noted what I have been encountering as I’ve been reading fiction lately? It seems to me there has been a flood of explicit sex — and I mean explicit. Just asking. Maybe I should try nonfiction for a while. Gee, — George Washington?

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I finally emptied the drawers of my desk at school and returned the dictionary to the shelf. After all these years, there will be no nagging alarm clock urging “Get up and get going.” Finally.

Betty Stein is a resident of Fort Wayne and a long-time contributor to The News-Sentinel.