Posts Tagged ‘Life’

One of my earliest memories, going back to when I was maybe five years old, was believing that I had to behave myself at all times because every second of my life was under scrutiny from God, Jesus, the angels, and all of my deceased relatives looking down from Heaven.

How I concluded I was being watched in such a manner, I have no idea. Maybe the concept was fed to me by my parents or grandparents to encourage me to behave. Maybe I heard it from other kids, or in church. Maybe I dreamed it up myself.

In any event, I recall going through a good part of my early childhood being cautious in word and deed lest I offend — disappoint, anger — my contingent of heavenly watchdogs.

Given those circumstances, my behavior should have been stellar, but it wasn’t. Young Rocky was a typical kid.

I fibbed and obfuscated on occasion. I knew many choice swear words, most learned from my dear mother, and I used them as the situation required, but sparingly. And once, for a reason I believed at the time was valid, I dumped a bowl of oatmeal on my brother Lee’s head.

Regarding the oatmeal incident, swift retribution came from my parents. But usually, after more routine moral or ethical failings, I was careful to send up a mental gesture of remorse to my celestial audience and a promise that I would do better.

To be clear, my youthful transgressions were minor. I didn’t steal, cheat, vandalize, bully, take unfair advantage, or any such things. I found that behaving badly was stressful, and I didn’t like the feeling.

That, in turn, prompted me to try harder to do the right thing and not be a jerk. The pangs of conscience were seriously uncomfortable.

And as I got older, I came to a new realization. Yes, Rocky Smith indeed had been under scrutiny. But it wasn’t from deities, angels, and deceased relatives. It was from the entity with the most at stake: Rocky Smith.

Which, I submit, is a positive, healthy scenario.

From the vantage point of my dotage, I do have a few regrets about the past. There were episodes and events I would like to redo or erase. But really, not that many. It seems that the sobering thought of being watched and judged from on high aimed me in a good direction.

No surprise that the idea of being surveilled can do that.

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Sales Pitch

About 10 years ago, I was returning home from a road trip in my RV, and I stopped for the night at a campground on a remote stretch of US 84 in southern Alabama. It was in the middle of nowhere. I was relieved to find a place to stay.

The campground was a small private place, attractive and clean, with spacious campsites and lots of tree cover. Sometimes, you get lucky.

In the office was a woman of about 50, the owner, who lived on-site and ran the operation. She checked me in and told me to take any site I wanted.

I selected a campsite and, rather than hooking up for the night, drove to the nearest town for supper. I prefer restaurant meals on the road. Cooking in the RV is a pain.

Later, back at the campground, I heard a knock at the door. I opened it, and there was the owner. I stepped out of the RV.

She said she wanted to make sure all was well and to ask if I needed anything. I told her I was fine.

But she seemed reluctant to end the conversation. She sat down at the picnic table and kept chatting in an awkward way. I could tell something was on her mind.

The story slowly came out. She and her husband had bought the campground five years earlier. He later died, and she now ran the campground alone. Life there was quiet and routine.

The operation wasn’t a huge money-maker, she said, but the books would confirm that it remained in the black.

I continued listening politely.

Eventually, she came to the point. She wanted to sell the campground and move back home — I forget where that was — with her parents and siblings.

She said the property was listed with a broker, but any passing guest might be a potential buyer, so no harm in asking.

I told her I wasn’t a candidate. I was retired and leading a comfortable life close to relatives and friends — precisely what she wanted — and I didn’t want to change that.

What a terrible situation for that poor woman. Essentially, she was trapped there, probably lonely and depressed, if not still in mourning.

I think about her sometimes and wonder how things worked out.

Life is a crapshoot.

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NANAIMO, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Police officers responding to a report of a man spray-painting the floor of a Tim Hortons restaurant arrested the man after they caught him spray-painting their patrol car.

Constables of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were taking evidence photos of the restaurant floor when a bystander said a man in the parking lot was spray-painting their vehicle.

As the constables approached, the man was standing on the hood of the vehicle “meticulously painting the windshield.” He hopped down and delivered a final blast of paint to the side of the cruiser before being subdued.

Officers said they found a small quantity of crystal meth in the man’s possession. The 24-year-old local resident was charged with mischief and possession of a controlled substance.

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — The curator of a Dϋsseldorf art museum has discovered that an abstract work on display there has been hanging upside down for 75 years.

“New York City I,” created in 1941 by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, features colored tape on a white background. As displayed since 1980, the work is oriented so that more lines of tape are at the bottom of the work than at the top.

Museum curator Susanne Meyer-Büser said she recently found a 1944 photograph of the work on an easel in Mondrian’s studio, and it is positioned with more lines of tape at the top.

The error will not be corrected, Meyer-Büser said, because of the work’s age and condition. Much of the tape is “hanging by a thread,” she said, and turning it right side up likely would damage it.

“New York City I” does not bear Mondrian’s signature, which would have indicated how the work was to be displayed.

LAREDO, TEXAS — US Customs and Border Protection officers recently seized a massive shipment of cocaine disguised as packages of baby wipes.

Officials said drug-sniffing dogs discovered the cocaine at the Laredo Point of Entry during a routine inspection. A northbound truck was carrying 1,935 packages labeled as baby wipes, but actually containing 1,532 pounds of cocaine.

The drugs have a street value of about $11.8 million, making it the largest cocaine bust in Laredo in 20 years.

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Thoughts du Jour

Two Kinds of Teachers

When my dog Jake and I go walking near the Baptist church in Jefferson, Jake likes to check out the church’s central courtyard because he once encountered a squirrel there.

Among the windows overlooking the courtyard are two from the church’s Pre-K classroom.

One morning last year, Jake and I entered the courtyard while a Pre-K class was in session. Immediately, the kids spotted Jake and gleefully ran to the windows. Also immediately, the teacher barked for the children to take their seats and closed the blinds on both windows.

One morning last month, Jake and I entered the courtyard while a Pre-K class was in session. Immediately, the kids spotted Jake and gleefully ran to the windows. Also immediately, the teacher raised the blinds so the children could see better.

Jake dashed back and forth between the windows, tail wagging at high speed, paws on the sills, at eye level with a dozen kids, to the delight of all.


The world of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin was created in the 1920s by English writer A. A. Milne in his popular series of children’s books. The backstory of Pooh’s creation is interesting.

The Christopher Robin character was based on author Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne. Christopher’s favorite teddy bear was Winnie, named after Winnipeg, a Canadian black bear at the London Zoo.

Christopher Milne also owned stuffed animals named Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Roo, all of whom became characters in the stories.

The illustrator of Milne’s books, E. H. Shepard, based his drawings of Pooh on his own son’s teddy bear Growler.

Pooh was the name of a swan owned by a friend of the Milne family.


You’re familiar with Aaron Burr, who, in 1804, while serving as Jefferson’s vice president, killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. History says Burr (1756-1836) was a rotter, a scoundrel, and a deplorable jerk, on a par with our own deplorable jerk extraordinaire, Donald Trump.

Dueling was illegal in 1804, and Burr was charged with murder in New Jersey (where the duel occurred) and in New York (where Hamilton died). Being famous and entitled, Burr simply returned to Washington and served the rest of his term as VP. Sure enough, the charges fizzled out.

Jefferson disliked Burr anyway and dumped him as his 1805 running mate. Whereupon Burr headed west and allegedly plotted with a group of co-conspirators to create a new country with Burr as president. It would consist of several commandeered US territories (parts of the future Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona), plus a portion of northern Mexico. Allegedly.

Jefferson found out and had Burr indicted for treason. Burr fled to Europe. Eventually, the treason charge was dropped for lack of evidence. In 1812, Burr quietly returned to the US, but remained out of the public eye.

In 1833, in his 70s, he married a wealthy New York widow. Four months into the marriage, she discovered that her fortune was dwindling; Burr was investing her money in land speculation schemes and losing. She filed for divorce, pointedly choosing Alexander Hamilton, Jr. as her attorney.

On the day the divorce was finalized, Burr died of a stroke. The word karma comes to mind.

A rotter, scoundrel, and deplorable jerk, indeed.

The deplorable Aaron Burr.

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Biographer Walter Isaacson called Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become.” Franklin indeed was a Renaissance Man.

In 1779, at age 73, Franklin wrote the letter below to French composer and musician Anna Louise Brillon de Jouy. While Franklin served as ambassador to France (from 1777 to 1785), he was a neighbor and close friend of Jacques and Anna Brillon de Jouy in Paris.

As the letter implies, Anna and Franklin were close. She affectionately called him “Poppa.”

Franklin’s letter to Anna:


November 10 1779.

I Received my dear Friend’s two Letters, one for Wednesday and one for Saturday. This is again Wednesday. I do not deserve one for to-day, because I have not answered the former.

But, indolent as I am, and averse to Writing, the Fear of having no more of your pleasing Epistles, if I do not contribute to the Correspondence, obliges me to take up my Pen; and as Mr. B. has kindly sent me Word, that he sets out to-morrow to see you, instead of spending this Wednesday Evening, as I have done its Namesakes, in your delightful Company, I sit down to spend it in thinking of you, in writing to you, and in reading over and over again your Letters.

I am charmed with your Description of Paradise, and with your Plan of living there; and I approve much of your Conclusion, that, in the meantime, we should draw all the Good we can from this World.

In my Opinion we might all draw more Good from it than we do, and suffer less Evil, if we would take care not to give too much for Whistles. For to me it seems that most of the unhappy People we meet with are become so by Neglect of that Caution.

You ask what I mean? You love Stories, and will excuse my telling one of my self.

When I was a Child of seven Years old, my Friends, on a Holiday, filled my little Pocket with Halfpence. I went directly to a Shop where they sold Toys for Children; and being charmed with the Sound of a Whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another Boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my Money for one.

When I came home, whistling all over the House, much pleased with my Whistle, but disturbing all the Family, my Brothers, Sisters, and Cousins, understanding the Bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good Things I might have bought with the rest of the Money; and laughed at me so much for my Folly, that I cry’d with Vexation; and the Reflection gave me more Chagrin than the Whistle gave me Pleasure.

This, however, was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don’t give too much for the Whistle; and I saved my Money.

As I grew up, came into the World, and observed the Actions of Men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the Whistle. When I saw one too ambitious of Court Favor, sacrificing his Time in Attendance at Levees, his Repose, his Liberty, his Virtue, and perhaps his Friends, to attain it, I have said to my self, This Man gives too much for his Whistle.

When I saw another fond of Popularity, constantly employing himself in political Bustles, neglecting his own Affairs, and ruining them by Neglect, He pays, says I, too much for his Whistle.

If I knew a Miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable Living, all the Pleasure of doing Good to others, all the Esteem of his Fellow Citizens, and the Joys of benevolent Friendship, for the sake of Accumulating Wealth, Poor man, says I, you pay too much for your Whistle.

When I met with a Man of Pleasure, sacrificing every laudable Improvement of his Mind, or of his Fortune, to mere corporeal Sensations, and ruining his Health in their Pursuit, Mistaken man, says I, you are providing Pain for your self, instead of Pleasure; you pay too much for your Whistle.

If I see one fond of Appearance, of fine Clothes, fine Houses, fine Furniture, fine Equipages, all above his Fortune, for which he contracts Debts, and ends his Career in a Prison, Alas! says I, he has paid too much for his Whistle.

When I see a beautiful sweet-tempered Girl marry’d to an ill-tempered Brute of a husband, What a Pity, says I, that she should pay so much for a Whistle!

In short, I conceiv’d that great Part of the Miseries of Mankind are brought upon them by the false Estimates they have made of the Value of Things, and by their giving too much for the Whistle.

Yet I ought to have Charity for these unhappy People, when I consider that, with all this Wisdom of which I am boasting, there are certain things in the World so tempting; for example, the Apples of King John, which happily are not to be bought; for if they were put to sale by Auction, I might very easily be led to ruin my self in the Purchase, and find that I had once more given too much for the Whistle.

Adieu, my dearest Friend, and believe me ever yours very sincerely and with unalterable Affection.


Franklin used the “Apples of King John” as a metaphor for something of great value. In Franklin’s time, fruit was scarce and costly; he was gracefully admitting that he wasn’t above temptation.

History says Franklin and Anna were genuinely close, and they engaged in flirtatious exchanges often. But their relationship almost certainly was platonic, despite Franklin’s long-time reputation as a womanizer.

Anna wrote to Franklin in 1778, “There can be no great harm that a man desires and succumbs — the woman may desire, but must not succumb.”

I suspect Franklin had the good sense to take the hint.

Poppa and Anna.

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Of the numerous ways we humans have botched our stewardship of the planet, it’s fair to say that the most egregious is our failure to address the global warming crisis. The Greenhouse Effect will turn the Earth into another Venus, but — oh, well.

Another of our monumental disappointments, although not at such a hair-on-fire level, is our use, overuse, and misuse of plastics.

Plastic is, literally, both a blessing and a curse. It proved to be adaptable, useful, and cheap, so we embraced it without reservation or caution. Now we are drowning in it.

Let me start with a definition. A polymer is a strong, elastic material consisting of long chains of molecules. It is common in nature; the cell walls of plants are made of cellulose, a natural polymer.

In 1869, American inventor John Wesley Hyatt created the first man-made polymer. He did so while seeking a $10,000 prize offered by a manufacturer of billiard balls. To its credit, the company wanted to find an alternative to elephant ivory.

Specifically, Hyatt treated cotton fiber (cellulose) with camphor. The result was celluloid, a partially synthetic polymer that could be molded into various shapes before it hardened. The substance was, in other words, formative. Plastic.

Hyatt’s discovery was groundbreaking. It provided an abundant new material to use in place of wood, stone, metal, etc. Although cellulose was only partly synthetic, the idea was celebrated as a way to preserve natural resources.

The first fully synthetic plastic, Bakelite, was created in 1907 by Leo Baekeland, a Belgian chemist. Bakelite contained no natural molecules. It was durable, heat-resistant, easily moldable, and ideal for mass production. The plastics revolution was underway.

Worldwide, the chemical industry invested heavily in developing more and better types of plastic. By World War II, the US military had switched from glass and silk to acrylic and nylon.

The production of plastics in the US tripled. Plastic soon replaced steel in cars, paper in packaging, and wood in everything. Plastic was a miracle — cheap, safe, and sanitary.

But soon enough, reality intervened. Plastic doesn’t conveniently biodegrade and disappear as do most natural materials. Plastic just piles up.

As early as the 1960s, an alarming amount of plastic waste was polluting waterways and accumulating in landfills.

Although we humans have acknowledged the problem, we have not dealt with it even remotely well. That’s no surprise, because plastics are crucial and profitable to business, industry, and government.

Accordingly, other than rolling out feel-good efforts at recycling, we have done little to rethink the production of plastics or to mitigate the waste problem.

Some relevant statistics…

A few years ago, a study by several universities found that, by 2015, humans had generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic.

For perspective, 8.3 billion metric tons is equal to the weight of 822,000 Eiffel Towers, 80 million blue whales, or one billion elephants.

Of that 8.3 billion metric tons, 6.3 billion has been discarded as waste.

Greenpeace says we have recycled roughly five percent of our plastic waste. About 79 percent is sitting in landfills.

Every year, Americans discard 35 billion plastic bags and pieces of plastic packaging.

According to the EPA, we recycle a mere 10 percent of the plastic bags we use.

Every year, an additional eight million metric tons of plastic waste finds its way into the oceans.

Since 1988, scientists have been aware of several massive and growing garbage patches in the oceans of the world. For the most part, the patches are comprised of bits of microplastics, plus pieces of larger plastic items — pens, toothbrushes, plastic bags — that are slowly fragmenting into microplastics.

The largest of the patches, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covers about 620,000 square miles. Some of the plastic floats on the surface in island-like clumps, but a far greater volume is suspended underwater, out of sight.

Why is the plastics crisis essentially in limbo and not being addressed intelligently? For the same reason the global warming crisis isn’t being solved: too many entities, primarily corporations and governments, profit from the status quo.

What to do? How should shrewd, enterprising, forward-thinkers — people with connections and resources — approach the problem of plastics?

For starters, they should take advantage of plastic’s pesky longevity. Find ways to use it to construct things that we want to last — highways, runways, sidewalks. Homes, schools, office buildings.

In addition, they should look for solutions that (a) make more sense than using plastics and (b) yield better profits.

In that regard, the British startup Pulpex may be onto something promising.

Recently, the UK alcoholic beverage company Diageo (Guinness, Johnnie Walter, Smirnoff) founded Pulpex, a “sustainable packaging” company that has developed a container made of wood pulp.

The Pulpex container is a bottle made of paper. As such, it is biodegradable and easily recyclable after use. Assuming the manufacturing costs are suitably low, that makes it a potential replacement for plastic and glass.

Pulpex pressure-forms wood pulp into bottles of the desired size and shape, then seals the interior with a food-grade coating. Reportedly, Pulpex bottles are made of renewably-sourced wood and can be any shape, size, or color.

Among the first commercial products to be rolled out in Pulpex containers are Diageo’s own Johnnie Walker Black Label, Heinz Ketchup, and Castrol Motor Oil.

The Pulpex model is a simple and smart idea — a positive step.

On the other hand, it doesn’t address the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste our species already has discarded.

Which, for perspective, is equal to the weight of 661,500 Eiffel Towers, 60 million blue whales, or 750 million elephants.

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Well, this is a fine mess.

Over the last year, several of my preferred toiletry items have disappeared from the market. These were products I used regularly and counted on, and now they aren’t available anymore. Which leaves me with the unwelcome hassle of finding replacements.

Yes, I’m aware that products get axed all the time. The suits up at Corporate do it for “business reasons.” Maybe sales are down. Maybe the suits want to shake up the market with something new.

Whatever the reason, I am displeased, and I want to vent.

1 — my aftershave

A while back, Burt’s Bees® Natural Skin Care for Men Aftershave, which I had used for years, was replaced on store shelves by Burt’s Bees® Soothing Moisturizer+ Aftershave.

The thing is, I LIKED the old Burt’s Bees® aftershave. I found it pleasing to the nose, gentle to the skin. And, wouldn’t you know it, the replacement is bloody awful. The fragrance isn’t just different, it’s unpleasant. I used it one time and threw the tube in the trash.

2 — my shave cream

Also gone is Burt’s Bees® Natural Skin Care for Men Shave Cream. It was replaced by Burt’s Bees® Cooling Shave Cream with Aloe & Hemp Seed Oil.

Is the new shave cream, like the new aftershave, bloody awful? I don’t intend to find out.

Burt’s Bees® really whiffed the ball on this one. And it isn’t just me. The online chatter has been brutal in bad-mouthing the new versions and asking Burt’s Bees® to bring back the Natural product line.

For that to happen, the suits at Burt’s Bees® would have to admit they screwed up. Not very likely.

Meanwhile, tubes of the now-defunct, now-scarce Natural versions (which retailed for about $7.99) are selling online for $25 to $45 each.

I can only hope that heads will roll at Burt’s Bees®.

3 — my toothpaste

In addition to my beef with Burt’s Bees®, I have a bone to pick with Crest® Toothpaste. For years, my toothpaste was Crest® Complete Multi-Benefit Herbal Mint Fluoride Toothpaste. I found the herbal mint flavor to be pleasant and refreshing. Nice and minty.

But Crest® chose to cease production of the herbal mint variety. When I realized it wasn’t being restocked, I grabbed what few remaining boxes I could find. Now, alas, I am down to one unopened tube.

That means I’ll either have to start sampling the god-knows-how-many other Crest® varieties…

… or tell Crest® to go scratch and look elsewhere.

4 – my underarm deodorant

My final gripe re the sudden unavailability of my toiletries is about my deodorant. This was especially distressing, because one’s body becomes accustomed to the chemistry of one’s deodorant. Changing to a new type can be a problem.

But then I discovered that the suits had pulled a bait-and-switch, and my product was, in fact, still available. Let me explain.

My preference for a long time has been Mennen® Speed Stick® Fresh Deodorant. (A deodorant, not an antiperspirant; I don’t do antiperspirants.)

This is my preferred Mennen® Speed Stick® Fresh Deodorant:

Exhibit A, Speed Stick® Fresh

Sometime last year, I made a routine purchase of the product below, having been tricked by the similar label design and color:

Exhibit B, Speed Stick® Regular

To my alarm, the product I purchased (Exhibit B), although very close in appearance to my preferred product (Exhibit A), was a different product with a different fragrance.

Apparently, the sticker “New Look — Same Great Deodorant” refers to another Mennen® Speed Stick® deodorant that they neglect to identify.

It took a bit of sleuthing, but I finally figured out what Mennen® had done. The original Speed Stick® Fresh Deodorant (Exhibit A) is still on the market, but it was given deceptive new labeling. This labeling:

Exhibit C, the new Speed Stick® Fresh

The new Kelly green version of Speed Stick® Fresh (Exhibit C) is, to my relief, identical to the previous blueish-greenish-teal version (Exhibit A) on which I have depended for so long. My deodorant was concealed, not discontinued, so all is well.

But if the suits do away with the current green version of Speed Stick® Fresh (Exhibit C), I can’t be responsible for my actions.

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A Sibling Thing

In 1953, when I was a preteen, the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, and my younger brother Lee and I became big fans of the team. We knew the entire roster in detail and of course had our favorite players. My hero was young right-fielder Hank Aaron. Lee’s idol was slugging third baseman Eddie Mathews.

Lee Smith, Eddie Mathews fan.

In those days, Milwaukee’s ace pitcher was the great lefty Warren Spahn, and at some point, Lee acquired a small hard plastic figurine of Spahn. It was like a G.I. Joe action figure, minus the bendable limbs. Eight inches tall, well molded, neatly painted, durable.

And, if you aren’t too picky, it can be said to bear some resemblance to Warren Spahn.

The Spahn figurine took its place among the toys in the Smith household and was around for years. My sister Betty remembers Warren well. She frequently included him when she had tea parties with her dolls.

Time passed, and we kids grew up. We went out into the world. started careers, got married.

One day, probably when I was in my mid-20s, I got in my car and found the Spahn figurine propped up on the steering wheel. No note, no explanation. Lee never mentioned it. Nor did I.

But some months later, I managed to sneak the figurine into Lee’s house and left it in a kitchen cabinet. Again, neither of us spoke of it.

But it was the beginning of a decades-long ritual in which the figurine quietly changed possession 10 or 15 times, maybe more.

The unspoken goal was to return Warren when enough time had passed — a few months, a year or two — so that your brother had forgotten about it and would not expect it. And still, neither of us spoke of the matter.

I last left Warren at Lee’s house about a decade ago, and I hadn’t thought about it in quite some time. So, when a large package arrived from Lee a few days before my birthday in January, I suspected nothing.

I was totally blindsided when I opened the package and found the Spahn figurine inside multiple boxes and layers of Styrofoam. I did not see it coming.

In truth, I was delighted to see Warren again — so much so that I broke tradition and texted Lee about it. I admitted that he got me good, which pleased him greatly.

The next day, I had a haircut appointment, and I told my stylist the story of the Warren Spahn figurine. “That thing is probably collectible,” she said. “Have you checked online?”

Wow. That should have occurred to me, but never had. So, I took a photo of Warren and did a Google image search.

And I was introduced to the world of figurines manufactured decades ago by Hartland Plastics, Inc. of Hartland, Wisconsin.

Starting in 1939, Hartland Plastics produced a stream of action figures — baseball players, football players, historical figures (General Custer, Wyatt Earp), and characters from TV westerns (Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Matt Dillon).

Here are some of the Hartland baseball figures:

The figurines sold well and quickly became collectible. When Hartland ceased operations in 1978, they became even more in demand.

Today, as far as value is concerned, the figurines don’t exactly rank up there with Fabergé eggs. Most Hartlands are worth $50 to $400, depending on scarcity, popularity, whether the packaging survived, and so on.

The highest price I saw was $1,500 for an uncirculated figurine of Pirates shortstop Dick Groat with original packaging.

But prices and Dick Groat be damned. The real question was, did Hartland manufacture an Eddie Mathews figurine?

Yes. Yes, they did. And I purchased one immediately on eBay.

While I was waiting for Eddie to arrive, I telephoned Lee and casually asked if Warren had been his only figurine. “Did you have others?” I asked. “An Eddie Mathews maybe?”

“I wish,” he said.

Days later, Eddie arrived. This is the figurine.

If you aren’t too picky, it can be said to bear some resemblance to Eddie Mathews.

I took a few photos of Eddie, repackaged him, and mailed him to Lee.

Lee called, and he was highly emotional. Beyond elated. He was uncharacteristically animated and thanked me repeatedly.

So, Lee was majorly pleased, and I had the satisfaction of surprising him. Under the circumstances, I guess the Warren Spahn figurine is permanently mine.

For now.

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Pix o’ the Day

More favorite photos I’ve taken over the years.

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