Back in the 80s, I lived for several years in California - first in the Bay Area and then in Stockton. I watched and listened to a lot of Oakland A's baseball during those years, having acquired a penchant for the A's back when Catfish Hunter, Sal Bando, and Rollie Fingers, to name a few, put together three consecutive World Series victories.
The early 80s were also golden years for the Athletics. Those were the years of José Canseco (before he self-destructed) and Mark McGwire (before he took steroids). There was Walt Weiss, who followed Canseco and McGwire as the third consecutive AL Rookie of the Year to come from the A's, and Dave Kingman, the team's formidable DH. I saw Rickey Henderson steal bases with aplomb, on his way to the all-time record, and I got to watch Reggie Jackson close out his career.
The A's are on my mind today. Well, really, I am thinking of their iconic broadcast team of Bill King, Lon Simmons, and Ray Fosse. In particular, Lon Simmons is on my mind. He was known for calling a home run as it sailed towards the wall: "Back…back…wayyyyy back…tell it GOODBYE!"
We have just come out of the marathon known as 4th of July concerts: setting up stages, breaking down stages, loading instruments, unloading instruments, rehearsals, sound checks, concerts (two), and everything else in between. Warren did yeoman's duty, like he always does, and many of his board members stepped up as well to set up, break down, load, unload, and run needed errands. I was there too.
Yesterday, after one final group walk of the campus grounds to make sure all was clean and then hauling the bagged trash to the college dumpsters, Warren and I went home and finally, finally stopped moving.
The July 4th marathon was over.
Tell it GOODBYE.
This morning, as I assessed the week and the month ahead, I could not shake Lon Simmons or his call from my head. If I tried to focus on this week's calendar, my mind kept circling back to the weekend we had just finished, and I would hear Lon call "Tell it GOODBYE!" If I tried to focus on the events of last weekend, my mind would jump ahead to the events of this week, and Lon would again broadcast over the roar of the crowd, "Tell it GOODBYE."
You get the picture.
I finally shared my inner soundtrack with Warren, who laughed and said "Not yet!" He was headed off to his office, where the remains of the holiday awaited. With Montana fast approaching, he is trying to finish up any remaining pieces of Season 31 and position the Symphony to launch Season 32 (while planning, you realize, for Seasons 33, 34, and 35). There was no Lon Simmons calling in his head.
Of course there wasn't. Lon is in my head today.
Tell it GOODBYE.
I am taking a slow day. It is hot (again, still, yet) today so I am sticking inside. Tell it GOODBYE. I am still drained from the weekend's events. Tell it GOODBYE. I picked up a virus sometime between here and the lake and back again, and it has taken the edge off my energy for the day. I am trusting it will pass. Tell it GOODBYE.
This summer has passed by all too swiftly so far. Behind us already are Sam's birthday and the holiday concerts. Tell it GOODBYE. The garden has moved swiftly from seedlings to blossoms and beyond, and I have barely kept up with it, let along documented the changes. Tell it GOODBYE.
Ahead lies navigating July, with some tricky runs in it, before launching for Montana. I am afraid if I am not paying attention, all too soon Lon will be calling the game for the entire summer.
Tell it GOODBYE.
Not yet, Lon. Let me catch my breath first. Let me take the time to watch the fireflies rise up at dusk. Let me stop and watch the bees work over the pumpkin blossoms. Let me ride with Warren out to Prospect for ice cream, sitting with our sundaes on the church steps down the block, just like we did 38 years ago. Let me look - really, really look - and listen and take in the trip west and back, on routes I have not traced in three decades.
Let me catch the summer in my hands, let it run out through my fingers slowly.
And only when summer is done and the garden picked and the fair is coming to town, then you can make your call, Lon. But whisper it for me, will you?
"Tell it goodbye…tell it goodbye…tell it goodbye."