Saturday, March 18, 2006

Excused Absence -- Or -- How We Brought Rain to Phoenix

I've been "away from this microphone," as Paul Harvey would say, for some time now, but not, unfortunately, on a lucrative speaking engagement.

The good people of Phoenix had gone over 140 days without rain. Someone had to do something about this.

And so the Curmudgeon and his Long Suffering Spouse, Younger Daughter and Youngest Son in tow, followed Middle Son on his Spring Training trip to Arizona -- and pretty much ruined it.

But from what I saw in the TV coverage, the people of Phoenix were happy, even downright giddy about the rain that washed out last Saturday's doubleheader and the snow that fell so close to the City.

You'd think, for the benefit we conferred, the nice people of Phoenix might have at least 'comped' our trip -- but, no, we'll have to figure out some way to pay for it ourselves. Somehow.

Now I can understand a certain amount of skepticism in reviewing this post; perhaps the reader doubts that our mere presence in Arizona could bring much needed rain. And perhaps I overstate my claim: It was not our presence alone that brought rain; it was our being there on vacation.

And it's not as if we did it on purpose. If we had known the consequences of our visit, I surely would have brought a coat, or at least a long-sleeved shirt -- but I didn't. The hotel had only an outdoor pool -- and the temperature never climbed above 50 from Thursday on. I did have a tweed jacket, with leather patches on the sleeves. I like to wear a suit or sportcoat in the airport -- the additional available pockets make security a little less difficult. (I like to wear tweed jackets with leather patches on the sleeves because this can sometimes deceive people, for at least a little while, until I open my big bazoo anyway, that I am somewhat smart.) And I wore that and a sweatshirt I wasn't going to pack but for the insistence of the LSS, while locals wore parkas -- parkas! -- to the March 8 WBC game between Mexico and South Africa. And that was the warmest night of our stay.

(And why was I at a World Baseball Classic game between Mexico and South Africa? I was there because Youngest Son, whom I've renamed Bud Selig, Jr., has been obsessing about this tournament since it was announced. I had not been looking forward to this game in any way. And, despite my reservations going in, the game turned out to be a hoot because the Mexican fans were so raucous -- and still friendly to me and my son.)

Still, we saw parts of two White Sox games (we were late to both), and two games involving Middle Son's team. (We froze at both of them.) But did we see Middle Son play?

We arrived Wednesday. He pitched Tuesday. He might have pitched again on Saturday, but for the rain.

Still, the reader may not be persuaded just by the foregoing series of miscues, misjudgments and misfortunes that our mere presence as vacationers would have caused cold weather or rain in the usually warm and sunny desert. Well consider this: We flew home last Sunday night -- into the teeth of another storm, one that closed O'Hare. We were diverted to Milwaukee, not making it into Chicago until after 2:30 a.m., not making it home until 4:00 a.m.

It's just got to be us.

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