Growing up in downriver Detroit, I spent summers listening to the great play-by-play baseball radio announcer Ernie Harwell broadcast the exploits of the Detroit Tigers. He was the voice of the Tigers for 43 seasons. Harwell was a wordsmith and his word-pictures of home runs, double-plays, great catches and squeeze bunts were vivid enough for me that no TV screen was required to “see” the action he described.
Some of Ernie’s calls were pure home-spun gospel. For instance, occasionally when a batter was out on a called third strike, he would quip, “He’s out for excessive window shopping.” Or when a pitcher would fire one over the plate, Harwell would sometimes call, “That’s a strike. Mr. Kaiser said so!” using the umpire’s real name. And when fly balls sailed over an outfield fence for a home run, “Its LOOOOONG gone!” in Harwell-speak.
As he signed off the air following his final Tiger broadcast in 2002, Harwell told his listeners, “It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”
Those are similar thoughts I am having here in New Jersey as I stare out a window at the first snow storm of 2017. It’s a doozy, too. Lots of it falling all up and down the eastern seaboard, even as far south as Georgia. But the radar map shows the snow is pretty much giving Charleston, South Carolina a miss. That’s good news, since that is where my wife , Marcia, and I are headed.
Permanently. For good. We have pulled the plug. Or, if you prefer, the trigger. Made the decision. It is time to leave the cold, snow and high property taxes behind. It is something we have been thinking about for a very long time, visiting or reading about places that sound inviting to spend our final decades. We fell in love with Charleston almost the moment we arrived for a look-see about two years ago. Recently, an opportunity presented itself with a house that seemed to call out our name.
So, as Harwell said, “It’s time to say goodbye” to all the great New Jersey friends who have become so near and dear to us over the past 26 years we have lived in the Garden State. It is time to say goodbye to the Jersey Arts and Theater Communities that have become so much a part of my life here.
I, too, think goodbyes are sad, but, like Harwell, I much prefer to say hello to a new adventure. For all of our adult lives, where Marcia and I lived was job dependent. During the 1970’s, it was the Army that told me where to live, Fort Benning, Georgia. As I built a broadcasting career, I lived where the jobs were, Kalamazoo; Columbus, Georgia; Atlanta; Philadelphia. Finally, we lived where ever ABC News sent me, Chicago; Frankfurt, Germany; South Africa; Rome, Italy and then New York, which is how we ended up in New Jersey.
Charleston, South Carolina will be the first place we will be living because it’s where we want to live. It will be the first place we have chosen on our own to live. Since we are both at or near retirement age, it is about time, wouldn’t you agree? Turning a corner, a new leaf, a fresh start. Whatever you want to call it, this is our new adventure.