"National Watermelon Day"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, August 9, 2013

As I see it, headline news provokes many emotions.

The biggest breaking news in sports this past week was all about New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — he’s back! His return to the playing field last Monday was expected to draw a large number of fans to U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. The Sox fans did fill the ballpark and were rewarded as their last place team snapped a 10 game losing streak by whipping the Yankees 8-1. I’m pretty sure none of them were A-Rod fans. Boo’s were so loud when he came up to the plate that the umpire’s calls could hardly be heard. There certainly were no cheers of support for him.

A-Rod, the highest paid player ever in the game, has made a mockery of the once great Yankees.

Not only was Monday his first day back, it was his first dose of what the public thinks of him. I truly believe he expected the crowd to cheer as he strutted up to the plate. As he approached the plate, with his cheek puffed out, I wondered what caused the swelling. Was it a mouth full of tobacco or his foot? How arrogant can a person be?

He will be playing until he gets his chance to appeal the charges against him, probably after the season ends. His appeal reinforces the belief about the fool many think he is. If he had not been taking the enhancement drugs as charged, how did his name show up on the list? A-Rod is the only player connected to the BioGenesis investigation to appeal his suspension.

While A-Rod cries foul, (it was after all his second offense) other players named are standing up and facing their team’s fans. Tiger shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, made a sincere apology saying he made a terrible mistake and deeply regretted hurting his teammates and great fans. In my eyes, Jhonny may not be the highest paid ball player, but he certainly appears to be a better man. A-Rod may not have pled to the charges this time, but he did admit to using performance enhancing drugs before baseball’s current drug testing policy was put into place.

Hard to believe but there was additional news this past week. The president’s closing of 22 embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. Depending upon what news venue you listened to, reasoning for the action was mixed. Some security sources said information had been intercepted similar to that heard prior to 911. Others thought the end of the Muslim festival; Eid al-Adha (“Feast of the Sacrifice) which celebrates the 27th day of Ramadan, known as the “Night of Destiny” was the cause for alarms worldwide.

Americans were advised “not to travel internationally.”

I did not hear that message as I headed out last Friday for a trip to Buffalo which included international travel via Canada.

It wasn’t until we were settled in our motel in Niagara Falls that we heard the warnings on a Canadian news station. They were very serious about the threats, but we were tucked in for the night and gave little thought about them having an effect on our travels.

The next morning, we got an early start and headed for the Rainbow Bridge crossing after taking a drive along the avenue that runs next to the falls. The road we were on by-passed the bridge and we began following signs that said, “Alternate Route.” We wound up over ten miles from the bridge, in traffic barely moving and our El Camino began overheating. I knew hours would pass before we reached the bridge so I pulled out of the miles-long traffic. With a little help from a friend, we made it back to the bridge and crossed in a half-hour.

I chatted with the officer on the U.S. side, asking if the delay was due to the threat warnings. He said, “Oh no, it’s just a Canadian Federal Holiday.” Actually, I found out it was two holidays; Canada Day and National Watermelon Day. I’m guessing everyone who owned a motor vehicle in Canada went for a ride on the holiday.

By the time we reached our destination, our friend’s cottage on Lake Ontario, it was time for dinner. We took a ride along the shoreline and checked out a classic car show before settling in at a bayside restaurant for an excellently-prepared meal. The next day, we decided to head back to Michigan early, wary of a long backup at the border.

Traffic was normal for a Sunday heading west but the eastbound traffic headed into the U.S. was backed up over 50 miles; stop and go with a lot more stop. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those folks still were on the road after I made it home. After crossing the Blue Water Bridge, the drive along M-25 was peaceful and sunset approached as we neared Port Hope.

As the curve brought us into town, we came upon a young buck at the side of the road. He was kicking his hoofs up and showing off his fuzzy rack. He gave us a sidelong glance as if to say, “Welcome Back.” (Yes, I use whistles and they work well).

Let me advise everyone: If you plan to visit Canada, make sure it’s not on one of their holiday weekends. As for the threat, I suppose the President sat back and said that it’s better safe than sorry. At least he let al Qaeda know we are keeping track of their actions.




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