TIM WILDMON: Summer memories include Cardinals game


Did you realize the first official day of summer is June 21? To be precise it’s 12:04 a.m. on June 21. It has to do with the summer solstice which has to do with when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. We have scientists who keep up with this stuff so we don’t have to. I do not know why 12:04 instead of 12:00. I also can’t figure out why my cellphone snooze goes off every nine minutes instead of every 10 minutes. I have failed to investigate this matter. I guess I could if I got up a little earlier one morning and did so, but I like hitting the snooze button three or four times so I doubt I will ever get around to it.

My lovely and talented wife, Alison, asks why I don’t just set the alarm for the time I want to get up, thus getting 27 more minutes of uninterrupted sleep instead of doing the snooze button thing several times. Again, I have no answer except I like the idea of knowing I have a few more minutes before I have to get out of bed. I must be in the majority otherwise cellphone companies would not put snooze buttons on the phones in the first place.

With apologies to the solstice scientists, the common man recognizes Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of summer. Other than Christmas, summer brings back memories of childhood more than any other time of the year. One big thing I’m thankful for is I was a kid before the age of high-tech gadgets, cellphones and the Internet. Heck, if I had had cellphone contact with mom back in the early 70s I never would have been able to do half the stuff my buddies and I did.

In 1972, my dad gave me a transistor radio, which was a high-tech gadget for that time, I suppose. I soon discovered a Tupelo radio station, WELO, 580 on the AM dial, carried all the St. Louis Cardinals baseball games. From the first time I started listening to Jack Buck and Mike Shannon, I was hooked. I could not wait for spring training to roll around each year in March. And for the next few summers I would ride my bike around Lee Acres neighborhood listening to the Cardinals. That and three meals a day was all I needed. The best high definition broadcast in the world is the human imagination which millions of American boys used listening to baseball on the radio during the middle part of the 20th century. As the song goes, we saw it all on our radio.

When Jack Buck died a few years ago, it was if I had lost a close friend, even though I never meet him. I even bought a CD of his memorial service. Mike Shannon still does the Cardinal games today.

Ranking in the top 10 of the most exciting days of my life was when my dad interrupted our kick-the-can game one June day in 1973 to tell me his friend, Byron Lehman, had called and invited me to go to St. Louis with his family to watch the Cardinals play. I was lucky enough to see Bob Gibson pitch and Lou Brock steal bases. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

Sometimes, I wish I could hit the biological snooze button and go back and relive those days of sun, fun and simplicity. But then again, sometimes at night when I’m sitting all alone in my driveway enjoying a cheap cigar and listening to the Cardinals on the radio I do just that.

Community columnist TIM WILDMON is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.

Tim Wildmon