My mother was a schoolteacher in Youngstown in the late 1950s.
Her fourth-graders were a rambunctious bunch, but she often recalls one particular day in the 1958-59 school year, when Cleveland Indians right fielder Rocky Colavito was coming to town for a personal appearance.
The students were so excited, she could barely keep them in their seats that day, let alone keep their minds on their studies with the thought of the major leaguer coming later that day.
Now I’m not much of a sports fan, but my research tells me those kids had good reason to be so excited. In 1958, Colavito was batting .303 for the Indians with 41 home runs and 113 runs batted in (that’s RBI for you sports fan types). He had another 42 home runs in 1959, making him the first Indian to have two 40-plus home run seasons in a row.
Before you start thinking I’ve become a sportswriter, let me explain that I’ve heard this story so many times from my mother, anytime I feel distracted and unable to focus, I think to myself, “You’d think Rocky Colavito was coming to town.”
When it comes to writing this week’s column, “You’d think Rocky Colavito was coming to town.”
My personal Rocky Colavito is warm weather. I look out my window and want to forget about the deadlines and the projects.
I think I have spring fever. And I’m pretty sure it’s catching.
So here are some random thoughts on food and experiences I’ve had of late. If they seem a little discombobulated, blame it on the weather. Don’t blame poor Rocky Colavito; apparently he gets blamed enough for problems with the Indians.
Recently, a woman came up to me while I was grocery shopping and, pointing to the wide selection of tubs and boxes in the case in front of us, asked me bluntly, “Which one of these is butter?”
I’m not making this up.
She was dead serious and went on to explain that she always buys “spread” which she knew was vegetable oil, but was under pressure from a new man in her life to bring home butter, real butter.
I showed her the pound boxes (marked “butter” for easy identification) and explained the difference between salted and unsalted and gave her a short tutorial on how she probably wanted unsalted if he was going to be baking, but salted if he wanted it for spreading on his toast in the morning.
I also explained that butter came from cream, which came from a cow, not a vegetable. This seemed to take her by great surprise.
I left her there staring at the butter. Part of me wishes I had stayed to see what she finally selected. But at least now she knows what butter is. And on those days when I think I’ve exhausted all subject matter in the food section, I will remember the butter lady and realize that there’s plenty more for everyone to learn.
I was a guest judge at Cupcake Camp Akron over the weekend. The event was sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 334 in Green and was a rousing success and a lot of fun.
Organizer Martha LaConte said participants brought in more than 3,800 cupcakes for the event and the Scouts raised nearly $1,500 for their troop.
There were both professional bakers and amateurs there and I sampled more cupcakes than anyone should ever eat in one sitting. Some were amazingly delicious. Some were downright scary. Everyone thinks that judging food contests is a dream come true, but after trying 40 or so cupcakes in the span of two hours, I can tell you that living the dream isn’t nearly as good as it seems.
Despite warnings from garden writer Mary Beth Breckenridge that the frost deadline is May 23 for Northeast Ohio, I may plant some things outside before then.
I know I will regret this if something gets nipped, but I’m tired of following this rule every year and being the last person in the world to plant everything.
Yes, as you can see, when this girl goes wild she defies the accepted rules of horticulture. Maybe it’s the residual effects of all of the weekend’s sugar. What could be next, white pants before Memorial Day? Someone, please, call the police. This spring fever may have to be arrested.