August 24, 2019
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Monday, February 11, 2019: State of the Union still disappoints, my manager Frank Robinson, let the teachers decide

State of the Union still disappoints

Although it is unrewarding, I always watch the State of the Union, thinking that somehow it is my civic duty. This year’s was no exception. There were some good words on the teleprompter, and President Donald Trump read them well because someone told him he was supposed to. There are those who believe that some of his sentences even rose to the level of the presidential. They needn’t worry: It is certain that he will soon go back to being the Trump we all know and love.

There should be a rule for the State of the Union like there is at the symphony: “Please hold your applause until the end.” All that standing up and sitting down by the audience is a silly spectacle. And of course the media analyze it all in great detail — who applauded when, who smiled and who looked grumpy, etc.

Some rituals are uplifting. The State of the Union is not.

Michael Bacon

Westbrook

Let the teachers decide

There has been of late much discussion about what children read in school. My suggestion? Let the teachers decide.

Remember — as parents we send our children off to school every morning, secure in the knowledge that they will be supervised and instructed by responsible adults, professionals who have only the best interest of the child in mind.

No teacher has ever said that Iago, or Pap, or the thugs who murder Casey were good guys. No teacher who has taught Elie Wiesel’s memoir “Night” has ever said, “You know, there were good people on both sides.”

Of course there were, undoubtedly, but that’s not the point, is it? “Othello,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Grapes of Wrath” are designed to show us, the readers, the untold damage that brutality, ignorance and evil can wreak. By dramatizing the gulf between right and wrong, such works teach us to become better people.

And that, finally, is what staff and teachers do every day in our schools and classrooms. They choose works that teach us how, in our best moments, we should behave, not with hatred, violence and bigotry, but instead with courage, kindness, truth, beauty and, yes, love.

Let the teachers decide.

William J. Murphy

Belfast

Frank Robinson, my manager

It seems like a hundred years ago, I met my manager and all-time friend Frank Robinson. I was a player, looking for a contract. I worked for Eastern Airlines at the time, so I was able to fly down to Puerto Rico for a tryout with the Santurce Baseball team. It was October, the regular season had ended, and winter-ball was beginning.

I was working out with the San Juan-based Santurce Crabbers, as I had in the previous four years. I was a sub available in the event a major leaguer left or got hurt. I would fill in.

Frank Robinson was to manage that year, and I didn’t know that until I got down there. Under Robinson’s guidance, Santurce won the Caribbean Championship that year, and the very next season, he became the Major League’s first black manager with the Cleveland Indians. Robinson had a reputation of being a tough guy, a guy with an attitude, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Yes, he was tough as hell on the field, but off the field, he was just Frank.

Once he trusted you, there were no holds barred. He told me of the prejudices he faced in his early years, and how the press, back then, painted him a troublemaker when he defended himself from harm. He had an infectious laugh and always defended his players.

My heart is a little heavy today, my dear old friend is gone. At 75 I’m beginning to see a lot of that.

He was as good as Mays, Mantle or Aaron. He never received the accolades they got, but he never cared. My friend now plays on the Field of Dreams. Rest In Peace old friend, keep a spot in the lineup for me.

Doug Davis

Windham



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