Hello? Is there somebody there? Are you at the screen door? Well, nice of you to visit. Won't you come in? No, it's no bother.
You must be quite hot on a day like this. So humid of late. It feels a little too close to be comfortable. I would love to offer you a cold glass of tea but I'm afraid the icebox doesn't cool like it used to. I hope you'll forgive its tepid nature. Perhaps I could fry you up some of those green tomatoes from out back. Oh wait, we don't grow those here anymore. I don't think I've had one since the Krispy Kreme closed. Or am I thinkin' of somethin' else?
Please forgive an old woman her lapses and her occasional eccentricities. It hasn’t been easy here this year. My right arm doesn't work as good as it used to either. All that choppin'.
This place is a mess and I apologize for that. The lawn is unsightly, the kudzu is chokin' everything in sight and too many things to identify by name leak slowly. But I like it here. It reminds me of the good times.
We don't have many visitors anymore. It's the war, you know. The War of Northern Aggression. Those horrible Metropolitans and their overtly vicious way of runnin' and hittin' and pitchin' and catchin'. I'm afraid it's simply taken a toll on our beloved Southland.
Oh, but never mind that right now. I do hope you can set a spell and catch up. Tell me, have you heard from my cousin Leopold? Leopold used to be such good company, the way he'd lean forward and lean back and lean forward and lean back. I do declare that man could lean every which way but still!
You haven't heard from him, though, have you? I miss my cousin Leopold. I hear tell he took off for one of the border states…Maryland, I think. Things just haven't been the same without him.
Would you like to look at some photographs? I have the albums right here. I confess I took them down from their shelf when the summer began and have neglected to return them to their rightful place. Since The War of Northern Aggression took hold, there are days when these photographic images are all I have for comfort.
Oh, would you look at that? Look how fresh and young our boys were then! Those crisp white shirts, those neat navy caps with the red brims. Mmm. Look, there's Mad Dog. We all laughed when we called him that because there was nothin' angry about that boy. He was so quiet, but Lord, he was special. Special as the day was long. He's gone now. Gone to one of those cities with the ivy.
That's Tommy. We don't talk about him anymore.
Oh, will you look at this one? Little Johnny Rocker! Oh, so young, so precious. My, how I thought that left arm of his would go on forever. I suppose he said a few things those ungodly Metropolitans didn't care for and it got him into a bit of hot water. Oh my! Now, I'm not sayin' I agreed with Johnny, but he sure was fun to have around. Surely nothin' to lose your religion over.
There's General Cox, lookin' so handsome, so determined. Right next to my cousin Leopold. This must have been taken a good dozen years ago by now. I lose track of the calendar, so I may be off a little, but I do believe that's when we emerged triumphant in the Battle of Ohio. That was our world championship. Just the one. To realize there is only one is enough to give an old woman the vapors, I do declare.
The years have blended one after another, one after another. At first, it was easy to remember. We had so little in our beloved Southland. Then the winnin' came and it simply continued. I know, some might say we were spoiled, that we thought our paradise would endure like the sun in the sky on the first night of summer. Mmm.
Oh, take a look at this album. The photographs in here, see? This was when our Metropolitan friends were civilized. You could invite them down for a weekend and they would behave so hospitably you would almost think they were sweet southern boys themselves.
There's that nice young man who had political aspirations, always smilin', always chattin'. So polite. Did you know he came down here one autumn evenin' and allowed our boys to score at will? So thoughtful.
And there's that catcher they used to have. He could ruffle a few feathers with his occasional deep fly balls and such, but you knew when he was around nothin' bad was goin' to become of us. Always minded his manners. Even that colonel they had, the one with the name sort of like a heart, wasn't it? Yes, Valentine, that was it. I didn't particularly care for him, but when he was in charge, those fellas never caused any lastin' damage.
It's not like that now. Those nasty Metropolitans cause nothin' but trouble. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. Forgive my language but they are ill-mannered beasts, every last one of them. The catcher they have today? He's nothin' like that fine, upstandin' young man with the mustache. He just keeps playin' and keeps hittin' — it's offensive!
And I don't like that man in centerfield. He catches everything and he hits everything and he doesn't seem at all slowed down by anything! I wouldn't say this too loudly, but I fear he may be every bit as good as our Andruw…maybe better.
I liked it when they would travel here with those outfielders who didn't quite know where they were goin' next. Oh, remember that young man who went to college right here in Georgia? Payson was his name? What's that? Yes, Payton! That Payton was such a charmin' boy. Did you know he once kept runnin' all the way to third base with two out when it was clear he was goin' to make it three out? Oh my, I still smile at that memory.
It's all memories now. Our Brian Jordan and all those home runs that always seemed so dramatic. Our Eddie Perez and all those hits that always seemed so surprisin'. Our startin' pitchin' and those wins. Mmm.
Memories, just memories now. Those unconscionable Metropolitans have seen to that. For fourteen consecutive summers, we knew we could count on the early autumn meanin' somethin' to us. The early autumn might not have lasted long, and we may not have turned out to see the festivities it wrought, but it was to be depended upon, like a beautiful spring cotillion. Now there is so little to be depended upon.
I blame those dratted Metropolitans. No sir, I do not care for that new man in charge of their brigade, that Colonel Randolph. He is unsmilin' and unyieldin'. What happened to that other colonel they had, after the fella with the heart name? Who? Why? Was that it? No, Howe, that's right. Colonel Howe. What a gentleman! Never would think of upstagin' our home team. I suppose he's gone, too, just like my Cousin Leopold.
The pitchers these awful Metropolitans bring with them, I must say I don't care for their likes either. That young man who had been sick for a month who had the bad manners to re-enter the battle just last night? I thought he was showin' us the common courtesy of allowin' us several runs and would then stand aside. But instead, he just stubbornly, stubbornly wouldn't give in. I am not one to criticize, but bad manners will raise my ire. I feel the same today as regards that fella with the royal blood. I'm sorry, I'm not so good with names anymore. He's a count of some sort…or a duke…a Duque, yes, thank you. That Duque was even more impolite than the fella last night. Why, he drove in nearly as many runs as he permitted!
I miss that young man with the political aspirations. He would never stand in the way of our success.
I had such high hopes for our boys. So many of them are from these parts, you know? Alas, our crops have been trampled by all that awful artillery those savage Metropolitans brought with them. They never used to do that. They were the friendliest people. Oh, do you recall that great big bear of a man they would bring in to finish games? Those games got finished, but not nearly to their likin'! Mmm.
It's all over now. Our precious way of life is in ruins. There will be no October here, not even an early October. Our Chipper is in pain and our Betemit has been dispatched to the west and our Colonel Cox has lost that golden ability to strategize and all our homegrown crops…sapped of their usefulness. My cousin Leopold is gone. Mad Dog is gone. Johnny Rocker is gone. I haven't seen Johnny Smoltz since I don't know when either. The only thing we have around here for succor is the distant revvin' of automobile engines drownin' out what's left of our faint tomohawk chant. Those fast cars seem to make our people happy now. It takes their minds off The War of Northern Aggression.
You must be tired of listenin' to an old woman ramble on so, but dear, you have to understand. For me, it was always baseball. Atlanta Braves baseball. It wasn't the most popular pastime here, but it was the best we had to offer. Now, no matter what the boys say about how they're fightin' for one more division flag, it is gone. Gone with the Metropolitans and their enormous, pretentious lead.
Mmm. I do declare.