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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: March 22, 2013

A Wish Fulfilled

As a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Mets baseball fan, I have always desired to go to spring training to see my teams perform in the Grapefruit League. Last week, at 78 years old, my wish came true.

With three other gentlemen, we flew to West Palm Beach Airport. Next we picked up a Toyota Avalon at Alamo Car Rental and proceeded toward Port St. Lucie to watch the 2013 Mets. On the way (Route 95 North), a black cloud filled with rain tried to get in our way, but it could not stop us. We had great hopes that our three-day stay would not be rained out. As it turned out, the Florida sun greeted us in Port St. Lucie. It was great to wear shorts and golf shirts under a sunny sky.  We checked into the Main Stay Hotel ($75 a night).

Our first game against the Washington Nationals started at 6:10 p.m. at the Mets’ ball field. It is named Tradition Field and it is a lovely baseball stadium. The field has high quality grass and a beautiful grass-lined berm in center field. As we lay on the berm, Ike Davis hit a huge homerun, not far from us.

We also saw David Wright, whom we designated as the All-American Boy because he is one. The Mets lost 6-4. Because Manager Collins was trying out his new crop of players, no other Mets were on the field that we recognized, pitchers included.

After a good night’s rest, the next day we traveled south to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida to watch the Mets play the Miami Marlins. The Marlins had just traded our beloved Jose Reyes to Toronto, so we had no love for them.

We had lunch in a strange place in Hobe Sound, Florida. It was called “Harry and the Natives,” established in 1941. There were strange signs all over the place, such as “Eat, drink and be Harry,” “I’ve got friends in low places,” and “Please notify your nurse when you leave.”  Plus there was a life size statue of Marilyn Monroe, with her dress blown up in the air.

The next game, our Mets lost again. We saw Duda and Tejada in this game.  Discontented, we drove back to Port St. Lucie. In the morning, we watched the Mets work out. That afternoon, the Mets were playing the St. Louis Cardinals.  Cardinal fans are so ardent, they almost outnumbered the Met fans. It was a romp and a rout of our poor Mets.  Three games, three losses, but we were not discouraged.

That night, we ate at a fabulous fish restaurant called the Food Shack. Never have I eaten such fresh fish, prepared so wonderfully. I had blackened Tuna.

Our trip came to a close as we boarded the Southwest flight back to Islip. A dream fulfilled: now, if only the poor Mets could win the pennant!

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com