spring bird stock

The spring season is typically a season of transition, a metaphor for shaking off the old and welcoming the new.

If I were so inclined, I might put away the heavier garments in my closet and purchase new, lighter ones. It’s my understanding some folks really do this.

As for me, I might move the sweaters to the back but, other than that, it’s business as usual as far as my attire is concerned. Except for the cold spells in parts of January and February, I pretty much wear shorts year-round. The current ones in the rotation are still functional, so there’s no reason to buy new ones or move them where it is more difficult to gain access.

In some parts of Christianity, the season of Lent is observed in spring. A time of reflection is entered, roughly coinciding with the 40 days Jesus fasted, as reflected in the Gospels. This culminates in Easter Sunday in which resurrection and new life are celebrated.

Although I do not attend a church in which the liturgies and traditions around Lent are observed, I grew up in one that did. I always try to engage in some activity related to the Lenten season, whether it’s acts of service, writing notes to friends or giving up a particularly enjoyed food or activity.  

We tend to stay outside longer in the evenings in the spring and we’ll use our outside grills more. Those with an inclination toward gardening will start to mulch and plant and such. I do some of that, but mostly I feel guilty and fret over what my neighbors think because I do as little as I can get away with.

It is a busy time in the world of sports as we move into March Madness a/k/a the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I have lamented here in the past regarding the stress this brings to my life, finding myself drawn into various bracket pools with the outcome inevitably being my losing money.

I will put on my happy face and go along with anyone who says I should chalk it up to entertainment, but I live with the sting of my inability to choose teams that will advance.

This year, having won 50 dollars in my family’s Super Bowl squares competition, I guess one could say I’m playing with house money. (One could also say I way overthink this stuff.)

Spring is especially significant in our family this year with the baby of our family, now 29 years old, marrying the girl of his dreams April 2nd in Birmingham. This is the third time my wife and I get to be part of such a blessed occasion for one of our children, and the second time as parents of the groom.

When our first son married nearly 11 years ago, someone told my wife her responsibilities as mother of the male part of the wedding couple were to wear beige and keep her mouth shut.

She good-naturedly allowed as to how neither of those would come natural to her, having more of a leaning toward bright colors and speaking her mind. Some middle ground was found, however, and that’s where she has resided this time around, enjoying her part of the planning but graciously deferring to the bride’s mother for most of it.

In all seriousness, we’re so thankful and happy for our younger son that we’ll do whatever is asked of us, including hosting the rehearsal dinner. Speaking of that event, my wife asked if I intend to buy new clothes for it, to which I told her we should not let things get out of hand.

If you have dropped by this space for any length of time, you also know this spring season brings sadness for me, as it is missing a major important component -- Opening Day of Major League Baseball.

Months ago, the owners “locked out” the players due to the failure to reach an agreement on terms of a collective bargaining agreement. I gave it little thought when I first learned of it since there would be plenty of time to work it out.

But the joke was one me. As I write this, there is no agreement. While I believe one will be reached, Opening Day is officially canceled.

I know it’s a business and I know there is more to it than I, in my feeble mind, understand.

But I do know it’s all about money, about billionaire team owners who think they deserve more of it, and players who, in their rookie seasons when they are in their early 20s, make a larger annual salary than the vast majority of the populace has ever made.

One of the writers in a daily sports newsletter to which I subscribe, after making his own comments on the woes of baseball and this year’s delays due to failed negotiations, asked readers to weigh in.

Although my contribution was not posted, one of my fellow readers said it better than I could have:

“Will I miss baseball? Absolutely, I miss it already. Will I tune back in to add even more bank to an organization that could already purchase a small country? Not for a good, long while.”

This reader plans to focus elsewhere, perhaps a minor league park or a local kids’ league.

My two sons, son-in-law and I have a tradition of making a trip to an MLB park each summer. It’s a costly expenditure that I have always considered money well spent.

This year we might do better to dust off our fishing poles.

Still... happy spring, everyone!

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected]

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather.