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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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baseball

“Hoppy” or Not

I’ve never been a big fan of beer and the “hoppier” it is, the less I like it. Currently in western New York state craft breweries are appearing everywhere. They make beer with fruit, nuts, spices, coffee and chocolate. I haven’t developed a taste for those types of beer either. If I’m going to drink it, I want it to taste like a good old fashioned Bud. Quite honestly I couldn’t tell you the difference between an ale, a lager or an IPA. Continue reading ““Hoppy” or Not”

Popcorn!

Popcorn started becoming popular in the United States in the middle 1800s. It wasn’t until Charles Cretors, a candy-store owner, developed a machine for popping corn with steam that the tasty treat became more abundantly poppable. By 1900 he had horse-drawn popcorn wagons going through the streets of Chicago.

About the same time, Louise Ruckheim added peanuts and molasses to popcorn to bring Cracker Jack to the world.  The national anthem of baseball was born in 1908 when Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer wrote Take Me out to the Ballgame. From that point onward, popcorn, specifically Cracker Jack, became forever married to the game.

I included the above from the National Day of Calendar because I didn’t know popcorn had such a history or how long Cracker Jacks have been popular. I can’t imagine popcorn being sold out of horse-drawn wagons. I mean I can see it, but it seems the popcorn would be stale. Perhaps I am wrong.

I love popcorn. Whenever my husband isn’t home for supper, that is what I usually have. I watch a movie I know he wouldn’t care for, and eat a big bowl of popcorn. It makes the evening all my own. The cat even has to have a piece to lick the salt off of.

Years back my son had a yellow lab and a French Mastiff. He and his girl would babysit for two Bull Mastiffs. When there was a bowl of popcorn made, the dogs would sit in a line, like dutiful students, and wait their turn for one piece of popcorn as it was thrown to them. The dogs were as big as his girlfriend, so it was comical to see them be so well-behaved and patient. We all wanted a turn at being the thrower.

A string of popcorn used to be an adornment for our Christmas tree when I was little. When we took all the other decorations off, the popcorn stayed. We would then stand the tree up in the back yard and the birds would eat the popcorn. They never seemed to mind if it was stale.

Double Bubble and Baseball

Today is National Mulled Cider Day.  I had intended to write about that yummy, refreshing cider that you simmer on the stove with orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and any other spice of your choice to fill the house with scents of fall and then enjoy the hot spicy flavor as it trickles down your throat, maybe accompanied by a fried cake doughnut, but Chewing Gum has much more interesting facts.

When I was a kid we had to choose between Double Bubble or Bazooka if we wanted a chewing gum to make big bubbles with.  I have a lot of hot air,  I was good at big bubbles.  Used to drive my mother nuts.  “If you are going to chew gum, KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED!” I’ve become her, there is nothing more irritating to me than someone chewing gum with their mouth open and cracking it with every chew.  If I owned a retail store or a sports team, my employees would not be allowed to chew gum while on camera or while taking care of a customer.  In the dugout, or on the bench would be allowable.  According to the following facts, chewing gum is a stress reliever.  I’ll accept that, my rules would stay the same.

Various forms of chewing gum have existed since the Neolithic period. In 2007, a British archeology student discovered a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum which was made from bark tar with tooth imprints in it. Presumed to be the oldest piece of chewing gum, it was found in Kierikki, Yli-li, Finland.  Made from bark tar, the gum was believed to have antiseptic properties and other medicinal advantages.

  • Many other cultures chewed gum made from the resin of the mastic tree, from plants, grasses, and other resins.
  • In 1848, John B. Curtis developed and sold the first commercial chewing gum which was called “The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”.
  • Around 1850, a gum made from paraffin wax was developed and surpassed the spruce gum in popularity.
  • December 28, 1869, William Semple filed an early patent on chewing gum, patent number 98,304.
  • Studies show chewing gum helps improve memory, reduce stress and increase alertness.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum improves overall oral hygiene while also helping to curb cravings and improving digestion.

Do you know if you ever get lost in the woods and are thirsty or need to freshen your mouth you can take a wad of pine pitch off a pine tree and chew it.  If you happen to swallow it, it will pass through like other things do.  The myth that gum stays in your intestines is not true.  Have a colonoscopy and you can verify that.

Back to baseball.  There are less than five games left of the regular season, then the playoffs, and finally the World Series.  If you notice when they show the dugouts, where the teams sit for you non sports people, there are plastic buckets of  Bubble Yum.  The players seem to always be chewing on something.  I have even seen them popping a big bubble all over their face and trying to get the gum off before their next at-bat.  Keep in mind, they are mostly between the age of 20 and 40. (How they chew those sunflower seeds and spit the shells, I haven’t mastered.)

I should also mention Black Jack, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, Dentyne, Big Red and Teaberry gum.  You have to be my age to remember some of those.  They weren’t good for blowing bubbles, and they lost their “flavor on the bedpost overnight”.

Afterthought….my husband’s favorite baseball team clinched their division.  He’s now rooting for best record.  Then we’ll move on to football coaches chewing their cud!

 

 

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