The Boys (and Woman) of Summer

This month’s Guys Who Read book club meeting was to discuss Roger Kahn’s 1973 tome, The Boys of Summer, subtitled “The classic narrative of growing up within shouting distance of Ebbets Field, covering the Jackie Robinson Dodgers, and what’s happened to everybody since.”

So yeah, it’s a long book and I skipped big parts of it but it’s very interesting for this non-sports-fan and was absolutely loved by the baseball fans in the group. And it was one of those book that has so much in it, sports, history, race, sociology, writing, and more that we pretty much discussed the book the whole time.

The meeting was held at Joe’s house. Joe picked the book and had us out on his back deck with grilled hotdogs, Brooklyn beer, and Cracker Jack.

And there was a female guy who read the book and joined us! She said she’d gone into the Little Shop and thought to herself that joining a book club might be fun, so got the flyer with the list of all the clubs and what they were reading. She likes baseball so picked up our book bu then noticed the name of the group was GUYS Who Read. Well, it can’t hurt to ask, she said to herself and contacted our fearless leader who fearlessly invited her to come to the meeting. She was great and says she plans on returning.

One of the most fascinating tales from the meeting came from Tony, now a physician but in the mid 80s a kid in need of a summer job in Baltimore who became one of those vendors who carry bunch of beer, shouting out their lungs and running up and down the staduim steps. There is a lot going on in that job and he could write a nice long narrative piece about the ins and outs of what he experinced. Did you know they have (or at least had) to buy thier own product and would take a loss on what they didn’t sell? That there was a strictly enforced hierarchy with sangria sellers on the bottom where everyone has to start (“Fuck you, sangria man! I want a beer!”) with peanut sellers on top and hot dogs being the hardest to deal with? It’s crazy stuff.

Next month is Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires and our yearly mega cookout. There’s rumors of a whole lamb this time. Mmmmm…