Thanks to Dick Schwartz and his childhood remembrance of a glove story (“The legend of the baseball glove,” Opinion Exchange, July 22). It stirred memories for me, as I’m sure it did for countless other men of similar age for whom a baseball glove holds a special place in their hearts. My story is about a special glove I owned, not the fabled Wilson A2000 of Schwartz’s youth, but a pricey Rawlings Gold Glove Heart of the Hide I purchased when I turned 50, an extravagant middle-age gift to myself for getting off the couch and volunteering to serve as coach for a youth baseball team that included my son. I loved that glove and with it rediscovered the special affection that only comes to fathers playing catch with their sons. I babied it, oiling it and preserving its deep pocket by storing a baseball there when I took it off. I still have the glove. I told my wife I wish to be buried with it on my hand someday.
After a game one night I came home thinking I had placed the glove in my son’s bat bag. I was grief-stricken to discover it wasn’t there and went back to the ball field with a flashlight to search for it in the dark for an hour. But I couldn’t find it. I got no sleep that night. With a child’s desperation I returned to the field in the morning, where I encountered a groundskeeper who told me he had found my glove and was holding it in his shop. I was elated to tears waiting for him to fetch it. When he handed it to me, he uttered the words every kid has heard:
“Don’t do this again or I’ll have to tell your dad.”
Ted Field, Mahtomedi
Legislators failed my clients
In this latest round of the legislative session that never ends, the Minnesota Legislature saw fit to grant $6 million to the Minnesota Zoo but failed to secure emergency relief funding for day treatment programs serving 26,000 Minnesotans with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD).
As a clinical psychologist I have seen firsthand what a positive difference these programs can make in people’s lives. Many of my clients are dependent on these services for supported employment, socialization and the day-to-day activities of a productive life. As these programs have been forced to close due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, I have seen regression in many of my clients. These programs are imperative in keeping my clients in their homes and productively engaged in their lives. In short, their mental health depends on these programs surviving.
A true measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. I am not sure what this says about Gov. Tim Walz and members of the Legislature, who are apparently more concerned about the welfare of lemurs and goats than people with IDD. But I’m pretty sure it’s not flattering!
Karen Miller, Plymouth
• • •
No bonding bill means zero dollars for the entire University of Minnesota capital proposal, which includes a request for $200 million in Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement bonds for the partial renovation of crumbling academic infrastructure (“$1.8B bonding bill stalls in House,” July 22). The university administration projects a staggering $4.8 billion cost for restoration over the next 10 years.
In an economy ravaged by a pandemic, the Legislature will not have the revenue to rescue the university administration from its own decadeslong failure to allocate sufficient university funds for the maintenance of academic facilities. It will be necessary to make substantial reductions in the costs of administration, which consumed $1.1 billion or 28% of the total operating expenses of $3.9 billion for the university in fiscal year 2019. Now, more than ever, we need to design a different way to operate and to finance higher education.
Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville
Commit to successful vaccinations
There’s been extremely encouraging news recently about the effectiveness of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine and its potential availability in early 2021 (“Vaccine for virus shows promise,” front page, July 21). And it’s not the only contender; over 100 are in development. But as we anxiously wait, how do we know that the vaccine rollout won’t be fumbled like the early response to COVID was? This fumbling continues today: After many months, we still don’t have rapid COVID testing, nor do we have a dependable supply of personal protective equipment.
Operation Warp Speed’s charge is to accelerate the development and rollout of a COVID vaccine for the United States. But problems have arisen already: The special glass used to manufacture vaccine vials is in short supply and adequate PPE continues to be lacking.
But hovering ominously over the whole enterprise is the fear that the vaccine rollout could be politicized. Equally disturbing is the fact that according to a May CNN poll, one-third of individuals questioned said they would not get vaccinated, threatening our only real passport out of the COVID nightmare, herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he has a program to address this “that’s going to be extensive in reaching out to the community.” Sounds smart, but expensive and complicated ... like contact-tracing. What are its chances?
Oversight must begin now, if it hasn’t already! People with access and clout must monitor the situation for administrative missteps, as well as any “spike strips” thrown down by bad actors — wittingly or unwittingly. It would not seem in Trump’s best interest to hamper the launch of a lifesaving COVID vaccine, but he has surprised us in many incomprehensible ways before. We must not blindly trust in a smooth, fair rollout at “warp speed” but hold those in charge accountable so it won’t be delivered at “no speed”!
Coral Berge, St. Paul
It’s an easy task, comparatively
Thank you, Gov. Tim Walz, for issuing a mask mandate for the state of Minnesota! Let’s hope all Minnesotans join together in a common commitment to protect each other from contracting COVID-19. This is not a difficult challenge — not even close to the sacrifice my grandparents made during World War II in sending their three sons off to fight fascism in Europe. If they could do that, then certainly, we can do this one small thing.
Sandy Wolfe Wood, Stillwater
A good forecast does wonders
Some months ago a writer expressed disdain for overly cheery weather forecasters.
I remember thinking to myself, “Really? With all the turmoil in the world, what sort of curmudgeon takes issue when someone suggests a warm jacket at the bus stop or an umbrella for impending rain?”
Flash-forward to now, when the raging pandemic and social strife has left many of us with frayed nerves and anxious demeanors. I found myself kvetching at my kitchen table about all the syrupy weather metaphors that seemed to border on “preaching” coming from our own beloved Paul Douglas. (I know some of you want my head on a platter now.)
But then Douglas changed my mood entirely by quoting one of my favorite American poets, Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
You pulled me back from the dark side, Paul.
Douglas also quoted his wife (and what’s not to like in that?). “Live in the moment,” she said. Yep. I’m with you.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
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