Friday, April 10, 2009

Best read with a drawl

A friend of mine from our days in Virginia called me this afternoon and just started reading me lines from this column by Ray Cox of the Roanoke Times about opening days in Baltimore and other venues: Chilly April baseball brings back memories.

We laughed, because Ray Cox is Ray Cox -- smart, observant, wry-witted and in love with the English language -- and it all comes through in what he writes. And as I said in the title, he's best read with a drawl, because then you're hearing him, too.

A sample:

"A saloon or crab joint was never too far from any inbound route. A trained nose could locate one, or both, usually in seconds, often in the same building. The suds-unlicensed places might consist of nothing more than a fat guy in an apron, a newspaper-covered table (the latest Baltimore Sun sports page had already been read) and a pile of steaming crustaceans."

And:

"One recollection that won't lapse: Looking Cal Ripken Jr., in the eye for the first time in person. All I could think was how grateful I was never to have looked into a gaze like that from across a principal's desk.

Isn't that awful? Bad conscience. I'm sorry for it, too. The gentleman doesn't deserve that."

Ray pushes the language around to right near the point of overwriting. But, having worked with Ray for several years in Roanoke, I love this stuff.