September 25, 1987 was not a great day for the Orioles. Playing out the string on their worst season since 1955 (at least until the following year!), they were pummeled at home by the Yankees, 8-4. It was the 90th loss of the year for the O's, with a young Jose Mesa getting throttled for six runs on three hits and five walks in less than two innings. Don Mattingly's grand slam was the catalyst, and rookie lefty Al Leiter earned the win with ten strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings (along with four runs on eight hits and five walks of his own). One of the few bright spots for Baltimore was the performance of Rene Gonzales, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple and a pair of runs scored.
And yet, that day wasn't all that bad in the big picture. Rob Reiner's film The Princess Bride was released in theaters, and although it wasn't a box office success, it's become a beloved classic in subsequent years. It happens to be my wife Janet's favorite movie, and it's near the top of my list as well. In that spirit, five years ago today I bought an ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins and had the phrase "As You Wish" written on top in icing. I brought it home and put it on ice in a cooler in the tiny back yard of my rowhouse, along with a 750 mL bottle of Dogfish Head's Positive Contact beer. That evening, I set up a couple of camp chairs and our fire pit, and surprised Janet with a cozy bonfire when she came back from babysitting a friend's daughter (a diversion that I had conveniently helped arrange). She was thrilled enough with the fire, but the emerald claddagh engagement ring that I pulled from my pocket seemed to go over pretty well, too.
I'm still pretty pleased that everything went according to plan that night. (In hindsight, my proposal has also given us an excellent excuse to indulge in ice cream cake and craft beer every year at this time.) Even though the ensuing years have brought their share of stresses, fears, and chaos, the scales are still tipped significantly by loads of laughter, joy, and adventure. Happy May Day, everyone.