From a Distance

One of the great joys of recent years is Nate’s ability and willingness to talk about his past. When his past was his present, he was incapable of expressing his feelings or delivering any semblance of understanding of what was happening.

I was sitting reading Chuck Klosterman (that’s all I’ve been doing lately) and Nate shuffled by.

“I wish I had a time machine,” he said.

Most would agree, but for weighty reasons – make a pile of dough, correct a wrong, take back something they regretted saying, stopping the VMA Awards – but Nate was very specific.

“When Robbie took the TV remote, instead of blurting my name ‘Naaaate!’ I would say, ‘Hey, stupid, give me the remote!’ Granted, that is correcting a wrong. Nate looks back and sees that, rather than yell some nonsense, he should have been explicit in his request. This is important.

Nate’s show at The Smithy, still running, has been very successful. He got two commission works; one, by a woman Karen met who relocated from SoCal to Otsego County, for a mall in Newport Beach, CA.  This woman has a background in special ed and, at the opening of the show, sat with Nate and talked to him at length. People with special ed experience always know how to persevere in the effort to make contact. Nate told her how his grandparents lived near Newport Beach malls and seemed willing to create a special piece. Here it is:

Fashion Square, Newport Beach, CA

Nate told me about this scene. He recalls going to the Barnes and Noble at the Fashion Square Mall and, look see, there we are at the door. That we’re in it, and others are too, walking, shopping, drinking lattes, is an amazing bit of awareness of people. The place is still a compressed amalgam – the bookstore is adjacent to Hardee’s, which is in the food court, and the Sears is from another mall altogether. It’s a terrific piece. Plus, there are palm trees, so you know it’s California.

It’s one thing to have Nate tell us about his past; it’s another to see a drawing of it. I’d call that a pretty picture.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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