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I was called out of town unexpectedly.
There will be no post today or Monday.
The story will resume Friday, April 27.
This Sunday, April 15th, is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball.
All players on every team will wear the number 42 in honor of the man who broke baseball's color barrier. Mr. Robinson's dignity, hard work, generosity and talent made him a Hall of Famer not just in baseball but in life itself.
His is the only number retired throughout Major League Baseball. No player on any team is permitted to wear the number.
As I was prepping the most recent post for upload, I noticed that I was leading off with Chapter 42.
I thought ... hmmm ... it might be fun to do something similar to show my respect for a man I revere. I doubted anyone would notice. If they noticed, I doubted they would care. My battles with numbers are well documented.
Yeah, not so much.
So I've reposted the chapters with the correct numbering.
I will pay tribute to Mr. Robinson in this space. If you haven't read a biography of Jackie Robinson, you owe it to yourself to at least Google his name.
The man was not just a baseball pioneer. He was an Army officer in World War II. He was an astute businessman. He was at the forefront of the American Civil Rights Movement.
In short, Mr. Robinson was a leader in multiple fields of endeavor -- during a time when African-Americans were considered second- or third-class citizens.
Schools, public venues, hotels, restrooms and even drinking fountains were segregated.
The military unit that Lt. Robinson helped to lead was separate from white units. He was court-martialed (but acquitted by an all-white panel) for standing up against racism. Like Rosa Parks two decades later, Lt. Robinson refused to move to the back of the bus.
He was a great man before he ever graced the uniform of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The young man was the subject of physical and verbal abuse while playing baseball (from fans, from other players, from those working for the teams).
Yet he endured all the slights, the taunts, the threats and the attacks to help ensure that people of color had a chance at opportunities long denied them -- not only in the sporting world.
Jackie Robinson is a personal hero.
To quote Mr. Robinson's teammate, Pee Wee Reese: "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color isn't one of them."
So, uh, yeah, I didn't really notice where we are in the story.
It happens when you're trying to mix three naps and a 12 pack in with the 10 hours of sleep you get at night.
Anyway, there is only one chapter today because Part II is coming to a close.
With sincerest apologies to The Bangles, it is the only way I can describe my day.
Illness is running amok in the home unit and the work unit.
Thus far (knocks wood, tosses salt over shoulder and prepares sacrifice to the gods), I have stayed off the sick list (because I whine like a five-year-old when I don't feel well -- and sometimes when I feel just fine). But I have far more to do than I like.
The upshot is that I didn't Part II processed and probably won't until I'm not playing nursemaid at home and chief cook and bottle washer at the office.
So Part II of The Rise of Azkoval won't open until at least Friday.
My longtime collaborator Zom, proofreader extraordinaire and all-around man about town, has culled through the first part of The Rise of Azkoval.
As always, he's managed to fix 98 percent of my errors -- and as always, that still leaves a few in every chapter. (Zom is great -- he's not a miracle worker).
The good news is that I'm still not charging the reader for the mistakes that slipped through.
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