So Denton’s packed up and headed down to sunny Florida, where the palm trees sway, batshit old folks drive giant cars, and, most significantly, the magic of Spring Training occurs. Meanwhile, I’ve been here, cursing the snow and my lumbago as I shovel a seemingly neverending path down my driveway, and waving my fist furiously at every airplane passing overhead, knowing that one of them’s got to contain Denton, martini in hand, middle finger extended.

Ironically, between the two of us, it was me who experienced the first Red Sox player sighting of the weekend. Saturday morning, shuffling through the lobby of the Regal Theatre in Bellingham [the first time I’d been in there since seeing From Justin to Kelly*], I passed none other than Hall of Famer and NESN gadfly Dennis Eckersley. After the initial isthatwhoithinkitis fuzzed through my brain, I engaged the former Sox hurler in dialogue I’m proud to share here, verbatim:

Red: Hey, Dennis.

The Eck: Hey.

It was his delivery of that “Hey” — a sidelong glance punctuated by a brief pause in which I’m certain he considered having me shot — that made it particularly memorable. And it was the highlight of my weekend, which should give some insight into the life I’m living.

Anyway, the bottom line is you don’t have to travel all the way to Florida to meet the stars. Also, you never know who you’ll run into at the movies. And if my calculations are correct, I’ve got another 3,213 flicks to attend before I bump into Christina Applegate at the refreshment stand.

Stay tuned for updates and photos from Denton throughout the week. Assuming he’s sober enough to check in.

*Okay, I’ll admit. I paid to see it. And it was better than I thought it would be.