At the funeral and wake for my Dad, I met some of his high school friends. I knew them by name, but some I had not met - even though we lived in the same town all along. Their life paths had diverged. And yet when we met, and they began to recount the glory days and tales of youth, my Dad and his athletic feats were still in their memories. These childhood friends remembered winning hits on the baseball field, phenomenal plays that stood the test of time - and had no holds barred on the extravagance of their glory. Right up Dad's alley, for sure. A little embellishment never hurt any story.
All of his life Dad was a typical sports fan. We were raised on the gospel of March madness, summer baseball and fall football. As a family we spent many a day and evening at the ball field, watching my little brother play year round sports, me kick a soccer ball, and my Dad coach some teams. And though I never really thought of it in the years since, those days have come creeping back to my memory.
For now, only now, we have our own little athlete. And most days I do not think of my Dad, or anything of importance while we are doing our own family thing at the fields. But some days, days of consequence, I wish his were the ears I could whisper to. Days like last Saturday:
Dad, you would not believe it. Cole got two home runs Saturday! First game of the summer season - it was a sight to see!
And I whoop and I cheer and I wish for a moment that things were different and life was as it should be. I watch the grandpas in their chairs, lined up along the field, and I am wistful for a minute. Because some days the ears I need are just not there.
The champ, worn out from playing in the GA heat
But we saw it, his crew of hoodlum-sounding siblings and parents hooted, and in the end, I'm sure every ear heard. Ears were ringing, that much I know. And it was all good.