Sweet memories of baseball... and Dad
He has been gone for 11 years already, and I ache because the memories are sepia-toned.
There’s the photo of my dad holding an infant me on one hand, a big grin on his face.
I will always remember how he broke into a little run as we returned home from ice-skating just a couple of years later. I ran with him, so happy I floated a few inches above the snow-covered ground. A few years after that I was running long-distance in high school, with good success. I’m guessing it started with Dad, all those years ago.
He taught me how to shave, and to drive a car. He cut my hair. Came upstairs and stared down little brother Bob and I like an angry grizzly bear when we got too rowdy late at night.
He took us on vacation every year, mostly to his beloved Black Hills in South Dakota, where he cooked Spam or apple pancakes in the mornings and taught me how to swim on my back in ice-cold Sheridan Lake.
He was a flight instructor. Took us up a few times. I loved the look of total bliss on his face. Dad was in his element.
Best of all, he hit fly balls and hot grounders to Bob and I, down in the park or in a field at the campground near Spring Valley. He and Mom loved baseball.
Therefore, so did I.
Dad would hit us long flies and I would race after them, trying to make spectacular catches, showing off for the old man. I could run like the wind.
They say there’s a father-son connection in baseball. It’s true. I would give anything to have my dad back, hitting those fly balls and playing catch on easy, sweet- smelling, southeast Minnesota summer evenings.
Maybe we’ll do it again someday in a different sort of place. That would be my idea of Heaven.
I look at the old family photos, especially the photos of Dad, and I know that face so well. It’s still hard to believe he’s gone. Time went so fast. But he was ready to go.
He would have turned 99 years old on Aug. 2. If he and Mom were still around and healthy, no doubt they’d head straight back to the Black Hills.
Ahh, those two crazy kids.
Thanks, Dad, for everything, and Happy Birthday in Heaven.
Sure hope to see you again. I’ll bring my favorite old glove, the one with Lou Brock’s autograph, if you can scrounge up a bat and a baseball.
Maybe you could hit me some ies for a few thousand years. We’ll take it from there.
I love you, Dad. Miss you like crazy.
Hi to Mom. Be good if you can, old guy.