I have been walking this dirt road for hours, and gotten lost in days thought long since past – it’s amazing how hard-edged some regrets remain decades after you think the truth is finally accepted. Lost in thoughts, in the colors of distant landscapes, a crunchy noise beneath my feet brings my attention back to the road, back to the present. Wire rimmed spectacles, mud-stained and bent, one lens shattered, glint in a narrow sliver of sunlight. Wire-rimmed spectacles? How old must these relics be? Aren’t they lovely? I chastise myself for speaking out loud to an audience of dirt, gravel, and stooping old pin oaks, then kneel on the ground to pry my mysterious find from the damp, trampled earth. As soon as I touch the rim, I catch sight of an image … a middle-aged man, round faced and smirking from the yellowed confines of a two hundred year old portrait. The image, the emotional reaction that surges through my veins causes me to snatch my hand away! Though I dimly recognize the face, I know for certain that was not my memory. Curiosity gets the upper hand… I cannot refuse the urge to reach out again. The image returns, along with a rum-soaked voice: MAKE YOURSELF A SHEEP AND THE WOLVES WILL EAT YOU.
A MOST UNUSUAL TOOL
A MOST NECESSARY TOOL
The stadium scents, sounds, and sights should be considered official natural wonders, a buffet of cheerfulness. I never want to leave. Only minutes into walking the concourse I am intoxicated, grinning from ear to ear, and sure that I will be able to close my eyes weeks from now and revel in the smell of sizzling hot dogs and frothy beers. My skin will remain warm from the deep green of that grass field basking in the sun, and my ears will continue to ring from the glorious music of children applauding their favorite pros, uniformed and intense, basking in the sun. I take my seat, jump with excitement seconds later when the home team’s first bat thwacks the ball! History is made in that second – my history. My first live baseball game. This place should be a cathedral—it is a cathedral filled with strong-jawed gorgeous specimens of the male form. Athletes. They are magnificent. Second batter up, pitcher takes his stance, fourteen thousand fans hold their breaths, the ball sails toward home plate at ninety-nine miles per hour. I scoot to the edge of my seat, waiting for that sound that will bring me to my feet cheering – that healthy, all American THWACK! But, no. The baseball dips dangerously low and … chink.
Fourteen thousand fans groan in unison.