December 1, 2020

The Third Sunday in June

June 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

As a child, I didn’t know the date of Father’s Day. I knew my friend Bob couldn’t come out and play because his family celebrated with his dad. I’d walk past his house anyway, hoping he would see me. When he didn’t come out I would hang out in the tree house; or ride my bike – alone.

When I got older, each year someone would ask me if I sent a Father’s Day card to my dad. “‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ they would say as they remembered that my father died when I was in high school.

“That’s okay.” And it was. I felt no sadness over his death. I barely knew him. Nothing was lost; there was nothing to miss. Sometimes I felt sad about what could have been. Then I would say, “I think I’ll send one to my mother. She was the best father a guy could ask for.”

Sam cannot stand it any longer. He is just too anxious to give me my fathers’ day presents. I am awakened by an oversized birthday gift bag with a picture of a baseball glove on the side; it lands on my stomach. It is followed immediately by Sam, who tips the bag over, spilling all my gifts onto the bed. First I see a coffee maker, which would be put to good use very soon. The other “gifts” scattered on the bed include a breakfast bar, TV remote control, a directory of Sam’s pre-school class, and a large envelope full of information from our realtor.

I also see a collage that, I suspect, his mother helped him put together. In it are pictures she took during last baseball season. There are shots of him throwing, hitting, running, wearing the catcher’s equipment, sliding into home and, of course, drinking his hard-earned Double Cola after a game. Miraculously, none of these photos includes the chain link fence that appears in nearly all baseball pictures. The fence is what separates real baseball players who wear uniforms from the rest of the world.

In the upper left hand corner is a shot of Sam at bat and me pitching. I’m on one knee about halfway between home plate and the pitcher’s mound (that’s where the ground is softest). The ball is in mid-air. By the way Sam is focused, I’m sure he hit it way out there.

There is something else about the picture that strikes me. Sam is playing baseball and I am coaching and pitching to him. He was five years old and in his second year of tee ball, and it will never happen just like that again. But we have a picture of it and that picture is on my collage. What a great gift I received that Fathers’ Day, that third Sunday in June.

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