The Pecan Park Eagle Revisited.

"To soar once more in spirit, like The Pecan Park Eagle, high above the billowing clouds of a summer morning, in flight destiny - to all that is bright and beautiful."

With most of us getting tired of the cold weather, and with some of us having to call the repair guy this morning because the heating system failed last night, this seemed like a really  good Monday morning to remember one central weather fact in our daily lives. – We live in Houston, Texas. The normal furnace of our shared lives will be back among us soon enough – as will all the wonderful things we love about spring in Houston. Thoughts of baseball, the beach, blossoming vegetation, watermelon, cold beer, and the cornflower blue skies that house the billowing white cotton candy clouds of our almost forever summers all serve to remind us that we will soon enough be out of the cold and into the heat that will surround us in ways that will seem eternal.

With the real time temperature on February 1st in Houston at 7:22 AM hovering near 39 degrees at 7:25 AM, it seems like a good morning to revisit the poem I wrote several years ago that sort of side-glances off this topic. It wrote itself through me one SUnday afternoon when my then young son and I came home from playing a little flies-and-rollers baseball at what was then an abandoned school yard near our home. The trip,  and the discovery of an old baseball cover in the weeds as we were walking home,  pulled the trigger on my personal memories and tweaked my lifelong bond with baseball. I placed the old baseball cover on the kitchen table when we got home that day. Then I sat down with pen and paper and wrote this poem inside of ten minutes.

My bond with baseball is a tie that goes all the way back to my East End Houston sandlot days. Those were days and experiences that I simply shared with a lot of other kids from my generation as we who grew and came of age in Houston during the years that immediately followed World War II. Other kids in other American towns and cities share the same heritage, thanks mainly to our fathers.

Our dads from the great generation gave us the game. Then they got out of the way and allowed us to discover everything else we needed to learn about baseball on our own. That all began to change with the advent of Little League, but those of us who were lucky enough to have known the sandlot first learned some things no adult could have taught us. We also got to bat more often and practice catching more live balls in actual game play – while also working out game play and ego disputes on our own.

What none of us understood at that time is clear today: Things would never get any better for us at the heart of life’s joy than they were back then on the summer sandlot.

One more time, here’s “The Pecan Park Eagle,” the poem that never really leaves my awareness these days. You see, finding that old baseball cover on that particular summer day in 1993, for me, carried all the power of running into a lost soul mate after decades of heartbreaking separation.

""Tattered friend, I found you again, laying flat in a field of yesterday’s hope."

The Pecan Park Eagle

Ode To An Old Baseball Cover I Found While Playing Catch with My 8 Year Old Son Neal In An Abandoned School Yard.

Tattered friend, I found you again, Laying flat in a field of yesterday’s hope. Your resting place? An abandoned schoolyard. When parents move away, the children go too.

How long have you been here, Strangling in the entanglement of your grassy grave, Bleaching your brown-ness in the summer sun, Freezing your frailness in the ice of winter?

How long, old friend, how long?

Your magical essence exploded from you long ago. God only knows when. Perhaps, it was the result of one last grand slam. One last grand slam, a solitary cherishment, Now remembered only by the doer of that distant past deed. Only the executioner long remembers the little triumphs. The rest of the world never knows, or else, soon forgets.

I recovered you today from your ancient tomb, From your place near the crunching sound of my footsteps. I pulled you from your enmeshment in the dying July grass, And I wanted to take you home with me.

Oh, would that the warm winds of spring might call us, One more time, awakening our souls in green renewal To that visceral awareness of hope and possibility.

To soar once more in spirit, like The Pecan Park Eagle, High above the billowing clouds of a summer morning, In flight destiny – to all that is bright and beautiful.

There is a special consolation in this melancholy reunion. Because you once held a larger world within you, I found a larger world in me.

Come home with me, my friend, Come home.

… Bill McCurdy, July 4, 1993.

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One Response to “The Pecan Park Eagle Revisited.”

  1. Ken Dupuy Says:

    Loved this poem. It speaks of hope and desolation.

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