Summer Baseball

Summer Baseball

(Sometimes we write on the wind of the days that used to be. It happened to me in the summer of 1969  when, as a young man. the muses working my corner wrote “Summer Baseball” through me the old-fashioned way, preempting my pen and paper when I was supposed to be using them to check the type-written draft of an annual report from my office in the Texas Medical Center.  “Summer Baseball” found its evocation in my constant imagery of the Pecan Park Eagles sandlot home, and especially as we played the game there in the summers of 1949 through 1952, before the climate of high school and other playing opportunities and interests scattered us all from that hallowed ground forever.)

Time was when summer meant baseball on a vacant lot,

Chasing a ragged brown horsehide as it zoomed off

A wooden bat across the white heat of the morning sky,

Only to be pursued by a blue-jeaned boy,

Who knew he would be there when the ball came down.

From the crack of the bat until the thump in his glove,

The boy knew the baseball like one knows an old friend.

They had met so often in play on the sacred neighborhood ground.

Texas leaguers, blue darters, line drive scorchers, grass skinners,

Pop flies, Sunday screamers, worm burners.

It made no difference at all to the boy.

He knew that each pursuit would end securely

In the web of his Rawlings Playmaker.

No thrill could surpass the loud crack of the bat

That signaled to the boy in the field of the far chase to come.

– It was the sure sound of the long ball.

C-R-A-C-K!!!

And the boy would race on bare, calloused feet

To some deep point on the vacant lot.

Then, somehow, as though guided by a mysterious inner radar,

The boy would turn his head and look skyward,

At the very moment his old friend was beginning to descend

From that grand ride through the summer air.

T-H-U-M-P!!!

The chase had ended in a rightful wedding of ball and glove!

Simple innocence – but it was love – and it was free.

And now the boy is a man who sits in an office,

Away from the summer heat and that joyous vacant lot of long ago.

Sometimes, even now, he peers through his sealed workplace window,

And he again feels the white heat of a mid-morning July sun,

And he wishes only for ……………….. one more chance.

One more chance to race the wind,

And to follow the flight of his old friend,

Coming down from the billowing clouds in the blue summer sky,

Coming home to the welcoming glove of a kid in love with baseball.

Come back to me, friend baseball, come home,

And never go away again. …. Ever.

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