A Dad story
I got a little teary the other day when I was moving my files over to the new computer. I accidentally played an mp3 file of the University of Oklahoma marching band performing "Boomer Sooner." I found that for my dad on the internet and burned it onto a CD for him. He took an evil delight in calling up his friends who were from Arkansas or Texas and playing that into their answering machines. He'd sit there and chortle every time he thought of another person whom he could victimize in this manner.
So here's a story about my dad on this, my first father's day without him.
I started playing softball and baseball when I was just six. My father nearly never went to my games because he worked shifts as an aircraft mechanic and was exhausted most of the time. If he wasn't working, he was recovering from working (meaning, napping). My mom was always there at the games though, because she was scorekeeper.
But one time, when I was in third grade, my dad managed to come to a softball game. Now let's face it, I now know that a third grade softball game is not the last word in scintillating entertainment, so my dad got a little restless. He decided he would whittle, and sent me to go get him a good stick. Now I wasn't supposed to bat for about four or five players, but anyway, when my dad told you to do something, YOU DID IT.
So of course I went running aaaaaaalll the way across this big field to where the trees were and was looking around for a good stick-- thick enough, hardwood, not too dry, and so on. Next thing I know, I hear my name wafting on the summery breeze. It was a chorus of people, and there was a touch of panic in the tone of their shouts. I jerked my head up, and the entire field was screaming, "You're UP! Get over here!!!!!"
So I ran like a third of a mile back to the diamond. Of course, I gave my dad his stick first. My coach was muttering under his breath and rolling his eyes in disgust, but he just shoved my bat in my hand and a helmet on my head and into the batter's box I went, even though I could barely breathe, because NO ONE should run a flat third of a mile in an Oklahoma July (temperature: 100, humidity, 80%) and then try to do anything except be glad they got away from the mugger. Otherwise, don't try it.
So, of course, the first pitch comes, and I am shaking and gasping, but KaPOW! I knocked that sucker just over the head of the right fielder, and then it hit the grass and took off like butter on a hot skillet. Needless to say, more running was now required, and I scampered my way around first and second purely on adrenaline. I get to third, and the ball is being thrown in, but the coach waved me on. I beat it toward home, everyone screamed "SLIDE!" but the only voice I could hear was my dad's. "SLIDE BABY!" and I hit the dirt.
Now, of course I was safe. You knew that. Strawberry on my leg the size of Texas, but safe.
I got up and everyone was laughing. The coach came up and hugged me. "We're going to have to send you to fetch sticks more often!" It was my first home run, and my dad was here to see it.
Miss you, Dad.