With a tee time waiting and time for only one more post today, this writer should commit to writing another scintillating story or analysis of baseball. Yes, that was typed with a bit of tongue and cheek. And while in the grand scheme of things, writing another post that would boost readership would be the best thing to do with the time left to write, this Fan isn't going to do it. Because something even more important happens today. The Fan has a son and that son turns 32 today. 32? How does that happen?
The boy who is no longer a boy now lives in Florida. While that's hard to be so far apart, the Fan is happy about that fact. The economy in northern Maine is so bad...the state of things so depressing with no industry, slipping population and the lack of any real momentum. At least in Florida, he has a chance. Florida is depressed too. But will bounce back far quicker than it ever will up here. And a boy who isn't a boy anymore has talent. He's smarter than his old man. The Fan remembers how the boy could look at the Fan's computer screen and in one glance see all the information written there. He's a spacial learner. He picks up everything in the atmosphere and somehow makes sense of it. He needs a place where he can grow. The soil may be good in northern Maine, but nothing is growing here.
A day like today brings back such a flood of memories. When the boy was little, his dad worked the graveyard shift. That left the days to choose to sleep early or late. And so, this Fan had a lot of time to do fun things with the boy. We would do the grocery shopping. Trying to keep the boys hands in the cart and not grab everything from the shelves would be a problem, but we would get through it and after, we'd go to Friendly's to get lunch. Friendly's had a waitress named Lisa. She was a pretty little thing and worked there for a long time. Truth be told, both father and son had a crush on Lisa. And she knew exactly what the boy wanted to eat and after would make the boy a special sundae with a smile made of Reese's Pieces.
The Fan bowled in a Tuesday morning league and the bowling alley offered nursery services. On the way to the site, one had to drive this huge cloverleaf to get to the highway. Both father and son would sing-song, "Around and around and around and around and around," until we got to the entrance of the highway. Each "around" would get faster until the final turn led to the straight part and then father and son would yell, "Goooooooo!" One of the fondest memories of those days were how special the nursery attendants treated the young boy. They loved him to death.
We lived in an apartment and at the back of the building was a vacant field that led to the back of a country store on the main road. The boy would be on his father's shoulders and go to that store to get a treat. Or there were times when father and son could go to Milton Lake and spend a leisurely few hours in the sun and in the water.
The boy grew to love his father's passion of baseball. He was a far better ballplayer than his dad. And he could fly. What speed! Actually, the boy had no choice as the ballgame was always on the television. One incident in little league still makes the old man smile. The boy had a knack for not knowing when to keep his mouth shut. When the father hit his shin on the table and lose his temper, the boy would chime in that the father was acting like an idiot. Of course, that took the anger's focus off the table and onto the boy. He was sort of dumb that way. Well, this was perfectly illustrated in a little league game. The coach of the team was coaching the bases and he didn't have an assistant. And so the boys from the team would all start to act up in the dugout. The coach would finally yell over, "You kids settle down over there and sit down!" The boy chimed up, "I'm not doing anything." Why he felt the need to say that is still beyond the father. The coach was upset at eleven boys to begin with and now his gaze was only on one boy. That's the father's boy all right.
The boy didn't have fun in school. Schools can't handle spacial learners. All the boy had to do was see, hear or feel the information and he got it the first time. He couldn't handle the teacher having to go through the information fourteen times to make sure all the kids got it. The boy would get so bored he'd start snapping his pencils in half. Another teacher made the mistake of telling the boy that homework was a way for teachers to know if the students were learning. The boy thought that was stupid because he knew he already learned it. The boy never took a test where he didn't get 100. But he always got C's and D's because of the homework. Plus, the boy had a penchant for getting noticed as explained earlier. Seventh grade was the worst. The father believes he knew the principal's wardrobe better than the principal's wife did.
The strongest memory for the father is that day 32 years ago. The father had spent many uncomfortable days sitting in Lamaze class with the boy's pregnant mother. The thing noted by the expectant father is that none of the men wanted to be there. In fact, the only other time the father had seen those same faces on men was when they were seen coming out of the Triple X section of the video store. But months of those darn classes were put into practice for the big day and the father did his best to be a supporting partner.
So the big day arrived 32 years ago and the father was called at his job in the tannery and told to meet the boy's mother at the hospital. Once the father arrived, he discovered with irritation that the mom-to-be had brought her mother, who insisted on going into the birthing room. Once events started to occur, the mom-to-be wanted nothing to do with the father who had gone to all those silly classes with her. The mom took over. Which is probably just as well.
Why? Because nothing prepares one for his first experience at an actual birth. All such events shown on television were sterile events with a woman screaming, but everything else being clean and pristine. An actual birth is a horrible event. The blood and the gore is similar to something you'd see on CSI. It's awful. The father had all he could do not to fall helplessly to the floor. Especially since the father was only 22 years old at the time.
But then the boy was born and that changed everything. All the newborns the father had seen were wrinkly and somehow flawed. The babies would eventually get cute after their faces filled in a little bit. But not this boy. He was perfect with perfect skin. He was angelic in appearance. The father took him in his arms and it was one of the happiest moments of his life. It was love at first sight.
That seems so long ago now. It was a long time ago. But the memory is still bright and so is the son's future. He's a fine boy with a good heart. It hasn't been easy, but he turned out just fine. There was always so much love there and for some reason, the boy still looks up to his father. That hasn't always been deserved. But it's always been a blessing.
The father loves that boy. Deeply and emotionally. He's a blessing beyond the mere words of a blog post. Happy birthday, Bill. See you soon.