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Tuesday, June 02, 2020
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Old Baseball Leather and Good Memories

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     Friendships that endure through the years are special gifts. I am blessed to have several friends who I have remained in contact with since elementary school more than fifty years ago. Now that I am in my 70s, I appreciate these rare long-enduring friendships in a special way.
     One of my long-time friends, Bill, lives in central Michigan. He contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me that he planned to pass through Shelbyville and would like to stop and visit with me for a few hours. I told him that I would be pleased to see him. Today was the day when Bill stopped to meet me at Cracker Barrel.
     We enjoyed a nice lunch together. I had chicken pot pie, and he had an open faced roast beef sandwich. I do not recall much about the taste of the food as we focused of our time on sharing memories from our childhood and common interests pertaining to our grandchildren. We both were in full agreement that grandchildren are a special joy to us as we grow older.
     After about an hour of reminiscing and dining, Bill suggested that we adjourn to another location, like a park, if we could find one nearby. Bill had asked me to find and bring a baseball glove which I was able to do. Actually the baseball glove belonged to my son and must’ve been at least 30 years old. The old leather was stiff (like me) but I was able to soften it enough that we could toss a ball back-and-forth together at the Clear Creek Park baseball diamond. Bill had brought a glove belonging to his grandson.
     Tossing a baseball was something we often did as teenagers many years ago when we lived four doors apart in old Louisville. After we had successfully loosened up the muscles in our aging shoulders, we were able to throw the ball fairly accurately back-and-forth to each other. We concluded that the last time we had thrown a baseball together had been maybe 57 years ago. We laughed and chuckled at memories of so long ago.
     Sadly, our visit came to a close far too quickly. The pleasure of reminiscing and attempting to re-create experiences of so long ago depleted the three hours that we had to enjoy seeing each other. Bill lives close to eight hours away, so opportunities to see each other are exceptionally rare. As we said goodbye, we hugged and affirmed our friendship and wishes to see each other again in the future. At this time in life, we cannot be certain when we can see each other again. We will continue to correspond by “snail” and email while we hold on to distant shared recollections as well as newly formed memories created even today.     
     Our time together reminds me that old baseball leather, aging bodies and shared fleeting memories can still give us joy and satisfaction from an hour spent on a baseball field almost as if it were 57 years ago.
Strike that last thought!  Fifty seven years changes one’s perception of youth and the size of the baseball strike zone...and the ability of aging arms to throw a ball the ball anywhere close to it!