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Thursday, March 28, 2019

My Dad

It is fitting that opening day of the baseball season falls on my dad's birthday. He would have been 101 today. He was born just before the last season of triumph for 86 years for the hated Red Sox. Thank you "No No Nanette." Long live the "Curse of the Bambino."

My dad loved sports, was an All-American fencer, a wonderful golfer, a natural athlete, excelling at every game he played, from ping pong, where he spent many an evening teaching me the meaning of having to earn victory, to basketball, shooting at a rim set far too high above our garage door. But, it was in our mutual love for baseball that the bonds between myself and my dad were forever deeply cemented.

From my earliest memories I was drawn to this game. It was the mid 1950's and baseball ruled the landscape. Decades before the internet and a million distractions, even before television sets were ubiquitous, spring ushered in melting snow and the great American pastime.

Football was still attempting to make its mark, the overtime championship game of 1958 and Alan Ameche shepherding its entry into our consciousness, the NBA maybe less of a draw than the Harlem Globetrotters. Baseball was everything, the Yankees were dominant and Mickey Mantle was, well Mickey Mantle. My first hero. Actually my second. After my dad.

40 years after my dad's passing, as I near my 67th birthday, it is hard for me to fathom how much I still miss him. Even as I write this, I have a hard time holding back tears.

My dad was my first and forever best friend. I was, like him, a natural athlete with a deep love of sport. It was a perfect fit for the two of us, enjoying hour after hour of shared skills and passions. It was, and it remains, my definition of pure joy.

More than six decades after our first catch, more than six decades after our first entry into the House that Ruth built (thanks again to No No Nanette), more than six decades after we walked hand in hand and heart in heart into gloves and bats and balls and strikes, I remember with a smile and a small ache everything good and wonderful about my dad.

Today, I celebrate another Opening Day. And the memory of my dad, on his birthday.

I wish for just one more catch with him.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a tribute!

Lois

Anonymous said...

A nice tribute to your Dad!

SK

Anonymous said...

Love this tribute. You passed the love of Baseball to you kids. Your granddaughter will be at a game before you know it.
JMK

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful and I get it, big time....
😢😌

EA

Anonymous said...

So I too got emotional reading about the loving connection you had with your dad.
A beautifully written tribute to the memory of your father.

JE

Anonymous said...

He was an amazing man. I can remember him clearly.
Thanks for reminding us all about him.
Marcia

Anonymous said...

Ilove this tribute to your father. It makes me ache with sadness for you, me and our dads.

NL

Anonymous said...

So moving. Makes all of us want to cherish those things that will one day be a memory.--RE

Unknown said...

May all the good memoories continue...that's what brings your dad to life again..we loved reading it.what a tribute!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your dad, and to baseball itself!

162-0? (And then sweep the playoff rounds.) A guy can dream, can't he?

TF

Anonymous said...

This is one of your best.

BL