Posted by: Peadar Ban | May 22, 2019

An Account: of My Time With My Friend, and What We Did For Three Whole Hours

Not too long ago I began vising a young fellow, a boy really, who lives not far away. His parents are friends of my wife and I. The boy is a friend too. Can a man in his late seventies find a friend who is more than 6 decades younger? I really don’t know why he cannot. That may be odd to some, but, I can tell you things much more odd.

Yesterday I had an errand to run when I showed up at his home. I needed to stop at the office of the home town team. And so I thought we might have, what I used to call my walks with my children and grand children, An Adventure. I told his mother about my plan to begin our day together with a trip, first, to the nearby stadium, to pick up our season tickets and one or two other things. After Momma was properly informed of our destination we left to begin our latest adventure. My friend, was just fine with that. He told me that he needed two bats from them. The bats we had gotten there just a few weeks ago were beginning to show signs of wear; the kind that comes from being in close contact with a 5 year old young and very active boy.

On the way, we were careful to give wide berth to houses with large dogs inside, cautiously avoiding even stopping to look at the cars in the drive to see if any of them were Police Cars. My friend is going to be a Police Man when he grows up.

As a matter of fact, when he is not a “Baseball Teamer” (his term which I have been informed is the correct one) he is also a “Police” and has often made me a “Police” too. We did find no little number of police cars on the way; the cars being identified by their red lights fore and aft, and large wheels. In a few minutes we came to the turn in the road which led down to the fields that surround the Stadium, pausing to consider if we could fall into the large sewer through it’s iron grate, and wondering just how long it might be before being rescued. I considered suggesting we might try crawling through the sewers until we reached on leading to the river, and then escape. And he thought it would be more fun if I went home and told Momma he had fallen in, and bring her back so he could surprise her.

I did not think, I said. Maybe when he was older.

On that part of our trip, we also came to a small landscaping/construction company which had a number of construction vehicles. With the assurance of someone who knows what he sees, my friend, telling me that this was a “Police Place”, studied the various vehicles there for the sure signs of their status as Police Cars. Sure enough, they were, though we did wonder, at least I did, about the “Mini Digger” parked just in front of us at the Police Place.

I asked him about the use of such a vehicle by the police while he was investigating it from stem to stern for the tell-tale red lights that all Police cars have. Mini-Diggers are used by Police was all I learned. And, remarkably, it was all I needed to know. The way to the Stadium was now all that was left as down the road we walked, crossing the street to the city fields that surround this part of the stadium.

It isn’t as easy as one would think to cross what to older eyes seems like an empty field; to cross such a thing with a five year old boy who is a “Police” and a “Teamer”, and a five year old boy in the bargain. No, it isn’t.

We stopped three times along the way. First to look at a small building and wonder what it was. We dropped to our knees to examine the sewer in the field and entertain theories about where it came from and where it went to, and how much water it held or needed to hold for someone to drown in it. We also listened for an echo when we yelled down into it, me, too, because my voice was bigger. We concluded that it wasn’t good for echo making. I wondered, to myself, if this was in any way a kind of lesson in how science got its start a few dozen thousands of years ago.

But when I was about to ask my friend, I discovered that he was at least a hundred yards away. I called out to him asking him to wait for me. He was before the entrance to the back of the stadium; where all of the landscaping material and supplies are kept. Here was “Something New!”. It was quite the biggest digger he had ever seen I will guess. I should mention that “Digger” is, I believe, a generic term for all construction vehicles. This one was something to be used to raise workers a loong way to something very high. You tell me what it is.

I could find no place on the bulk of the machine itself, but in the “bucket” for an operator. Anyway, my friend was enraptured by it, and full of a thousand questions, all having to do with words beginning in “W”. And the big ones too, the “H” words: “How does it work” and “How fast does it go.” It was green, too, and that was a question needing to be answered. “Why?”

Doing my best, I finally convinced him I knew only so much, and the unanswered questions must remain that way; hoping I had not diminished in his eyes as a worthwhile companion. We left the Digosaurus where it rested in the shade and walked a few dozen yards to the team offices. I pleasant young lady named Katy welcomed us, and introductions accomplished…with a suddenly shy young boy…I concluded my business. Now. it was my friend’s turn. Overcoming shyness, he pleaded his case for a new supply of bats, really miniature souvenirs. Katy showed him to the supply and aked him how many he might need, and of what color. As an afterthought, he asked for a third for his young brother back home…and got it. The he whispered to me if I thought it was a good time now to ask for a batting helmet. I told him we might want to postpone that, wondering where we might put the growing pile of loot.

On the way out, we met one of the staff, a young fellow who had really been a member of the team several years ago. He and my friend spoke about baseball for about five minutes, during which I learned something I hadn’t yet known. My friend was a good pitcher. And, this earned him an invitation to throw out the first pitch. On Opening Day, yet! Here, her offered a demurer. He wanted to consult with Momma. And, of course, in a business where the concept of an agent is well established, this was understood and accepted.

We took our leave and walked up the hill, around to the front of the stadium, across the large parking lot towards a stand of exercise machines near a small tennis court. Lingering at the exercise machines next to the tennis courts we played on several of them for about ten minutes before continuing on our way. We stopped to try to understand why and how the seats outside the courts, a small stand of metal seats, were damaged. I suggested some people may have done it. This occasioned a number of “How” questions,and “Why” questions, ultimately concluding in it being something for the Police to be involved with. And,this satisfied bothof us, so that we could continue. On the way, though, we paused to wonder why on a day like this no one is playing tennis, and then, thirsty, made our way to the store for some water.

We had to pass the swimming pool to get to the store. A fellow was inside cleaning the pool. So, we stopped and watched; allowing time for a couple of dozen questions about the pool, and when it would open and the people who use it, and why the man was there, and what he was doing, and why he was doing it, and could we go inside to watch. Only the last question could I answer; and that with another question about thirsty boys. This returned us to our original quest, but not before after no more than ten paces were taken we found a three wheeled motorcycle, candy cane red, parked outside the pool; and obviously, to me at least, the property of the man inside.

It proved to be, after an inspection by my young friend, a Police Car. It was even more so a Police Car after I told him the speedometer topped out at 200mph. We closely inspected the vehicle, and where still doing so when the fellow inside the gate came out and joined us. Of course it was his car and almost the first thing the nice fellow did was ask if the young lad would like to sit in the driver’s seat. He looked at me with a question in his eyes. He seemed just a little nervous, a little skittish. I told him it would be all right to sit in the car, and he did. The fellow told him he could sit in it any time. We thanked him and walked on.

We hadn’t gone more than a few feet when, with the eyes of a young eagle, far across the field he saw his best friend, and his best friend’s grandmother and younger brother making their way across a school ball field toward the “kid’s” playground. All thought of a drink at the store we forgot and I was left in the dust as he took off to play baseball with his new bats, his best friend and the younger brother. Why not? They had among them three bats, two shovels an old man, a grandmother, one baseball hat and a brand new tennis ball. It was more than enough for a game.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that we had found the tennis ball while walking away from the tennis court toward the swimming pool. Thinking about that I am reminded about a three cushion pool shot, and wonder why. It must be because “things happen”, they just happen, when one is a certain age.. I also forgot to tell you that the pool worker promised to give the little guy a bunch of baseballs since during the season he works at the stadium nearby, and has several buckets full of brand new balls waiting for new owners. It was growing into a treasure filled day, one that I would have envied was I decades younger.

Anyway, the Big Game among the three youngsters did not last long. So many things draw away the attention. Finally my young friend was the only one left playing ball, and after three home runs we left. He rally did circuit the field, a standard one, stopping to stamp on each base with authority, as he did. Of course, his “homers” were in every instance tiny shots in random directions. But he connected, and once connected ….

The game ended after the third homer. The other two fellows one four and the other two were focusing on something out by second base, and we were thirsty again. So we walked to a nearby store for a bottle of water. On the way her got tired and asked me to carry him. So, I did for about two dozen yards. I learned rather quickly that children have grown quite a bit more heavy than they were when mine were his age and I was a half century younger. Putting him down, I answered several question about why and was tempted to tell him that police did not get carried by their partners, but thought snark wasn’t the way to deal with it. I told him the truth. It worked.

As we drew near the crossing, he took my hand, and like good friends we crossed the street got our water and walked home. I was pretty tired too.

But, we played one last game of baseball. I pitched the tennis ball and he was any number of batters, walking to the “dugout” and returning to the plate each time a new batter was needed. After I had struck him out three times…in a row…I told him I was up And, the funniest time of the afternoon took place then and there. He told me that each of the players on his team were allowed 963 strikes.

It was getting late, and I answered that I had to go home. We would have to postpone the game until next time. Anyway,I told him he had won. That satisfied my friend. Satisfied friends are the best. Don’t you think?


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