My Hometown

My Hometown

Baseball Fever

When I received the news that my childhood neighbor Mrs. Ruth had passed away, I was out of town on business and wouldn’t make it back in time to attend her funeral.

I had to send something though to share my condolences, but what do you send to a person that you only saw when she had curlers in her hair, was wielding a cast iron frying pan or rolling pin, and spent most of your life yelling at you.

As I flipped through page after page of flowers and elaborate pieces, the perfect one finally leapt out at me; A bouquet of blue and red flowers with a Chicago Cubs logo in front.

Though there weren’t fences around our yards where I grew up, Mrs. Ruth had a 6-foot-long, 3-foot-high brick wall on the dividing line between our house and hers. On the top of the wall was a row of dirt where she would plant her flowers every spring.

But to my three best friends (Jimmy, Bobby, and Goo) and I, that was no ordinary brick wall come the summertime.

That wall was covered in the greenest ivy, it sprawled across the massive outfield of Wrigley Field, and was the difference maker in winning or losing the big game.

I can still hear Jimmy doing his best Harry Carey imitation as he stood at the plate awaiting the pitch; “Bottom of the 9th and the Cubbies are down by one.”

Goo, Jimmy’s teammate, stands at second base after hitting a double and is razzing me as I stood at the pitcher’s mound.

“Here’s the wind and the pitch!” – CRACK!!!

I watched the ball as it sailed deep; Bobby making a mad dash for it in an attempt to make a spectacular catch and save our big win.

With his eye focused on the ball, he never even saw the brick wall coming.

BOOM! He smacked into the wall with the lower half of his body, doubling over before he fell across the top of it and crushed Mrs. Ruth's flowers in the process.

Jimmy and Goo’s home plate celebration was cut short when Mrs, Ruth’s backdoor sprung open.

We scattered – Quickly! All of us running in 4 different directions, only looking back to catch glimpses of Mrs. Ruth (curlers in her hair) strolling across her backyard and taking another one of our ball’s for her collection.

“You boys are making a White Sox fan of me,” she yelled as she walked back inside of her house.

 

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