Wednesday, July 5, 2017

keep it simple

My butt is wet and cold, I am sitting on a set of decades old bleachers that have me very carefully  considering  where I am distributing my weight. But......BUT I look past the chain link baseball fence.A group of children, including my own, are out on the field. Screaming with laughter and squealing  in anticipation. These little blinks and flashes are right by their head or on their friends back, or floating away just out of reach. I look out to the ball field and watch the kids, Watch their faces. Surprise! Excitement! Awe! Above them the town firework show has begun. We sit in our yards or on the bleachers. Some with a beer in hand and others holding a sleepy toddler. The beautiful colors and sounds are bursting over our heads right above the spot we have played all day. I hear an Uncle Kent say to his sweet niece "you are going to always remember this. Fireworks at the ball field."

I live in a very small hometown proud place. Born and bred in Bakerton PA, and I couldn't even guess the population. When I was a kid, we had a tradition. On the weekend of the 4th, we would all get together to play softball, drink beer (those of age of course), say hello to neighbors we haven't seen in awhile, grab a hot dog, and keep it simple.

A couple years ago, my brother did not want this tradition, like so many others, to fade quietly into the night. Our summer memories of running down for a hot dog, chasing home run balls, and being so exhausted at the end of the day your mama had to carry you home must go on! So he handles it. He plans it and runs the logistics. We all pitch in and a good time is had.

It rained A LOT this morning. As I stood under the canopy that had betrayed me as water streaked through my hair and ran down across my back, I wanted to go home. I tried my best to save the baked goods, the posters, the 50-50 container. But it rained and rained, But then the sun came out. Guys got brooms, turned sideways tables,the container the keg was suppose to be in, and fought the water off the field. As a team, they laughed, slipped, and slided, but the field was going to hold. We were going to have Dowey Day today.

Newcomers and Old timers, Making major league plays or just beating out that throw. Father and son covered in mud in a play break up gone right. It may look like just a baseball game, but it is a building and binding. Welcoming each other back and being reminded of simple times. Like watching lightening bugs under a color streaked sky. It may look like just a couple innings, but it is weaving connections through families who watch their little ones play together.

This year was particularly close with the tie that binds. A fellow Bakertonian has gone through a rough medical time. We did what we do. All donations and the half of the 50-50 will all go to him. We played ball with this kid, chased fireflies, and probably got in and out of many questionable scraps. Because he is and will always be one of ours. That;s what we do in this little coal town. Take care of our own. Keep it simple, God Bless those who have fought and gone before us to gift us with that right.