We’re watching the Red Sox/Angels game right now. It’s currently the top of the 6th, we’re ahead 4-0.
It’s dark outside, we’re inside in the basement living room. There are some toys scattered around the floor. The kids went to bed about 40 minutes ago. Bill has been eating some sort of Starburst candy things (ugh).
And I’m eating saltines and slices of cheddar.
Saltines and cheddar and baseball – suddenly I have caught a whiff of freshly cut grass on a breeze across my memory…the sky is bright blue, the sun is shining, the back yard is light green dappled with dark beneath the shade of the maples.
There is a radio plugged into the outlet in the barn, and a ballgame is on. The Sox are playing somewhere. It is probably a Sunday afternoon. Mom is working in the flower beds. Dad has mowed the lawn. Now he’s relaxing in a lawn chair, drinking Schaeffer ("…the one beer to have, when you’re having more than one") from a can, or maybe it’s Schlitz. We kids have ginger ale. And there are saltines and cheddar cheese for a snack.
We probably weren’t listening to the game all that much, my sister and me, but the sound of the game is still the theme song of this summer memory. The rise and fall of the commentators as things happen or don’t happen on the field, and the accompanying crescendo and decrescendo of voices from the stands. They blend with the cars going by on Main Street, birds calling from the trees, a dog barking, kids yelling somewhere down the street. Time stretched for miles and hours in all directions.
Now it is years later. Time seems to shrink as I try to cram all I want to accomplish into the faster and faster beating of the clock. Today was a tough day for me, and I left work early with a crushing headache. I came home to take a nap and try to relax and let go of a mountain of built-up tension. The headache has gone, and this evening I am lazy, resting on the couch with pillows and a blanket. I try to stay snug in this relaxed, sleepy state and not think of anything other than the game on TV and, for the moment, this laptop and my thoughts of yesterday. The tension will try to come back, but it can wait until tomorrow.
For while it is dark outside and cozy-dark inside on this October night, as I listen to this game and bite into crispy saltine and sharp cheddar, it is a lazy summer afternoon from my childhood as well.