The Iffiness Of Rain
There were summer months when
my life was ruled by baseball and
the iffyness of rain.
My father would drive us to a ball
field in the wilderness which was
just a pasture flat enough for us
to play on. I say wilderness
because my world at the time was
limited to distances I could ride on
my bike and these places were in the
boondocks and way off the edges of
my known ground.
These fields had no grandstands
but did have outfields rimmed
by snow fences donated by a guy
who probably made a little extra
money taking care of the town’s
roads and probably had a kid on
the town’s little league team, too.
I remember once sitting with my
father in our Buick waiting for a drizzle
to clear up. We were parked nose
in on first base side at a field I had
never seen before and to this day
have never seen again. The weather
man Don Kent had said the rain would
continue all weekend, so my mother
said she had better things to do.
We sat and listened to the Red Sox
game, but they were in a rain-delay
in Boston, too.
Boston seemed like the center of
the world to me and we were parked
in the opposite direction on the world’s
very edge. A car with a boy and
a girl who snuggled up to him on
the front seat, drove straight out over
second base, skirted the snow fence
in left field and disappeared down
a dirt road into the woods. A couple
of cars tooted, but that was it.
When the rain grew stronger, cars
began leaving piecemeal. Finally,
a man on the other side of the field
got out of his car, put a Coleman
cooler back in his trunk and waved
his ball cap at my father. Still we
waited. Only when the radio said
the Sox game at the center of the
world was cancelled, did my father
take the book of blank score cards
off the dashboard and flip it onto
the back seat.
We drove away from the field
on a dirt track with pot holes
filling up with water. How could
anyone have thought we’d get a
game in with weather like this?
When the radio station stopped
talking baseball and began playing
music, my father turned it off.
Sometimes you want words to wilt and lie flat so that something you can’t throw poetic words around can rise up.
I remember that Tuffy Phelp’s father gave me my first baseball uniform – Yankee pinstripes. I also remember being at Barnard’s with my father during town-team practice and getting hit in the head by a foul tip that came straight back as I was walking in back of home during batting practice. I also remember waving gown men away screaming I got it on a pop up to short left. I missed the ball completely and it bopped me on the forehead. They laughed.
There was no little league in the early to mid-fifties in Goffstown. By the time a Babe Ruth League was formed (thanks to my father, Ken Lowe, Larry Daniel’s father and others volunteering to coach) I was already getting to be too old. More than losing the train bridge I am saddened more by the loss of the ball field and grandstand at Barnard’s playground. But . . .