Take Me Back To The Ball Park



So I picked up the General a day early. At the time, I didn’t know it. She didn’t know it either. Sure, she is glad to be home, but in the resources of her mind, she was back at the ballpark last night. The team our oldest grandson plays on played their final game of the season in Brenham last night. We had anticipated and hoped the last game would have been day-before-yesterday. Unfortunately, they ran out of time (How’s that for sounding like an Aggie? I learned the response from my son.) At any rate, Monday night’s loss orchestrated the need for one more game.


Truthfully, I was a little anxious yesterday. I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. I wasn’t anxious about the game. “No”, my concern laid elsewhere. When the General announced to me that she was wearing her game shirt, I feared that a question was forthcoming.


I refuse to live with the notion that I am henpecked, but the General’s asking me questions for which she has already determined the only appropriate answer comes dangerously close to setting me up. When it comes to style, that kind of questioning is her signature series. For example: “Do you want to pull weeds in the flowerbeds?” is one of those kinds of questions. For me to respond, “Not no, but absolutely not” is one “not” too many. That answer could figuratively carry with it the potential that I would wind up with a knot on my head. If you get my drift, I’m headed to the flowerbeds, or else.


Much to my dismay, yesterday she never asked the question I feared she was on the verge of asking. She didn’t ask: “Do you want to go to the game?” As it approached game time, she asked: “Would you find the game for me?” Was she kidding? We don’t have a radio. Sure, I’d seen the suggestion from the coach that we listen to the game, but I wasn’t going to sit in the car for two hours. After all, “What was she thinking?”


I went out to the garage for something and when I came back into the house, I heard the sound of talking upstairs. What was that about? You guessed it, “The General had pulled up the game on her computer.” Okay, so I’m “old school” when it comes to radio stations, I naturally assumed you needed access to a radio to hear the game. I obviously was wrong.


Seeing the General sitting in front of her computer listening to the game gave me a flashback to one of my favorite television series. Whether it fell under the auspices of a soap opera, I cannot say. It wasn’t daytime programming. It came on television in the evening. You may have even watched the series yourself.


The storyline of John-Boy Walton and his six siblings growing up in Nelson County, Virginia under the care of their parents, John and Olivia was hard to beat. Lest I not forget, there were also grandparents in the equation. There was a scene in many of the series where the family was gathered around a radio listening to news of World War II. Seeing the General sitting in front of her computer waiting intently for the game to start reminded me of that.


My daughter-in-law’s family comes about as close to the Walton’s as you can get. They live is a semi-rural setting, maintain close extended family ties and I can assure you that every family member from miles around was at the game in Brenham last night. Every other player on the Sealy All Star team was cousins or distant cousins. Honestly, they all have baseball in their DNA. In addition, they are a close knit large extended family group.


Consequently, my grandchildren are fortunate to have that kind of multi-family support. It always plays out well for children on their journey to adulthood if they are surrounded by extended family that support and encourage one another. Consequently, I have to give my daughter-in-law an A+ in that regard. I’m glad my grandchildren have cousins close at hand that they can play with and share time.


I have a friend that is a new first-time dad. He recently posted a blog identifying parenting advice his brothers thoughtfully provided him. Unknowingly, his wife had invited his siblings to pull together their parenting suggestions in writing and she then included them in a bound book to celebrate the beginning of his venture into fatherhood. Honestly, that is a pretty neat idea. She also invited his dad to submit suggestions as well.


I was intrigued by the similarities in the concepts his brothers underscored as a priority. I guess you could say, like father/like son since both he and they benefitted from the influence and direction of the same father. As you might suspect, some of the suggestions were both humorous. They were all thought provoking and carried an undeniable kernel of truth. Universally their suggestions were all wrapped in the blanket of Godly and loving nurture that provides an environment in which children flourish. Of course, I suspect the book of thoughtful advice will be a lifelong keepsake for my friend.


I smiled when I saw one of the suggestions provided him by his twin brother. He wrote: “Your kids are forming you as much as you are forming them.  Let them.  Even at their worst – and trust me that’ll come – they are asking you to become more loving, more patient, and more kind than you are or think you can be.  If marriage is a chisel that starts to chip away at the crust of our selfishness, kids are the wrecking ball”.


One of the suggestions made by another brother was beyond my understanding. I actually am clueless as to its meaning. How about you? Do you know the meaning of: “Try not to get biffed in the jimmies?”


Anyway you want to describe it; there is no replacement for close supportive familial interaction. It provides for children what they need to flourish.


All My Best!