Thursday, July 24, 2008


Gwen and Dick and I had breakfast from the Knights of Columbus after the ecumenical church service on Sunday. The KC were staffing the same stand the Chamber of Commerce had used on Friday selling barbecue pork and beef, and which the Pork Producers would use to sell pork loin sandwiches at suppertime on Sunday. Big pancakes from the KC, and sausages. There was butter and syrup on a table near where we picked up our food.

After we'd eaten, Dick and Gwen went home. I stayed to wander the buildings on the grounds. The depot museum was open, the tractor museum, and another museum building. You know there is something holy about the relics of the ancestors, the things they handled, used, wore out, and I gave them proper attention.

I had to get something cold to drink, too, a couple of times, because it was starting to get hot out. Before it was all done, I would hear someone say it was the hottest day they'd had all year.

I found some shade and a seat in the grandstand at Anderson Field and watched a couple innings of baseball, the West Point Bombers against the Scribner Hogs. The Hogs were visitors and batted first. The Hogs' catcher batted second in the line-up, and foul-tipped a pitch that struck him in the head and put him on the ground. He tried to get up and went down again. Someone in a Bombers' uniform came out of the dug-out on the home team's side of the field; you suppose he'd been trained as an EMT, at least. He told the fellow on the ground to stay down. Then to sit up. And then together they walked to the Hogs' dug-out. The crowd applauded. The Bomber in the Hogs' dug-out tested the catcher's ability to track fingers moved up and down and left to right in front of his face.

Soon enough the catcher put on his batting helmet and returned to the batter's box to take a called third strike at the edge of the plate for the second out.

When the top of the inning was over, the catcher was in full gear behind the plate, warming up the Hogs' pitcher, 1, 2, 3. Then his nose was bleeding, the catcher's, and it wouldn't stop. He headed for the dug-out again, as a nurse practitioner came down out of the stands to examine him. She was feeling the bones of his face and the sides of his head and examined his eyes and nose.

I didn't hear any decision being announced outloud, but a decision had been made. The catcher was taking off his gear. A fellow came in from the outfield to strap on chest protector and shin guards. A fellow off the bench went into the outfield. The fellow with the nosebleed had his head tilted back, an ice pack to the side of his nose. The new catcher took a couple of pitches, then threw to second base. The umpire said, "Play ball!"

I watched two innings of scoreless ball. Both teams stranded runners, so it wasn't as if nobody could hit the pitching. The nosebleed keep his head tilted back. The day kept heating up.

The day kept heating up, and I decided to head back to the Lindberg's house, about a twelve-block walk. I walked slowly and stayed in the shade where I could, and rejoiced at the air-conditioning when I entered the house.

To be continued....

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