Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Die-Stamped

I watched from the on-deck circle as the new pitcher warmed up to face me. I swung two bats around in the warmup area showing off my muscled arms for the high school girls in the stands. I was a high school junior playing second base, 16 years old, with a love and talent for baseball. I was also a cock-sure peacock of a male, driving a 1964 Mustang, wearing Aqua Velva after shave just like Joe Namath, and strutting down the school halls like Joe would do it, enjoying 1968 to its fullest.

I scanned the crowd, trying my best to be nonchalant about the fans chanting my name and imploring me to bring home more runs with my bat. The fans consisted of the usual high school baseball crowd. They had nicknamed me ‘birdman’ because of my fleet feet and chants of ‘birdman – birdman - birdman’ filtered across my consciousness as I stared out at the pitcher warming up. There were more fans than usual spilling completely out of the stands, many standing two and three deep along the walkways.

She was sitting in the stands with a girl friend when I first saw her. Dark long hair parted down the middle in the popular 1968 style. She had dark brown eyes, and a multitude of freckles splashed across her face. Across the freckled face played a smile that was radiant, highlighted by a very slightly chipped front tooth that gave her a down to earth cuteness that seemed to comfortably marry itself with her remarkable beauty.

I attended a large high school and as astounding as it may seem I had never seen this girl. When I did finally discover her my eyes would not leave her. I stared at her the rest of the game. She would smile demurely but look away out of embarrassment. Years later she would confess that she secretly followed me from one of her classes to my next class that year hoping to be noticed. A cock-sure peacock of a male moves quickly when he sees something he wants. I had completely noticed her for about two solid hours of mouth open staring. She was a senior bound for college, 1-1/2 years older than me which can be a huge difference when an 18 year old girl is assessing a punk 16 year old boy. My friends told me I had no chance with such a gorgeous senior. She was wiser and more careful than me, but I had passion and confidence and on the first date I left her at her door with the promise that one day I would marry her. She smiled slightly, not quite sure what to make of me.

On a mid April Saturday in 1972 the girl with the gorgeous freckled face said “I Do” to the dark haired baseball playing peacock of a boy that was quickly becoming a man.

She has watched me grow up for the past 34 years. In fact she sometimes has made me grow up. We have survived ovarian cancer. We have survived my stupidity and selfishness. We have survived all the things that a couple is required to survive and maybe a little more.

We have adopted and raised two successful children and we have a grandson.

As we work our way into our fifties it feels as if we have ascended a mountain in many respects. Often it seemed the mountain trail was scaled in the darkness, her hand in mine, and perhaps there is more mountain trail to climb. But we will keep doing it the way we always have, her hand in mine.

The women in my lady’s family live long lives. I will reach the top of the mountain before her. But that magic in her face and the love that seems now die-stamped in her heart will stay with me wherever I go, and I will wait patiently for the source of my memories to come home to me.

Baseball has always played a pivotal role in my life. And now I sit here 34 years later thinking about that long ago baseball game in 1968. It was the day I found something I loved more than baseball, and the memory of that remarkable paradox remains as fresh in my mind as the day it happened.

I’m tempted to write something like ‘after 34 years it seems so far, so good’, but I know I should backspace through it and write instead “so far and so good.”

Below is the face I became enchanted with in 1968. She is 19 in the photo. Now really, can you fault me?

Consider me blessed; kinda like Forrest Gump.

19 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

OMG, Rick. I have tears in my eyes. Wonderful story!! Your feeling for her really shine through. Since I asked for this...thanks for indulging me.

May 24, 2006 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

You're welcome Stormy, thank you for asking. I had to stop a couple of times myself.

May 24, 2006 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Molly said...

Rick,
This is so powerful. I like Angie finished reading with tears running down my cheeks.
I want to be loved that way, the sooner the better.

May 24, 2006 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Thanks Molly,
Your comments are always so sweet. It shouldn't take too long for someone to find you. Remember to love back.....

May 24, 2006 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

That was an incredible and touching post, Rick. You and Mrs. Rick were SO lucky to have come together and found each other!

You are indeed a lucky guy...she's gorgeous! :)

May 24, 2006 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Thank you Stacy,
I read your post today and I could feel the pain spilling outside the words.
I would help if I could; I'm sending hugs and caring. Hope you get it.

May 24, 2006 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger patti_cake said...

Add me to the list of weepers. Good thing I am in my own office. She is absolutely beautiful Rick. Not everyone is lucky enough to experience this kind of love in their lifetime. You both are very, very blessed. Thank you for sharing your love story. I needed to read this today.
I am feeling Stacy the PQ's pain today too. :(

May 24, 2006 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Cakes,
Sweet thoughts to you Cakes, lets go give PQ a big hug.

May 24, 2006 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Reach said...

Rick,
A memory worthy of reliving will experience the emotions anew.
The best part of a remembrance parallels the passion relived. While I do not have tears streaming down my face, I did see a face, with a tender smile and warm heart that would inspire love. She is naturally beautiful and in my imagination, her inward beauty far exceeds that of her outward.

For in my mind, a scene did play out and I can only envision; after your thoughts and authoring this post, you ran to her with the love that 34 years of experience would inspire. Moreover, when you had arrived into her arms, where you belong, you were whole again.

Reach

May 24, 2006 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Wow. She is spectacular. And I don't mean just the way she looks, though beauty is evident. From reading you....and your adoration for her...I'm in awe. And for me to be in awe of a love story at this point in my life...

Well, you get my point. You are a lucky, lucky man...and I'm going to go out on a limb and say she is a lucky, lucky woman. :-)

May 24, 2006 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Seven said...

Reach,
Poetically and intellectually rendered comment as always. Thanks. She is a treasure.

Jenn,
I tend toward being a little private about parts of my life, but Angie asked me to write about how we met, so I got busy with it and ended up with this. And of course you are right she is VERY lucky....hehehehe
If you only knew what the poor woman has put up with over the years!

May 24, 2006 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Reach said...

Rick, thank you.

As to your return to Jenn...LOL,
and, what the neighbor lady puts up with, after the winds....LOL

I could not resist

Reach

May 24, 2006 at 5:48 PM  
Blogger Sereena X said...

Rick, thanks for sharing.

May 25, 2006 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Seven said...

You are welcome Sereena, thanks for coming by. I'll be over to see ya shortly.

May 25, 2006 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger kate said...

great tribute and she is soooo beautiful!

I didnt weep, but it did make me wonder how do I get my husband to even think these things... no less write them? lol

Have a great weekend!!

June 3, 2006 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Elle said...

Absolutely gorgeous.

June 3, 2006 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Bellarosa said...

Beautiful story, and a Beautiful woman ... you are very lucky.

June 4, 2006 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger samuru999 said...

SO very touching !'
Thanks for sharing.

June 20, 2006 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger samuru999 said...

I just had to come back and read this once again. You have a beautiful way of writing and expressing what you feel so deeply.
I truly am so very, very touched by this story. Thank you again.

June 20, 2006 at 11:47 PM  

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