>The story has to start somewhere. It really doesn’t matter when this took place, and I don’t remember the date or the year or even anything about the game, but my father took me to a Mets game.
We went to plenty of games back in the day. A man we knew had season tickets at Shea since 1964. He had a great three-seat box behind home plate, just to the right of the net in some seats that no longer exist since the Mets redid that area a few years back.
Maybe we sat in those seats, I don’t remember.
I remember plenty of other nights. Dad would sit there with Pat, he of the seats, they’d have a few cigarettes, and even more beers, and this being a three-seat box I’d take the solo front seat. What great nights these were â€“ I remember watching a guy named Mike Scott pitch for the Mets. The Astros later had a pitcher of the same name, he even looked the same but he was clearly a different pitcher. The Mets version of Mike Scott was nowhere near that good.
Pat’s wife had died, leaving him with nobody to go to the games with. So we went. Thirty, sometimes thirty five times a year. I remember some nights hoping that we wouldn’t get tickets, not even free tickets behind home plate for a team that was starting to get good (this Gooden guy seems like the real deal), sometimes it’s nice to just have a night at home.
The game I’m thinking of isn’t 1984, it’s earlier. For sake of the story let’s make it a mid-summer day game, oh say 1979. Whatever it was, I don’t remember it, I only remember the ride home.
We’re on the 7 train, and we’ve had an awesome day at the ballpark. Daddy & me. I remember thinking about it on the train, what a great time we had. The 7 was crowded and I was still small enough that I couldn’t reach the handrail, so I grabbed what I could. His pocket.
Oh man, he lost it. I had grabbed the pocket in which he kept his wallet and oh man I lost it. I never understood why men kept their wallet in their back pocket, it seemed like it was begging to be stolen, but maybe that was cool in the 1950’s or something. Anyway I had grabbed the wrong pocket, and poof the day was ruined. To this day it still makes me sad to think of that story, and the little boy in me still wonders why he let the day be ruined. If only we could have that one back.
Skip ahead ten years. The cigarettes have caught up to him and he’s dying in a hospice. I’m not old enough to be a man but I’m a week maybe two from getting promoted. I’m doing the best I can and been coming to the hospice just about every day. He catches my eye, and through the tracheotomy says ‘phthththhhthh.’ Believe me I know what it meant, and I’m glad he said it. Father and son, closure.
Come forward nearly another twenty and The Namesake is in his first year of t-ball. He’s named after his grandfather, and he’s been to a few games and he’ll get to some more this summer. The appreciation isn’t there yet but the wonder of it all is. I won’t get that other game back but maybe we’ll get to make some memories of our own. Happy Fathers Day.
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