1,800-mile trip to watch two Little League games — $200;
Six or seven fat laden-meals along the way — $65;
One bottle of antacids — $2.35;
One three-day fishing license — $15;
Four days with my grandsons — PRICELESS.
The first Little League game was rained out in the third inning; the second was called after four as time expired. I caught the last two innings of one other game. But even with the abbreviated schedule, the rain, and the shortened game, the trip was well worth the 28 hours (going and coming) on the road.
Hunter, my youngest grandson, age 6, hit a tee-ball homerun, a smoking ground ball to the third base side. He beat the throw, which sailed into right field. While fielders were chasing the ball, he took third. When they finally picked it up he scampered home as they tried to decide what to do with it. He scooted back to the bench, turned to find his mom and said: “Mom I got a home run!”
He told me later that in Little League if you touch all the bases it’s a home run. Absolutely right, and don’t ever let anybody tell you any different.
Aaron, who’s 7, plays machine-pitch baseball and didn’t get a hit while I watched, but he has a sweet swing and plays his position with intensity. He sprints on and off the field, assumes the proper ready position and backs up his buddies. And he loves it. Aaron would play baseball all day if he could. He wore me out playing in his backyard, after he’d played his game.
It’s also fun to watch them play when winning is not the most important thing. It’s the snacks! Amazing how the sting of a one-run loss disappears when the potato chips and Kool-Aid come out.
They had passes to the East Tennessee State University baseball game and had the honor of singing “Take me out to the Ball Game” over the intercom during the seventh inning stretch.
Later at home they serenaded me with their Guitar Hero favorites. They cajoled me into joining them for “On the Road Again,” and I hope the neighbors were out shopping. If the boys don’t make the major leagues, they may be rock stars. You never know. They've got the moves.
We also went fishing. Both boys caught sunfish. In all we landed three and they measured each one with rulers that come with their own personal tackle boxes (wonder where they got those). Total length of the three sunfish equalled 15 inches. The amount of fun involved was a lot longer. They even enjoy playing with the worms. And after the fishing, the playground beckoned.
I had lunch with them at school. (A cafeteria full of elementary school kids with sloppy joes can become a real mess.) I attended their Friday morning assembly and was most impressed with the students’ behavior. I sat with Aaron (Hunter was sick that day.) and he made certain I knew to look at the screen for the words to the school song and pledge. He sat beside me and patted me on the arm.
I was honored to be the “mystery reader” for Hunter’s kindergarten class. I chose Duck on a Bike, a book I highly recommend, especially if you have a 6-year old nearby or a class of kindergarteners. It’s a book about a duck riding a bicycle.
Hunter’s teacher asked if he would like to introduce his grandfather to the class. He did. “This is my grandfather,” he said. “But I just call him Bubba.” And he grinned that big ole grin of his that lights up his face and that of anyone fortunate enough to see him.
I am a wealthy man.