Friday, May 9, 2014

On This Date in 1999 (May 9)

So far this weekend has been dedicated to sports. After spending the day in Wisconsin Dells, attending a futures planning workshop sponsored by the South Central Library System, I returned home in time to make sure that Eddie was ready for his Friday evening soccer game. The day had been cool and overcast, but unlike Thursday, no rain had fallen, so the likelihood of the game being postponed diminished as the day progressed. (The field that Eddie’s team was playing on doesn’t drain too well.) 

At game time, a light rain started to fall. I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt over a t-shirt but had left my jacket and an umbrella in the van. Fortunately, trees hug the field, and even though the leaves were just baby sprouts, so to speak, I managed to find protection from the precipitation.

It rained on and off throughout the game. The field should have been mowed as the grass was very long. Any ball kicked on the ground screeched to an immediate halt. By the end of the game, all the kids had wet socks and shoes and their hair matted into weird shapes from all their running around and the styling quirks of the rain. Eddie’s team lost 3-0.

We checked the driveway for a dark blue Buick before going out to eat. Larry and Alice had planned to visit us one day this weekend on their way home but we had no idea when that would be. Only the Saturn was in the driveway. We ate at Pasqual’s, one of our neighborhood restaurants, and then stopped at Blockbuster to rent a video for Mom and Dad and two Playstation games for the boys.

Saturday was devoted to baseball. Andy played in a tournament in Cross Plains, just seven miles west of Middleton. His team played three games, at 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, so we were at the park where the tournament was held for eight hours. Eddie, of course, didn’t want to go. When I got out of the shower, I heard Andy calling his brother’s name.

“Do you know where Eddie is?” he asked me through the door. “We can’t find him anywhere.”

Oh great, I thought, he’s run off somewhere and we’re going to have to search the neighborhood for him.

I don’t know why I initially thought he left the house, as that has never been Eddie’s style of avoidance. When I gave his disappearance some further thought, I knew exactly where to look. It was where Andy ultimately found him. In the “crawl space” of one of the captain’s beds.

Once Eddie was in the van, outside of a 20-foot range of a television set, he was in a very pleasant mood. At the tournament, he either entertained himself or found some kids to play with throughout the day, without a single complaint. In fact, JoAnna and I had to scan the park occasionally to make sure we knew where he was. He never once searched us out, seemingly thriving on his independence.

Game one was a seesaw affair, which made for a very exciting contest. Middleton took what seemed to be a commanding 6-2 lead in the middle of the game but quickly surrendered four runs. Their defense really let them down, especially their inability to hold runners on base. In one instance, Middleton’s pitcher walked a batter and then let him take an extra base when his head momentarily left the game. The player trotted to first and immediately stole second. Throws from the outfield were sometimes made to the wrong base. With an 11-8 lead going into the bottom of the last inning, Middleton was able to keep their opponent scoreless.

Andy had a pretty good game. Although he struck out his first time up, he singled and walked in his next two at-bats.

The second game turned out to be a pitcher’s duel. Waunakee scored two runs in the top of the 1st and looked as though they were going to make things tough for our guys. But that was all they scored. Middleton came back with two runs in the bottom of the third, and then scored the winning run on a bang-bang play at home plate in the bottom of the sixth (of a six-inning game). Final score: 3-2. Andy batted twice, called out on strikes the first time and booming a fly ball to right field (for an out, unfortunately) the second time.

Andy pitched two scoreless innings in game three to help his team nail down a 8-6 victory. The score was 8-0 in the final inning, but Middleton’s third pitcher of the game lost his control after getting the first two outs and walked five batters in a row. Andy struck out and walked in this game. He definitely needs to work on his hitting. JoAnna suggested I take him to a batting cage. We did that once last year, and Andy really enjoyed that kind of batting practice session. It can get a little pricey, though. If I recall, I think it costs something like $5 for 12 balls.

As it turned out, both Middleton teams, the 11 year olds and the 12 year olds, won all three of their games. In fact, the 12 year olds didn’t allow their opponents to score any runs. All three games were shut-outs.

Yesterday was not a good day for baseball. The weather was cool, overcast, and breezy. Many of the fans were wrapped in blankets, wearing winter jackets and gloves. I suppose the good point is that it didn’t rain.

We didn’t get home until 6:30. All of us were feeling drained from being outdoors all day. Neither JoAnna nor I were in the mood to make supper, so I went out to get Chinese for us and pizza for the boys. JoAnna and I watched the video we rented the previous day, but she fell asleep with Boxer on her chest less than halfway through it. I must have dozed off during the final minutes because I can’t for the life of me remember the ending.

The ballfields in Cross Plains are located next to the middle school, and I happened to notice that there were all these old cars parked in the lot in front of the entrance to the school. Before the second game, I wandered over there and checked out the exhibits. A 1947 Chrysler Royal reminded of a car that Min and Lila used to own. I can clearly remember sitting in the spacious back seat– to a little boys it seemed like riding in a living room – on the cloth upholstery with the rope handle attached to the back of the front seat out of my short reach, my view out the windshield partially obscured by a visor. I think the Starks actually owned a Plymouth, but except for a few extra Chrysler flourishes, they were pretty much the same car. I saw a number of seventies-era cars that looked as though they had been lovingly attended to by Dale. A collector of unique and odd models (“I’ve got 21 cars,” I overheard him say) had a 1952 Allstate on display. This car was marketed by Sears for just two years (1952-53) but was manufactured by the Kaiser-Frazer company. Another car I spent some time admiring was a 1958 yellow-and-white Ford Fairline hardtop convertible. There was a 1940 Chevrolet coupe that I would have enjoyed driving on the back roads of Dane County, feeling as though I had been transported back in time. 

We woke up to blue skies and sunshine today, which means I’ll be able to return to the yard work that been on hold for the past week. I feel bad that the boys and I don’t have any special plans for JoAnna this morning to celebrate Mother’s Day. The week was so hectic I didn’t get around to buy any cards, which I should have done when I bought your card and Larry’s birthday card. I’ll have time later in the week, I told myself. Wrong! The boys and I made cards last night right before we went to bed, composing a message on the computer, printing it onto a sheet of paper, folding it in half, and then gluing a picture of them from their first communion last Sunday onto the front. I did buy JoAnna a book on Wisconsin’s participation in the Civil War, her special area of reading interest. We’re going to 11 o’clock mass this morning since JoAnna is serving as lector. The church is hosting a Mother’s Day brunch, but when I mentioned this option to the boys they didn’t seem interested. 

Right now I need to exercise, take a shower, and then review breakfast options.

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