Going through some very old files this morning, I found something I wrote about 35 years ago. Hopefully, it will still speak to someone.
Recently, I had driven across town to Chandler Park where the city of Tulsa holds its annual baseball tournament. There were five fields loaded with little boys of all ages.
There were big ones, little ones, freckled ones, bespectacled ones, skinny ones, chubby ones, loud ones and quiet ones--
If you've never been the mother of a little leaguer, it might be quite hard for you to envision just how dirty a baseball cap can get over several months of steady baseball games and practices, not to mention the uniforms that have endured repeated washings with all kinds of stain removers added each time they went through the rough and tumble agitations of a filled to the brim, tired old washer.
Now with most every little guy there were a couple of parents, a set or two of grandparents, older and younger siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Leading up to the playing field and surrounding the spectator's area are sidewalks bound on either side by ground covered with a limestone dust.
I have an aversion to being late so as I approached the fields I was surprised to hear the blaring sounds of the National Anthem already being played over the somewhat inadequate (but very loud) PA system.
"I have never experienced a scene that touched me more than seeing scores of little boys standing at attention with their dirty, grimy caps held proudly over their hearts.
As I stood there and took in the whole scenario of young, middle and very old-aged persons sharing a common bond, the bases of my mind were loaded and thoughts raced from one to another.
Thoughts of my father who loves baseball with a passion unequaled by anyone else I know--thoughts of him serving his country while in a strange and lonely faraway land during World War II--
Thoughts of how he would be there except for the fact he lived in another state--
Thoughts of all the women and men in uniform who sacrifice for us every day--
Suddenly a knot as big as a baseball that I cannot swallow, gorged my throat as "Old Glory" waved to us from the centerfield fence seeming to say--
"Yes, it is important that my colors fly over the capital of the United States and on the wings of Air Force One--and its wonderful that even the stars and space salute me as my banner floats on the moon--
But there is not a more important place on earth for me to fly my colors than over a little-league field.
For you see, there I say to everyone
'Drink your cokes, eat your hot dogs and chili, let the buttered popcorn melt in your mouth, combat the mosquitoes, let the little ones run over your toes playing tag and making trip after trip to the concession stand, yell for your sons, your grandsons, your nephews and brothers for this is what America stands for--this is what I truly represent--
Learning to win humbly, learning to lose graciously, sportsmanship and learning to work and play with others'--"
These thoughts come down hard as my son strikes out and with head bowed low passes the on-deck circle where his best friend reaches over and pats him on the back.
Thank you, God that I was born in America and thank you for using a simple thing like a baseball game to make me aware once more of your wonderful grace and mercy to America.
I am so thankful for all the countries in the world that promulgate a free, democratic society.
This post is dedicated to all those people who are experiencing unparalleled torture and discrimination in countries who don't.
My love, prayers and thoughts are with you today.
And to those who are parents of girls, I didn't mean to be partial to boys--
We had three sons of our own so that was where I was in life at the time of this writing.
We now have six granddaughter and two grandsons!