Fifteen Years

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Family and Friends

Fifteen years ago today, I was barely twenty-four years old, and already in my third season as a high school basketball coach. I had married following a whirlwind romance just a few months prior, and with that suddenly became the father of a cute little second grader. We had bought our first house on Westview Drive in my hometown, a nice three bedroom/two bath situated on a huge lot not far from my work. We were there that night, having already gone to bed.

That was the night my dad died.

When my dad was dying, my mother and sisters had asked me to talk him into going to the hospital. He was literally wasting away, not able to eat, weight dropping below a hundred pounds. I have long been convinced that he was putting it off because he knew that, once he left home, he wouldn’t be coming back again. Somehow, he listened to me. And I had the pleasure of driving him to the hospital – his last time riding in a car, his last time feeling the fresh air on his face, his last time being outside, his last time alone with me…

My last time alone with him.

As we rode together, at some point the conversation shifted to all those times we were alone in the backyard, he and I, playing catch. He said he wished we could do that again. I agreed.

I guess that’s why Field of Dreams is now my favorite movie, and the heavenly scene were Ray and his dad get to play catch together again – against all odds – is my favorite scene. After fifteen years, I maintain a similar dream. Given a wish, playing catch with my dad would be hard to beat.

That movie scene means even more to me today as I think about my dad. That Ray and his dad are about the same age as they play catch – well, I’m not there yet, but over the past year, when I think of my dad, the feeling of looking at each other as equals has been growing. I’d like to talk to him now, not so much for advice anymore, but more just to share the experiences that make up what we call life. Just to talk.

Or, better yet, just to perform that wordless, age-old ritual of equality: playing catch.

Here is the link to a movie scene that portrays my inner dreams today. And thanks for listening.

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