Saturday, March 28, 2009

CHALK


March 28, 2009
When the tips of the thinnest branches on the trees start to bulge with the faintest hint of green; when the morning dawns with an inch of snow, but the kids pouring out of the afternoon school bus have their jackets tied around their waists; when crocus breaks through the hard surface of a snow packed flower bed, then I know it is time. Time to open the last drawer in the locker room by the red family door and pull out the cleats and the compression shorts. Time for memories of a time, when our boy was still a boy, and his buddies were boys as well; when they woke early on Saturday morning and met at the dugout to groom the field. Wheelbarrows of fresh red dirt scattered one shovel at a time on the infield, raked over in one direction and then the opposite, bases measured and set, then a crisp new line of chalk dropped onto the deep umber of the field. There are few sights more beautiful than a newborn infield with its first chalk of the season, laid down in good straight lines. I am drawn to the busy hectic days of my younger motherhood, when all things waited until the game was over. When Dad found a way to get home before the end of the work day, when little sisters first wore out the big toy, their brown skin deepening in the afternoon sun, their own mitts softening with the tossing of balls back and forth. When the bleachers were filled with friends who were once only the parents of the other boys, friends I cherish as much as the boys. Cheering for Hot Socks and Hendu and Bucky, JK ..."Here we go now #7"...we knew them all by heart, like they were each our own. Indeed they were. Our boys. Our boys from little league through Senior year. Our boys in a sea of sleeping bags in the basement; in matching uniforms along the chalk line; in brand new suits at Ryan's funeral. In matching ties of various hues, at various wedding receptions with alternating grooms and stunning brides.
That day, when Fall ball was over and Saturdays were once again fair game for other things, when the first snow had fallen and our boys were here in the basement scheming, I heard Ryan pounce up the basement stairs two at a time. Saw him rush out the garage door and into his car. I could not have known this would be the last time I saw him. I would have grabbed him and squished him against my mother heart and told him to take care and that I loved him. I would have pursed my eyebrows at him and reminded him to behave! Instead I saw him next in a casket, fallen from grace when he had driven up Farmington Canyon in search of good sledding snow. The coming down did him in. Did us all in. Jason, Right Field, bore the casket beside his team mates, his school mates, his soul mates. He wore his brand new suit and a crisp white shirt, his shoulders straight and strong. Broke it in with a heart break. The hearse drove off and Jason turned to his mates one last time and bid them farewell. Two hours later he pinned a name tag to the lapel of that suit: Elder Jason Gardner, there with the name of his new team: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He continued, as the rest of them did, one by one, the whole team, running along good straight lines.

3 comments:

  1. possibly my favorite wod piece, so far. You are so not quitting in 11days!

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  2. Wow. Thank you for that.
    I need a tissue, and a good quiet corner...oh, and a photo album.

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  3. Beautiful writing Cori - those memories are all too tender even after all these years...the perspective gained as time goes by is such a gift, but the emotions never erased...especially when expressed in your words. Thanks.

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