Baseball and Graveyards

When Taffy learned to play baseball, she had to hop a fence sometimes to get the foul balls.

I spent many years being driven around by Taffy.  Part of this was the traditional grandparent/granddaughter relationship, but also I didn’t get my license until I was 32.  That meant, until recently, most of the time I spent with Taffy in a car was with her driving.  To keep me entertained, Taffy would hand me the garage door opener and I would pretend it was a communicator. When I was old enough (and finally tall enough) to sit in the front seat, we’d talk about Cleveland, and family and, yes, stories.

I remember driving past a graveyard, where the park next door was being torn down.

“My father taught me to play baseball there,” she said, pointing.  “Taught me to field a ball.”

My great-grandfather, Julius, was not a big guy, and the idea of him teaching anyone baseball was funny to me.  He was also the parent of three girls, and I suppose at that point he had to teach baseball to someone, and of his daughters, Taffy was it.

“Every time we hit a foul ball, it went into the graveyard, and my father would boost me up over the gate so I could go in and get the ball.”

I thought about that for a while and then asked the obvious.  “How’d you get back over?  Did you … climb on a gravestone or something?”

Taffy was quiet a moment and then laughed, “You know, I probably did.”

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