"You know you're old when you make Memphis Memories," Dad sighed as he handed me the paper.
My dad's told me some stuff about his baseball days, too, but it's hard to believe, sort of.
A long time ago--I mean, a long, long, LOOOOONG time ago, Daddy was a baseball star. He was a pitcher, and he's said that he couldn't run worth a lick, so probably his ERA wasn't that high. Still, it was the pitching that got him write-ups in the paper.
When I was younger, I was not a ballplayer. I was the opposite; I was the girl who wore lacy anklets to softball practice and who couldn't judge where a fly ball would land. I was totally the right fielder, which is where they put kids who can't play. I had a good time kicking at dandelions out there, and every once in a while, a ball would roll through my legs and another E would be recorded beside my name.
But my dad didn't get frustrated; he wasn't a Stage Dad at all. He'd hit pop flies and grounders to me on weekdays; he could throw a ball higher in the air than anyone I knew. But I wasn't athletic (a tragic understatement), and though I could catch a ball in our neighborhood cove, it never translated to the field.
Daddy doesn't play ball now, and there's not much call for him to talk about his glory days ... about how my grandma threatened to beat the crap out of another team's pitcher's dad, and about how he went to the American Legion World Series, and about how he had to room with the coach because he was a wild kid. He's got a ton of them, and he tells them modestly, like everybody in Memphis didn't used to know his name and like my grandma didn't have a baseball card with his picture on it, and like he wasn't drafted by two (2) major league teams.
I like hearing the stories, because there's something weird about listening to my parents talk about what they did before I was alive (I like to believe that both of my parents lived in a void--purposeless, drifting--until I came along. I gave them a reason for living.)
I think it's awesome that somebody remembers him like this, when he was on the verge of being a grown-up and everybody expected him to Go Places.
And maybe he didn't exactly make it to the Big Leagues, but it doesn't really matter. Whether he's balancing my checkbook, or cooking hamburgers on the grill, or throwing the ball around with his gimpy girls, to us, Daddy's a star.