No subjectSubmitted by Murphy1844 at 2010-01-11 05:16:02 EST
Rating: 1.28 on 7 ratings (7 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
I held my Father's hand as he lay in the hospital, staring up at the lights with bright blue eyes like that of a bulldog, with two curtains of blood red underneath. His eyes were glossy all the time, like he had always been crying, and his hand was dry and chappy, with skin the thickness of a Euro and sort of see-through so you could see the web of thin purple veins underneath.
I tell this part of the entry first, because this is when my Father told his last words. To get to the point, the words were: "See 'em to the end at home good boy. See 'em to the end."
My Father was born in Yorkshire in exactly 1980 of July. I was his only child, and my name is Ernest. I was born in '10, and lived in various parts of England, the parts with big new factories, for about sixteen years before my Father threw his hands up and said "enough!" and we moved to America. This isn't a story about my history, however, or my Father's history for that matter. This is a story about American Baseball.
America wasn't as kind as England in those days but at least we were, in my Father's words, "about two or so years from the next big one." I was a baby, or rather a toddler, about three I think when the third "big one" happened underneath our feet, and this time with as little provocation and secrecy and public notice as the first two. Of course I'm talking about war, and if you haven't been in a big one, I don't expect you to understand. In fact, I don't want you, or your family, or anyone you'll ever know, if you're young reading this, to understand, but I'm nearly certain it will be inevitable. My Father believed, and was correct, that America at least had some time before she was thrust in to the middle of the war. For some reason, this delay gave him comfort. That, and the dream of making big money in America, compelled my Father to catch a flight, and pay for a moving service to ship our things West.
Pat was my Father's name, but throughout this entry, I'd prefer to call him my Father. I hope you don't mind, but in a way it is me honoring him. I'm writing this bit in a journal I've been keeping for some years. It's a hard-cover black-binded book with thick, sturdy pages and wide spaces between lines. You see, I'm an old man now, and my Father's passed some time ago.
As part of moving to America, my Father insisted we immediately mute any signs of Cockney or other British influence from our normal speech and gravitation. Not that we were Cockney's, that went out years ago and wasn't indigenous to Yorkshire in those days, but my Father grew up differently, and had his ear tuned to different sounds and accents, and we didn't exactly move to New York where everything blends together.
Another couple things my Father insisted upon after we moved West: Grow and love pie with apples and cinnamon, hot dogs with mustard, and learn to ride a horse on its bare-back. These were silly things, and clearly characteristically American, but they made Father happy, so we did them. Another thing, and most importantly, we were to watch American Baseball, learn all the rules, and attend games with him at each chance.
We lived in Concord, Massachusetts until my Father died. It's funny, as an off-note, and if this entry is ever to be shared with the public, that I haven't mentioned my Mother yet. The reason why is because she's a nutty-bin, and we left her in Yorkshire to live with her sisters, who are also nutty-bins who read romantic novels in book clubs.
So, after moving to America, we were naturally nearly born and bread to be Red Sox fans. My father went on and on about fucking Baseball, and the Red Sox, and we were forced to memorize dates of their World Series championships, the names of all strings of their current pitchers, the date their club was founded (1901), ad nas. until we were made sick. Or at least I thought that when I was a small one.
Throughout the years, and after catching a sleepy one at several later innings in the 'Ol Fenway, something curious happened. I started to appreciate the Sox. I started to learn the names and histories and temperaments and talents of the players, and by Anything, I started to like these damned blokes. It was queer, but it happened, and it was genuine, and it made my Father happy.
As it turned out, my Father and I, after eating more hot-dogs with mustard then I can count, never witnessed the Sox end a World Series victorious. We came close a few years, back in '22 and '25, but both times, curiously, we were beat out by the Yankees. Those fucking bought-bloke sons of bitches!
Back to that day, the day in the hospital holding my Father's withered old hand, with tears welling up in eyes, my Father died. There was a Sox game on, incidentally (although I'm always curious about this) on the wall projection, and he gave me one last squeeze before his hand turned cold. Before the end, he looked me in the eyes and said this: "See 'em to the end at home good boy. See 'em to the end." I said:
"I promise you." And since that day, I've been to every single Sox game ever since.
(As your friendly author, I say "every single Sox game ever since." but there's a doozey here for you. He'll die in part two, so stay tuned.)