July 20, 2021

The Baseball Glove

Charles D. "Pedro" Williams, MD, FACR

Pedro wanted a baseball glove. He wanted it real bad. He wanted it more than anything else in the whole world. He promised Mamma and Daddy that if they would give him the glove, he would never ask for anything else, and his behavior would improve. Dad looked at Pedro with hurt in his eyes and said that times were tough, and the glove would have to wait. However, Pedro knew that he could never be happy again without that glove.

Dad subsequently got sick. He couldn't shake the memory and problems of the big war, where he suffered frozen feet and a bleeding ulcer during the Battle of the Bulge. He didn't talk about it much, but you knew it was on his mind. They decided to take him to the VA Hospital and he told Pedro to stay home and “look after thangs.” He told Pedro to say his prayers ever' night so Pedro could go to heaven. Pedro replied, "I don't want to go to heaven. I want to go with you."

When Dad arrived at the hospital, they decided to give him blood and take out most of his stomach. When Pedro heard about this, he stood there like a little man trying to act brave on the outside but scared on the inside. Pedro learned that you could hurt real bad on the inside and not shed a tear on the outside. Home was supposed to be where Daddy was, but he was not there. Pedro had trouble sleeping, even when it was time to get up. He thought that he might not see Dad again and he had thangs to tell him. Pedro was hoping that if it's not your time to die, even the doctors can't kill you.

Word came back that Dad had endured and was coming home. Grandma fell to her knees giving thanks. Mamma started shelling peas, skinning taters, shucking rous'nears and dressing chickens for his arrival. She placed a bright-colored piece of oil cloth on the table with some black-eyed Susans in a Mason jar in the center of the table next to a kerosene lamp with a new wick.

A whole passel of folks dropped by to greet Dad and to howdy and shake and give thanks. We all sat around the table bonding in laughter and love. Pedro felt secure again and realized that the best things are felt in the heart. The kerosene lamp in the middle of the table casted a glow on our faces as we shared food and closeness. Sitting at that table all gathered together symbolized unity again and, somewhere along the way, Pedro forgot about the baseball glove.