Ed is under the impression that I like baseball. I have corrected that view numerous times and yet, without fail, every time I see him he will manage to steer the conversation around to some-such player brought up from the minors who throws left, bats right and hits .278 in the seventh inning when there are men on base, Ed’s beer is full, a squirrel is running in center field and a Democratic President in the White House. In truth, his descriptions usually run a little longer than that. I abridged it a little. Now, please, don’t get me wrong…. Ed is one of the nicest people I know: articulate, well spoken, even mannered and the owner of a smile that stretches from a lot of yesterdays into sunny tomorrows. Ed is 66, that smile is ageless. He just doesn’t get it though…. I really don’t like baseball. It has never deterred him from talking about it. Incessantly.
I met him about five years ago when Schultzie at Oblio’s asked me to be the auctioneer of the bar’s fantasy baseball draft. They have twelve teams that pony-up $400 each for the season. It is a 60-30-ten pay out. Some rather serious baseball folks. The draft takes up about five hours on a Sunday morning before the bar opens. Schultzie make a pot of coffee, gets some doughnuts, though by the middle of the draft everyone has switched to pizza and beer. I guess that’s why Ed thinks I am a baseball fan instead of an opportunist seeking free doughnuts, pizza and beer. The latter four words being favorites of mine.
So I hadn’t seen Ed for awhile. I walk into the bar last night and there’s Ed. We chatted, the usual, how ya doing, what’s up, Obama, snow, Democrats, beer……and it dawn’s on me that almost 20 minutes have passed and Ed has not mentioned baseball. Now, the Pope is Catholic, a bear does shit in the woods and Ed talks baseball. There are things in life that are a given certainty.
“Ed,” I say, “the Draft is coming up in a couple of months, whadda ya think?”
“Oh, that’s right,” he says, “it is.”
That’s it. Nothing else. He should have launched into base stealers, and savers, and relievers and all that.
Nothing. He just smiles at me.
“Ed, you Ok?”
Now he really smiles. “I met a woman.” And the smile shines so much it almost stops the juke box.
Ed has been divorced for ten years and his ex is now dead. His daughter died of a drug OD and another son passed away after a car accident. He has had ten years of bad weather and still smiled through everything. Even a badly broken heart.
He met her on the internet. They had coffee. They have had lunch. She talked him into going cross-country skiing, which is amazing, because I didn’t think Ed would ever acknowledge that there is another sport, of any kind, that did not have a horse-hide sphere and an Ash bat. Valentine’s Day was coming up, he said, and he was taking her to a nice restaurant. But he wasn’t sure of what else to do. I mentioned a new exhibit at the Paine Art Center.
“What a great idea!” he exclaimed. He bought me a beer. I bought him a beer. We chatted for about an hour and a half before I went home. He never mentioned baseball once.
Life has extra innings, too