He saw his own deep grief
every time he looked at his granddaughter
who so closely resembled his son,
the Marine,
killed in action
flying over the Pacific in WWII.

Slinging the child high overhead,
he would laugh til he cried.
Then, enveloping her in his long arms,
holding her close to his heart,
he would fall into his favorite chair,
switch on the radio,
and settle into a three-hour respite from his sorrow
listening to WSB’s play-by-play
of the Atlanta Cracker’s ball game.

Those long hot days of summer,
curled in her grandfather’s lap,
honed the child’s perception
of the hushed voice
of an aching heart,
guaranteeing her life-long love
of the game and her own need
for that special kind of silence
that would always lie buried
deep in the roar of the crowd.