IS THAT ALL THERE IS? *

I drove by my favorite ball field of yesteryear at turtle speed.

It teemed with unrecognizable faces.

Wisps of barbecue smoke spiraled, competing music squawked while 

my memories stood at attention in my mind.

Colors, a kaleidoscope of them, popped out all ’round.

A small army of beach-type umbrellas stabbed the soil at assorted angles.

Pool chairs, far from water sources, slouched on the cracked sun-baked dirt.

A panorama of alien spectators blanketed the sidelines. 

I wondered, a changing of the guard of sorts?

My clique fled. I felt abandoned, isolated and jilted.   

An unfamiliar herd of yelping kids swaggered across the tired turf.

The pages of the ill-mannered calendar spanked me, triggering an empty gut feeling.

During their baseball days, my grandsons once patrolled this jam-packed field.

They frequently walked off the field embracing awards.

First place only, they handed lesser trophies and medals to the children watching their games.

My agile niece scattered confused softball opponents on that same turf.

My ambidextrous, fleet-footed grand girl, a mini Mia, no longer kicks dust in the huffing faces of breathless opponents trying to tag her.

My wee grandson no longer makes the big boys whiff at his dancing and fuming fastball.

My blazing and eldest grand boy, an Ozark Ike clone, no longer converts singles into homers.

The seasoned baseball pasture without a whisper of grass sits embraced by a rusted chain fence. 

The dirt-blanketed ball field still sprawls out like a mini Mississippi prairie.

The peach-fuzzed competitors that I’d watched abandoned these grounds many moons ago.

No longer do they blast sky scraping baseballs that soar over the outfield fence. 

My group of elders, who’d occupied orange-pleated chairs behind the dugout, have faded into mental scrapbooks.

Scattered ghosts of grandparents past, relocated to celestial seating behind St. Peter’s bleachers. 

I wonder, is that all there is?

That battered baseball backstop underwent a carpenter’s facelift.

No longer does it resemble the toothless five-year-olds that scamper in front of it.

Now, it stands proud, painted, and in a grandparent free zone.

Eureka! I spot a new parade of fans sashaying in and stretching out like worker ants on this reincarnated playing field.

These replacement players, like their predecessors stand knee high to parents, and parents of parents, as they squat on seats under umbrella covered chairs.

They hunt rogue baseballs and softballs much like starving squirrels in search of nuts.

Another generation of ballplayers zigzag and stagger across the winding, chalky foul lines. 

Distorted screechy-voiced fans scream like out of tune choruses.

Life tossed a wicked curve ball my way without a rewind in sight.

Time slinked into my days and snatched magnificent moments from me.

Nowadays, my grandchildren perform on distant, expansive, and groomed baseball pastures illuminated by neon venues while I glare at these new replacement players and parents living my old fantasy. 

The words of fabled baseball broadcaster Red Barber ring true, “I’ve lost my catbird seat.”  

No longer do I belong here. 

My guess is,“That’s all there is.”