I saw them soft tossing the cowhide baseball thru the swarthy summer twilight
and swallowed the same ball field dust that prodded my numerous, cathartic coughs.
A dad and his boy lobbing a loop arched ball in a sort of lazy, slow motion
while playing catch.
The catch game has always been more than fathers and sons to me.
Still, I hoped that that unidentified dad savored and relished those special seconds.
You see, I did it first, countless sunsets past.
At the unfolding scent of spring, as tan grasses splashed green, and flowers prepared for spring debuts,
I remember my three children marching me out for springtime catches.
A reluctant fool, I never realized how rare and prized those moments would become.
This Papa tossing a baseball to his daughter and sons thru murky August skies.
Each throw, every soft toss, carried dreams along those cowhide seams.
They were dreams of ball field glory, of fame, of adoring fans, and our select circle laced by love and family.
When enthusiasts occasionally tried to interlope, to bore into “our” game,
our faces took on the blush of ripe tomatoes.
It was “our thing” as much as crime belonged to mobsters.
Those days, those madcap minutes of wonder, have nearly deserted my landscape of imagination.
Glorious hours filed away with the soot of decayed days.
Those moments of baseball juggling, the playful derision and laughter after a dropped ball,
along with the praise afforded dexterity with leather-covered hands forever faded.
Mystery man, anonymous father pitching to his son, freeze your moments,
simmer and bind them about your being. Soon, they’ll discourteously desert you, too.
The hours are merciless and soft tosses are eventually
replaced by long distance notes, twits, twitters and calls as
family circles unravel and eventually detach themselves into a great, white silence.