I was nine years old in 1960
when my grandfather took me
to my first baseball game.

I learned that day some basics of scoring,
not to boo the umpire because
it was bad sportsmanship,
the joys of watching live baseball,
and what a great opportunity it was to eat.

I don’t remember if we won or lost;
I just remember the score was 4-3,
and I was hooked on baseball.

Through several summers,
he and I went to dozens of games.
I wonder now if the usher marveled
at a man in his mid-60’s
with a nine year old girl with him.

We often brought in our own food:
already-cooked hot dogs in a thermos
to keep them warm, our own buns,
napkins, and a jar of mustard and a knife.

I loved the Twilight Double Headers,
where the games began at 6 p.m.
Wrapped in blankets from home,
we watched the skies beyond the stadium
go from sunset to twilight to stars,
as we strugged to see fly balls in the
dark against the stadium lights.

There was always a traffic jam
in the parking lot after the games,
and we would sit in the car,
waiting for everyone else to go first,
listening to the recap of the game on the car radio.