How We Loved Baseball A Collection by Charles Hayes

How We Loved Baseball

How we loved baseball, Casey At The Bat. Ruth’s point lifted our hearts, Gehrig’s goodbye broke them. Battered like the balls we threw, our pastime, its name a vision gone, a fuzzy memory be. Trinkets, ribbons, a path to heroism penciled in, replaced our gloves and cleats. The luckiest Lou, many covered not meant to be, made it anyway.

Booted blouses cracking cadence. Popcorn, crackerjacks, killing the umpire, a thought gone by. Nine men, the crack of the bat, faded to a ping, two fire teams in a squad, freeze dried in the gut.

How we loved baseball, no Arlington to warm our memories, baseball could never die, but a play, it hides beyond.

School House Perspective

The white school house, covered with years of coal dust, looks so much smaller now. A rusty flag pole, white when it adorned, lies among the busted mine machines that cover the grounds once for play. The mine gone, the coal trucks only noisy ghosts in my mind, can I have lived here?

Its little flat spot up against the steep land of the hollow where it came to be, my place to learn and grow back then. Marbles at recess, oral book reports to a room with two grades, and the growling gray trucks, humped with coal, that passed all day.

Broken windows, like eyes that only light can see, sadly look my way. And a missing door with only night beyond seems to say, “Oh yes, I loved you then. I am not so bad. Look at you now.”

The Lover

“Time for you to go,” she said. Yet slipping on my clothes and walking out the door, I turn to see her sleep.

Sitting on the curb coming down, swept like the chip bag that tumbles by, I bump the earth, my seesaw stacked. A news bundle drops across the way, its echo bouncing off the canyons of my turf. Like a little rat on the run, a quarter from my pocket falls, and spins for the grate. Fleet of foot, I mash it down.

With just enough to get some joe, I shuffle to the coffee stand. “Same as usual, handsome?” the barista girl inquires. Nodding, I dump my change and sniff the steam. The girl smiles and slides my coffee near. “How’s your gal?” she asks. Blankly, I meet her eyes. “The one you strolled arm and arm with last eve.” Scalding my lips with a first sip, “Busy,” I reply.

Charles Hayes is an American who lives part time in the Philippines and part time in Seattle with his wife. His writing interests centers on the stripped down stories of those recognized as on the fringe of their culture. Asian culture, its unique facets, and its intersection with general American culture is of particular interest. As are the mountain cultures of Appalachia.