Last Saturday I heard the tail end of an NPR story on Wrigley Field in Chicago, including interviews with generations of fans. But it wasn’t until I checked out the sports page this morning over my cheerios and strawberries and saw the front page story celebrating the 100th birthday of the famous ball park replete with a beautiful photo of the stadium with the famous skyline in the background, that this memory came back.
My connection with the Cubs goes back to my childhood. My favorite way to fall sleep at night was to listen to WGN, “the clear channel station,” in Chicago. Along with Fibber McGee and Molly and Loyola basketball came the Cubs games. Added to that background was the fact that my first husband was a rabid Cubs fan. We were part of the never-say-die fans who said at the end of every season, “Maybe next year!” Our family made the trek from various cities in Michigan to Wrigley Field several times.
On this particular summer day, we packed the car with two young boys and the trunk with snacks, drinks, baseball mitts (to catch the foul balls, of course), and jackets. However, after we parked in the crowded stadium parking lot and started unloading, it became crystal clear that we had forgotten one important item: my shoes. As I stood on the hot asphalt, I remembered running out of the house with my book (I find the slow pace of base ball infuriating) – barefooted! Kelly and Ryan thought it was hilarious, as did the passersby who heard their giggling. I, on the other hand, wanted desperately to get off the hot pavement and drive right back home.
Since no one voted with me on that agenda item, we all got back in the car and brain- stormed what to do. Finally, my husband remembered that his golf shoes were in the trunk. He proposed that I wear those. “Great idea, dad!” one of the boys said. However, once I saw the size 12, cleat-covered monstrosities, I balked. So it was decided. He would wear the golf shoes, and I would wear his regular shoes – also size 12. Problem solved.
However, as soon as we started walking toward the stadium, my sons’ hilarity turned to embarrassment as their father tapped his way down the sidewalk, followed by their mother in shorts and clown shoes, trying desperately to keep up. We finally managed to get into the stadium, but then the troubles truly began. Clambering up the cement steps to our cheap seats in the stratosphere was a nightmare. I kept tripping over my own big feet; he was afraid of stepping on someone else’s feet. As we passed row after row of people, the laughter trailed along behind us. We finally found our seats and the game began.
Oddly I don’t remember much of the game. I was too busy trying to remember to keep my size 12 feet out of the aisle.
Great story! Isn’t it interesting how some of worst or most embarassing moments, with hindsight, turn out to be such great memories?!
While I don’t think I -actually- remember this I sure have laughed at the story enough to at least remember the story quite well!
And I am with you on the pace – a 15 second pitch clock in baseball would be the best way to make the game more interesting.
You were pretty young! But I do remember you laughing. I guess the pace of baseball is why everyone in our family loves basketball instead!
Karen, I don’t usually comment after reading blogs but just wanted you to know that I was laughing out loud (LOL) as I was reading this post and picturing the scene. Hilarious! Thanks for sharing.
I guess this is one where you didn’t have to be there! Thanks for the official comment.
This is great. I laughed so hard tears ran down my face and I could hardly see!!!! Thank you for sharing your memories.
*Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet.*
*Thich Nhat Hanh*
I was laughing pretty hard while I was writing it. Humor definitely is good for the soul
So glad I read this (trying to picture it)….so funny!! And a comic relief after hearing about Aletha this afternoon! Thanks, Karen
It is interesting how we need to balance life between humor and grief. My favorite representation of
Jesus is one with his head thrown back in laughter. And surely we know his experience with grief.
Thanks for commenting!