Do you remember the day you got your first baseball glove? Was it a beautiful, sunny, summer’s day? Or maybe, you received it as a gift a few weeks before baseball season started? That way you could get the feel for it, and get some practice in.
Just thinking about a baseball glove, you can almost feel the roughness of the leather surrounding your hand and between your fingers. It’s like you are automatically compelled to scrunch up your opposite un-gloved hand into a fist, and pound it into your gloved hand subconsciously without thought. You can imagine the smell of the new glove. The fresh, new leather smell that almost begin the memories of a very familiar time. It takes you willingly, back in the time of the baseball games of your day. Whether you were on a real baseball team, or just mess’n with family and friends, you’ve played the all time North American game of baseball one way, or another.
Baseball has been in and out, throughout my life to this day. In my aging days to come, I will probably still try to play for as long as I can hold up a bat! I love the game that much. But don’t read that as I like to watch the game on television…oh, no! I’m not one to sit there and watch any sport games on the boob tube! I am one, that needs to play the game, or at the very least, be sitting in the stands screaming all the encouragement my voice can muster up. But that’s for when I get old.
As a child, like all children, I was taught to catch and throw the soft ball. I remember standing outside our townhouse with my brother. My dad was teaching us to catch. No, we didn’t have gloves back then. We were with our bare hands catching the ball. Helps to toughen up your soft hands, we were told. And so, we caught and threw the ball back until our hands were red and stinging so much so, we couldn’t catch any more.
The good ol’ days of tossing the ball back and forth with family. From catching and throwing the high balls, to the daring of throwing and catching the fastball stingers with our bare hands! You can almost feel the sting now in your hands, just thinking about it. Funny, how we sit here with a grin at that thought 😉
It wasn’t until I was a little older, when my mom finally convinced my dad that ‘girls’ could play ball on a team too. I was signed up and tested in a practice. After which, I was assigned center field because, for a girl, I had a good arm and could run fast.
I was so excited I made the team!
Well, having made the team, I guess my parents figured I was going to need a glove. So, off to the department store we went. Gloves aren’t cheap, and there were so many to chose from. There are different sizes, colors, different makes for different positions of the game, and the choice of whether you are a righty or a lefty!! It seemed like we were there forever, before dad had decided on which one was that right one. The right one that was made just for me.
Now like most things, when my dad would give you something, he wouldn’t just say, ‘here, I got this for you.” No, when my dad gave you something, it came with extra. You see, behind every gift that I have ever known my dad to give, there was a story to follow. And behind the gift of my glove was the awaiting story of the value of the Ol’ Timer’s glove.
You see, dad explained to me that a well used and cared for glove, is worth way more than a new glove any day of the week. A good ball player will spend many hours a day, catching balls and moulding and shaping his glove until it becomes perfectly shaped for his hand. So much so, that it feels almost like a second skin. Your glove won’t be slipping around on your hand. It won’t be too big, nor too loose. It won’t be too small and tight. And your glove won’t be stiff, and slow to open for that important winning catch. It will snap open and snap closed on that preicous leather stitch encased ball of twine.
The Ol’ Timers in the fast-ball leagues know the value of a good glove. They always know where it is. They don’t leave it out in the yard for the dog to chew on, and they don’t leave it in the rain to get ruined. Their glove is part of the team’s tools to winning. Like the game of baseball without a bat, becomes just the game of catch. A catcher without a glove becomes crippled without his second skin and can no longer play the game.
So, just who threw the remembrance ball of ‘the value of an Ol’ Timer’s glove’ to me, you might ask. I don’t believe I need to answer that just yet. Could it have been that fact that I played family soft-ball recently? Maybe, but I don’t think so. You see I wasn’t even playing ball when the words, “like a glove” crossed my mind.
It was just like that! The simple words “like a glove” crossed my mind when I was walking through my family crowd about a month ago. (at the family reunion) When in passing, a brother of mine, he gave me a big smile and said, “ hi, how you do’n?” I returned his smile with my own and said, “ hi, I’m fine.” and then I just kept going. It was right then and there, the words crossed my mind, “like a glove”. I froze. What was I doing!?
I hadn’t seen him in over a year! Yet, I was so comfortable with his presence that it only felt like yesterday that I had last seen him! Like subconsciously nothing had changed. I knew him completely, and trust him wholly. But still, I mentally kicked myself and flagged him down for a “I missed you hug.” I tried to tell him in my bumbling way, what had just happened, but I got that ‘look’… again. The look I get from my family when I open my mouth and all they hear is garble, but their facial expressions say, “ya, I love you too“. (Either that, or they are passing gas ;))
I guess what I’m trying to say is, that I don’t know if it comes with the wrinkles of time, or the time of seasons, but I feel now, as if my whole family together fits like the perfect glove. I was completely at peace with all those who I have grown with over the years.
Not one of us is the same as the other. We all have different strengths and weakness. But all of us have put in the time. We’ve stayed with the team, and not put away the ball. We have shown up for every practice, and have even practiced in our spare time. We have been, and are being moulded into the perfect Ole Timer’s glove. The perfect family team.
So, am I sorry that I gave a brief answer to my brother, Greg? Well, yes, and no. Yes, because it was technically rude. No, because in doing so those precious words were triggered, “Like a glove” and translated into this beautiful acknowledgement. So, Greg I’m sorry for being rude, and owe you a Thank You. Thank you for being apart of the remembrance of the value, of the Ole Timer’s Glove.
© Mammy Oaklee