Sapsucker's Blog

Tall tales, myths, legends and a few facts about the Thornbury family

Play Ball!

I was informed yesterday morning that my son is now officially signed up for t-ball. I will have to say yesterday was one of the best days of the year so far! I was floating, ecstatic, I am really excited! Thinking of my son getting to play baseball (sort of) took me back to a few very fond memories I have of my Dad…

When I played little league and Babe Ruth baseball, the most delighted I would be is when Mom and I would go down to the field for my game. Dad would be working as he always did, but sometime during the game he would show up. I can still see him standing against the chain link fence watching my every move and cheering me on and yelling words of encouragement.

I grew up in a neighborhood that had plenty of kids so it was always easy to get a game going on our street.The summer before Dad pasted away, we were one player short and I suggested asking Dad to play. All the kids didn’t seem to mind, but they also didn’t think it was the best idea they had heard of either. So I asked him and he was delighted to help out. All was going as planned until he ended up on the other team, one of the kids on the other team was really upset about this. He was being a real brat about it so I suggested I would take Dad on my team and he could have any player he wanted from my team. He quickly did so and the ball game started. It was a spirited game and in the last inning we had last bat. We were down by one run, we had 2 outs and Dad was coming to bat with me on first. The “brat” (from earlier in the story) was pitching. He was acting cocky and was acting as though since my “old man” was up that we had all but already lost. I don’t recall the balls and strikes while Dad was up to bat, I just remember that last pitch … that Dad hit high and deep into right field. I took off running with Dad not far behind me, I came across home plate then turned to see where Dad was. He was rounding third as the ball was thrown from the outfield. The cut off man threw a rocket to home plate I knew then that the only way we could win would be if Dad slid into home. Of course your thinking the same thing I am, my Dad is not going to slide into home! Well if you think that, then you now know we are both wrong. He did slide into home and we did win that game.

I still think of that nice summer day all the time. It still brings me immense joy just like it did back in the summer of ’86. I have learned something new about that particular game now that I have a little boy of my own. He didn’t win that game for him or us, he won it for me. Thanks Dad.

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Last laughs…

As a boy, on a cold winter night I was sitting in the living room watching tv. I was laying on my belly with my hands on my chin looking up at the tv. I heard the door to the basement open and I assumed it was Dad getting home from work. Sure enough I was right. A few short seconds later he was standing over me tickling me. I squirmed and scooted all the way down the hallway as he continued to tickle me and we continued to laugh. I scooted all the way into my bedroom and then back down the hallway to the living room. As he did as often as he could, we spent the entire evening together, laughing and playing. We ended the evening by kneeling at the bed and saying our prayers together.

Little did I know it was the last laugh(s) I would have with Dad here. He passed away the following day at 1:30pm  January 27, 1987. He now looks down and no doubt laughs at me and his grandson as we play and spend time together just like he taught me to.

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Our most important contributions are the ones we leave behind…

Sapsucker: 1. (noun) A yellow bellied woodpecker. 2. Also the substitution of a cuss word (most notably by my Father).

Example: You dog gone sapsucker.

That’s right, Dad never cussed. It’s been 23 years since he passed and all I can come up with is, you guessed it Sapsucker. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not on a journey to find what wrong my Father did while he was on this earth. I am actually doing the opposite, I am trying to figure out if he was as good of a man as I remember him being and people saying.

Now that I am a Dad myself, it is more important than ever that I collect facts, information, stories and maybe a few tall tales about Dad.

Growing up there is a lot I remember of my childhood and life long hero, there is also a lot I don’t remember too. I don’t remember him drinking, cussing, him and mom fighting, yelling, arguing , cheating or complaining.  

I do remember him treating Mom just as she was, like a Lady. I remember him putting in an honest hard days work AFTER he got home from work (where he had already put in an honest hard days work). I remember him loving God, His Family and friends. I remember all of us loving him back … and we still do.  I remember how he believed in me which made me believe in myself. I remember him helping his fellow-man. I remember him being a good example for me. I remember him saying “this hurts me worse than it hurts you” as he would take the belt to my rump.

As I mentioned I am now a Dad, have been for over 3 years (greatest 3 years of my life). I now understand how true his words were about spanking me. I treat my wife/my little boy’s Mom-ma like a Lady. I now try to live my life to a higher standard because my Dad chose to do that for me.

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