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'What I Thought Was Third Base'
Remembrances of my childhood...
All my dad’s people came from Austinsville VA, a community on the banks of New River, which I was always told was the only river in the U.S. that flows north. I’m not sure about that, but most all dad’s kinfolk were raised on that river in southwest Virginia. Dad said that before they built a bridge across it the only way to get from one side to the other was by a ferry or by swimmin’ and that when my Uncle Bufford was Post Master of Austinsville, the mail had to take that ferry to reach the folks on the other side.
...a big yard too, called a pasture
Every summer dad use to like to take us all back to where he grew up as a boy, Wythe County Virginia. Now this was country. We may have had chickens and a few years earlier we had two hogs, but this was real country. There might be half a mile or so between homes. “You couldn’t even stand on the porch and holler at you kin,” dad said. And all dads’ people had a big yard and not only a house, but also a barn and horses and cows and some even had goats. All the animals had themselves a big yard too, called a pasture. We would walk through that pasture to go over to Uncle Clarence’s house, if the bull was in the other field, but we wouldn’t risk it if the bull was out. Dad said he knew a man that got gored by a bull one time and that wasn’t a pretty picture; I just knew I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of that. So if the bull was out, we had to go around to Uncle Clarence’s by the road.
Did you ever play in a pasture?
she didn’t want no body comin’ up behind her unannounced
We always went in the houses of our kin by the back door. Dad said everybody did that out here, and there was no use knockin’, but mom said we should since we were ‘city dwellers’ now. She said she didn’t want no body comin’ up behind her unannounced. Aunt Mary said it was alright here because the only folks that come around anyhow was family. While the ladies were working about the house some of our many cousins would come over wanting to play some baseball in the pasture field out back since the cows had been moved to another field that morning.
...used ‘cow chips’ as the bases
There were so many cousins I couldn’t even remember them all by name. They said that after supper we might all go down by the river and go fishin’ or maybe swimmin’ or something else. We lined out the field and they used dried ‘cow chips’ as the bases. My oldest brother Jim and one of our cousins also named Jim chose up sides and I was finally picked to play on my brother’s team after all the bigger guys were chosen. I remember one time when we took the field first and I had to play in the outfield ‘cause I wasn’t mush good at that time and besides watchin’ for the ball to come to me I had to watch where I was steppin’ if you know what I mean. My brother was pitcher because he had played Little League back home which was something they had never heard of out here in the country, but they had heard of baseball.
kids play baseball...
...I heard that ball connect with the bat and I started running
We played a few innings and finally I was up to bat. I think they just let me hit the ball and didn’t even try to get me out at first base because I was the smallest guy on the field. I remember getting my first base hit, and I was so proud. I watched while my big brother picked up the bat and swung it around a few times like he knew already what he was going to do. Then crack, I heard that ball connect with the bat and I started running. I was sure he hit it a mile and I could hear him breathing heavy behind me as he run. Everybody was holler’n and having a great time and I heard Jim saying something as I rounded second base headed for third. He was saying slide, slide so I did—right into what I thought was third base…
© 2010 SamSonS