Baseball. Mary Scott really enjoyed the game. Well, as long as the St. Louis Cardinals were playing.
As I recall, we never visited Busch Stadium as a family, but I have vivid memories of Mary and Watson listening to Harry Carey on the radio. Not long before mom died, I visited my parents in southern Illinois. I entered the house to find them both fixed on the television, mom in her rocking chair and dad on their mighty uncomfortable, brown and gold-toned Early American sofa. We caught up while the game played on.
Now I grew up back in the days when children could climb, sit and sleep anywhere they wanted in a car. Cars were bigger in the 50’s. The wide floor space between the back of the front seat and front of the back seat served as a good place to take a nap on long trips. But my favorite place was up on the ledge next to the back window.
When the time came for Cathy, Susan or me to go to sleep, the rear of the car offered three levels of beds. The window seat, the back seat and the floor. As much as I could, I lunged for the window ledge. I’d crawl up, face the back of the car and peer up at the stars. Many Saturdays we drove the 60 miles to St. Louis to visit my sister Ruth and her family with their two, then three, then four boys. Returning to Greenfield late Saturday night (dad had to be home in time to preach on Sunday), I fell asleep many nights peering into the sky, hearing the voice of Harry Carey announce the ballgame.
Years later, when Carey’s son became the voice of the Chicago Cubs, I could close my eyes and be transported back to hot Saturday nights in the car, windows down, a sky full of stars and the thwump, thwump, thwump of tires on the asphalt.
Dad knew the game of course but I don’t think he followed it like my brothers-in-law and nephews did. Or mom for that matter. Mary was a loyal St. Louisan and supported her team with fervor.
She had a dilemma, however. Mom was 100% committed to being a Christian witness wherever and whenever possible. And she wasn’t quite sure how her intense enthusiasm to see her team trounce another fit into being an godly example.
During one of my visits, mom missed one of the Cardinal games on TV. She told me she was limiting her time with baseball. “I just get too emotional,” she said. “I don’t think it’s pleasing to God to get that excited about things of earth.”
Good and bad. Sinful or not. Christlike or of this world. Mom’s faith was pretty dualistic. Both parents strove for “moderation in all things.” If Christians had mantras, that would be theirs.
Mary and Watson felt a profound sense of duty to live exemplary lives. Mom once said that early on she believed if she did everything right, she would have perfect children. It never happened. Not because she didn’t try. But because we are human. Over time her eyes were opened. But her desire to be an good example never faded.
It seems to me Mary’s God would get a kick out of her cheering so passionately for her baseball team. I am certain her Creator totally enjoyed hearing mama play her pianologues and bring a smile to so many. Her Creator most certainly would be moved by her tears shed at night. I firmly believe Mary’s God was honored by the love and faith she had and good life she tried so earnestly to live.
I’m not nor ever will be a theologian. My heart leads my faith, my intellect follows. And let me tell you, my spiritual journey has been a whopper. Maybe something dad or mom would not understand. Today, however, I find myself at a place of great peace and filled with love for which I’m so thankful. Much of this has to do with being with Mary in these blogs during this month of April. By meeting with her life through my memories and impressions, Mary’s passion for people, for her God and her family has touched me deeply.
This sounds corny, I know. But it’s my blog and I can write what I want. Somewhere, out there, I hope Mary finds herself at a celestial baseball game. And at this game she is 100% totally herself. Cheering her team on to victory, smiling ear to ear, singing along with the crowd and helping herself to peanuts and Crackerjacks.
Mary so loved CrackerJacks.