Bertie only went for the company, in truth – he’d watched the game with Harry and Len since Debra died in ’72. They ate hot dogs smothered in seven kinds of heart attack, sipped over-priced beer and talked about all the nothings that mattered.
When Sarah dragged Harry to Florida permanently, Bertie and Len kept buying three seats in the nosebleeds and took turns to drink Harry’s beer.
After Len died, Bertie watched one last game. They found him after the game, slumped in his seat with crushed cans in his lap, and more on the empty seats either side.
I have a feeling the yellow post in the foreground means this is a Football stadium, but in my mind it was baseball, and these three old duffers went every week to the Roger Stadium (formerly SkyDome) in Toronto to watch the Blue Jays play. It doesn’t matter of course, the game was really ancillary to Bertie’s enjoyment of these evenings out with buddies.
Like Bertie, I quite enjoy watching the game without any real investment in, or deep understanding of, what’s happening on the field. Putting this story together made me finally research a few things I’ve been wondering for a while, so here’s some extra info for those foreigners like me!
Take Me Out To The Ball Game is the unofficial anthem of North American baseball. It’s played on the speakers and sung by the crowd. I bet Bertie would know all the words and sang them loud on that last trip to the stadium. They didn’t sing it first, but you can enjoy Frank and Gene’s version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r2luDoV9TI
On the Jumbotron is consistently voted in the top 5 worst ways to propose to someone. I bet Bertie and his buddies would have seen a few people get engaged though over the years!
The Nosebleeds are so named because they are so high up, they are jokingly associated with this symptom mountain climbers get at high altitude. They are cheap though, so a great way to watch the game when you’re not really there to watch the game. I think Bertie and his boys would have chosen to spend their pensions on the beer rather than a better view.
“What’s black and white and red all over?” Luke’s started riffing on the joke book, so I prepare my laughter.
“Don’t know. What is black, white and red all over?”
“A newspaper” shouts Matty. He’s read the book too.
“Ha. No!” Getting a point against your brother is always a joy. “I’ll give you a clue: cowboy movies.” He waits a beat, then announces in triumph, “A cowboy after he’s been shot!”
I can see Matty preparing to argue, but it’s actually funny… and for once I’m ready to deflect. “Good one! Let’s have Oreo ice cream with strawberry sauce.”
I occasionally take a photo with FF in mind but I always forget to send them; Rochelle’s call for pictures makes me think I must hunt some of them down.
My story this week took a lot of editing to fit the 100 word limit and has lost a bit of Mom’s internal monologue as a consequence, but I enjoy writing stories about this family, who are often a little like mine. I hope you enjoy them too – there are lots of other Luke and Matty stories on my blog, so if you are interested click on the tag or drop their names into the search box for more snippets about them.
“Don’t fall!” he says, like always. Big grin on his face, coffee in hand, heading off to whatever and wherever he goes every day after he passes my window.
I’m perched on the ledge, like always. One leg hanging free, one safely inside. My heart balances too. Maybe he has a wife. Maybe he’s gay. Maybe he doesn’t even notice when I’m not here.
I notice. Where was he Monday? Sick or on vacation? I worried that he’d moved or changed jobs, but he’s back today.
“Don’t fall!” he says. Today isn’t the day to admit that I already have.
I tried, I promise, but nobody who studied English in a British high school can see a woman in a casement and a man on the ground not end up with a love story, at least as one of the thoughts in their head. Better this than the other kind of leap Juliet might have been contemplating.
When you walk the same route to work day in, day out, there are people who populate that walk like old friends you’ve yet to meet. They are so much a part of the walk that you miss them when they aren’t there – wonder where they’ve gone and whether they will be back. I remember one such person from my daily commute in Bristol, 15+ years ago. I wasn’t romantically interested like this character, but I still felt a little connection to him. Then I moved away and of course I didn’t say goodbye because I’d never said hello, but I wonder if he noticed.