The Last Time I Chewed Tobacco
I was 11 and my buddy, Dennis, and I
kept hounding Coach Phillips for some chew
because we saw him spitting glorious
brown streams across that Little League
baseball field. We played for the St.
Petersburg Bulls and while we weren't
any good, not quite Bad News Bear bad,
but there was little talent there. Finally
to shut us up Coach gave us each a plug
of tobacco from his tan pouch, said, whatever
you do, don't swallow it boys, and we didn't;
we spit all over the outfield, and it felt good
before our heads started spinning. Then Dennis
and I were leaning against the outfield fence
vomiting. After the inning we made it back
to the dugout. Coach said you want anymore and
we both shook our heads and he said, do me a
favor, boys, whatever you do don' tell your parents.
Baseball in Spring of '98
The purple bat rested on my son's shoulder
as he waited for the pitch. He did not want to
be here. He wanted to stay in his pajamas and play
video games, watch TV on this Saturday morning.
Hell, I didn’t want to be at the ball field either.
I wanted to drink a third cup of coffee and finish
reading this John Irving novel. But when I heard
the Chickadee, I looked up, spotting the tiny white
and grey bird on a branch above the bleachers.
He too seemed to be waiting for something to happen
and flew away as my son swung the bat and the ball
flew in a high arc out of the infield into that other
place, just over there, where we all wanted to be.