The Ball Field
We loved to play baseball and had a little spot not too far from our house. It was a spot with rocks, some trees, stumps, brush and anything else that could make playing baseball a challenge. Many times a foul ball would hit the roof or side of the house and mom and dad were not happy when that happened. We were so happy that we never hit the window in the front of the house.
We knew that it was about time that we had to change the baseball field. The major turning point was when John Williams, Bill Jones, my brother Jim and I were playing one day. John Williams hit the ball and started to run. For some reason, he turned his head and ran smack into a tree. Let’s just say that John didn’t feel too well after that, it had really shaken him up.
It wasn’t long after that when Jim looked at the field right across the stone fence from us and had a vision of making it into a ball field. We spent a long time trimming back some brush and mowing the field. There was only one tree in the way but there was nothing we could do about that one. It was a huge oak tree, but there was no way anyone could miss seeing that one.
We put up a little wire fence for a backstop, and then put some flat stones out for the bases. There was no problem finding flat stones from the stone fence that was right behind the backstop. We had a lot of years playing baseball in that field. It did get a little soggy in the outfield when it rained hard. Right behind the outfield was a little swamp that formed a tiny stream that went under our driveway and made its way through the forest. The stream usually dried up in the summer.
The ball field worked well and Johnny never ran into a tree again. Bill Jones lived near us and it was often Bill, Jim, and I were playing ball. Bill was not a big boy, just average height and he didn’t look very muscular but he could hit a baseball what I always called a country mile. He had a powerful swing and could really send a ball sailing. Bill was my best friend when I was growing up and we usually spent time together every weekend and after school. All summer we did everything together, I miss those days.
Those days of playing baseball in the old ball field were some of my favorite memories. I wasn’t the greatest baseball player but I had fun and that is what it’s all about. That ball field that Jim and I built was the best. I remember one day I measured how far it was down the left and right field lines and the distance to the woods in center field. I painted the distance of the field on little pieces of wood and tacked them to a tree. I wonder if there is any chance that those boards are still there. After all, it was only done over fifty-five years ago.
I guess now the old ball field is really grown up. Probably brush is everywhere and it must have many trees in it. No one would now know that it was ever a ball field, but I remember spending many a day there having fun.