right field

04/18/2023 0 By BuddyCushman

And lastly, among all these closets within my mind, I was thinking about little league baseball, I got to play right field, and my dog Taffy, who was, if there’s enough still-functioning brain cells to get this right, a birthday present – six years old me, maybe seven, from a home in the Mayflower Ridge neighborhood of my hometown.

Late yesterday afternoon I got to watch a couple of young artists use spray paint cans to create the most lovely, engaging, welcoming art on the wall outside the Ocean Beach Hotel, right there where Newport Ave turns right and becomes Abbott, just across from the Pacific Ocean and OB’s main beach, now being blessed in a new way. An artist way.

I have lost so very many personal things in my rollings back and forth through the world, all these years, but I do have – have apparently guarded with my life – the picture of me in my little league uniform (“Atoms” #12) crouching in a way my nowadays knees would chuckle at, on the lawn beside the small barn next to Taffy. We’re both staring at the picture taker, almost surely my photographer dad, and I have the kind of smile I sometimes forget about.

Forty years have come and gone now, long after Taffy said goodbye, from that time I was crashing on my little sister’s couch in a third-floor apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts, me fresh off yet another cross-country bus ride, when something happened on a Friday and my life got changed, and I slowly began working on cool smiles again. And kept a gratitude my knees still worked – and work – as well as they do.