Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

At My Age, Mickey Mantle Was Dead

by Wayne Scheer

A 68 year-old
isn't meant to keep up
with a 12 year-old.
I know that
and usually I'm smart enough
not to try.
But yesterday,
after my grandson
listened attentively
to a Shakespeare presentation
and came away with an understanding,
if not an appreciation,
I took him to a park
to work off his excess energy.

We sneaked onto an empty baseball field
used by a local college
and I encouraged him to run the bases,
not having a ball, bat or glove handy.

I timed him, and then he said,
“Your turn, Grandpa.”

I should have known better,
made an excuse,
“Bad heart, you know,”
but the adolescent in me wanted to do it.

So I took off from home,
not like the proverbial bat out of hell
and certainly not like I had a jet pack attached to my ass,
more like an old man jogging across the street,
a challenge to make it to the other side.
The first thing I realized was
although the old legs moved,
one in front of the other,
there was no spring to the step.
By the time I rounded first,
I was huffing;
the puffing came when I reached second.
From then on, it was a battle not to give up
as my grandson counted time.

I rounded third
and thought about a final burst of speed;
I thought about it,
but thought was all I could muster
as I puttered home,
my grandson laughing so hard
he lost count. Thankfully.

At least I didn't fall on my face
and as out of breath as I was,
the old ticker returned to normal soon enough.

“Now let's see how many chin-ups
you can do, Grandpa.”
I managed three,
and got a high five from
a muscular teen
who had just completed his second set
of twenty five.