Monday, June 16, 2008

The Best Father’s Day Yet

I have only been a recipient of Father's Day benefits for seven years.

And each of those years I have reaped very nice gifts.

Multi-colored socks, ties with cartoon characters on them, and homemade pictures and picture frames with the girls photographs placed inside.

And each are treasures of equal value.

Those Father's Days have all had a similar schedule, starting with a nice family breakfast in the morning, and then getting dressed to Darlene's parents house to spend the afternoon with her Dad, known to the girls as "No-No's".

But this year was different. I didn't ask for it to be. It just happened that way.

This was the best Father's Day a guy like me could ask for.

Remember that I am only five weeks recovering from knee surgery – and unlike Tiger Woods, I am not allowed to play golf for at least another four weeks. So, shy of a round of golf, my ultimate Fathers Day went something like this.

The morning opened on a sour note, unfortunately, when our new black lab puppy Suzy was retrieved from the garage – her puppy bedroom for now – to be let out in the back yard. It would seem that something Suzy ate yesterday did not agree with her – and the garage floor was covered in .. well .. it smelled real bad. Sour indeed.

But that problem would have to wait, because we had a busy day ahead.

My Father's Day gifts were presented to me bright and early – two very excellent hand-made cards that will sit prominently on my desk – a seeding of a geranium plant that I will most likely kill, a cup of trail mix made with sunflower seeds and M&Ms. And a beautiful orange polo golf shirt.

First, Alannah had a T-ball game at 9:00 am at the Turle Club around the corner from our house. Alannah played well, hitting a good ball into the outfield, and fielded well getting a close play at first base.

I took this picture with my cell phone and sent it to my Brother Paul, with a message "Happy Fathers Day". He replied back with the message wishing me one right back.

They had been practicing for the last six months – since early February, and the clinics and skills they are coaching are now very noticeable in every one of the girls.

Every game they get better and better.

But one of Alannah's team mates told her she stinks – as 7 year olds are known to do, and she believes it. So any congratulations are replied with "I stink".

It breaks my heart.

The daughter of my girls God-Mother is like a cousin to my daughters. They love Katie and they want to be just like Katie. Katie, who lives on the other side of the county, recently found herself dating a boy who lives just down the street from us. She has been coming to stay with us lately on weekends so she can see this boy. Incredibly coincidental is the fact this boy is also one of the umpires who consistently officiates Alannah's T-Ball games. And a nice young guy he is – so it has been nice having both Katie and Mike at the house lately. Katie is a joy to have around, yet at the same time is a snapshot into the future of ten years from now, when my daughters reach the "teen age" years.

It is a scary snapshot of make-up and junk-jewelry and boyfriends. I get the cold sweats just thinking about it.

Therefore when we bought our Tickets for the Fathers Day Tigers game at Comerica, we had no problem enticing Katie to babysit the girls for us.

As always we underestimate the traffic of the Detroit River Tunnel. And as always, we missed the first inning. The knee held up strong as we walked from our favorite ten dollar parking lot around the corner to Comerica Park. And the knee felt uncontested as we made our various stops once in the park – for a scorecard, a quick wash-room stop, and two cold beers. The knee felt great as climbed up the steps of the stadium to the upper deck, between home plate and the 1st base side visitor's dugout.

I took this picture from our seats with my cell phone and sent it to my Brother Paul. Again I wished him a happy Fathers Day. He replied back again with the same, and wondering if I was at the Tigers game.

To my brother Paul in Baton Rouge – "Yes, yes I was".

The view was excellent.

The sun was hot.

The beer was still cold.

And the game was still scoreless.

Jim Leyland had started faithful Nate Robertson. And Nate held them scoreless. Joe Torre's new Dodgers starting pitcher phenom Clayton Kershaw was holding the Tigers to only two hits. That was until the sky collapsed and a torrential downpour caused a 45 minute rain delay.

One thing about the upper deck at Comerica Park; there is no place to hide from the rain.

Once the game restarted, Torre replaced Kershaw with reliever Chan Ho Park.

And the Tigers bashed Chan Ho around. Three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth as Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge hit back-to-back dingers – both to deep center field.

In the end, Bobby Saay came in to close the game out and gave up two quick runs. With two men on and the tying run at the plate, the game became a potential save – so closer Todd Jones came to the mound. Jones is scary best – but always manages to get the job done – just not as painlessly as a fan would like. Two more runs scored and the game in jeopardy, the game ended with a long pop fly to Curtis Granderson.

So now the Tigers have won 6 in a row. Eight of their last nine.

They are getting better. Some fans still try to say they stink.

And it breaks my heart.

Back at home, someone had to drive Katie across the county to her house. Darlene and the girls made the trek while I stayed home to "get some chores done".

And son-of-a-gun, what was on TV? The final round of the US Open. Tiger had miraculously picked up three shots on the last three holes to take the lead by one over Lee Westwood. Rocco Mediate was two shots back. But when turned on the TV, Woods was in trouble, Westwood was struggling, and within the next minute Rocco was the one shot leader – putting for birdie for a two stroke lead in the club-house.

But Rocco missed the putt.

Woods had one more chance to win the US Open, keeping his streak of wins when leading a major perfect. He had to Eagle the eighteenth.

Woods drive went in the fairway bunker. With two-hundred and something to the green, he chose to lay-up. But his lay-up shot from the bunker found the rough. And not only the rough, but a spot where a previous player had shot from.

It looked bleak for Tiger now – to get up and down from this position. He hit a high iron shot into the right rough at pin-high. The ball hit, jumped, and spun on to the green to about 15 feet from the pin.

Okay – but he has to make this putt to tie Mediate.

And he did. The ball did one full rotation around the top of the cup before falling in the hole.
But he did it.

I wanted to send this picture to my brother with my cell phone. I didn't take it of course. He would have wondered how I got from Detroit to Southern California so quickly.

As I write this, Woods and Mediate are playing another eighteen holes. The last time I looked, Mediate was up by one after four holes.

After I finished watching Tigers putt fall into the cup, I remembered I promised to do chores. Laundry and the dog poop from Suzy in the garage.

I did the laundry first.

And then I tackled the garage as best I could.

Suzy is a good dog, really. She still chews things and digs holes.

But she is getting better and better every day.

And so are my Father's Days.

Each one gets better year by year. My beautiful wife Darlene makes sure of that.

But this year I kind of feel like I spent it with my brother Paul too.

1 comment:

Ray mc Grane said...

hi Fred . Well it looks like you did have a great fathers day , its good to read your blog, funny and proud, we are looking forward to seeing all you guys again hopefully you will still have us, isee there is a tiger game on the sixth of august i was wondering if you and dars would be interested in going my treat to the both of you for having us if that is possible do you know a site where i can get 4 tickets and good spot to sit and i will get them sent to your address or if you could get them and i will pay you when we get there ok your friendsand always Ray & shell :-))

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