Sunday, January 23, 2005
Looking for an Old Photograph
I spent the morning looking for an old photograph. I wanted to find a group picture of my 1976 Point Control softball team to send off to an old friend. We would play in his backyard, tossing a worn out baseball for hours on end; pretending we were at Yankee Stadium. Forty years later we are comparing notes and catching up with each other.
I went through stacks of old pictures; finding all kinds of vacation shots in the mountains, our kids in various stages of growing up, cars we had owned (or had owned us); everything except the team picture. I found some photos from when my dad and I flew up to Chicago to take in a game, the Cubs at Wrigley Field, close but no cigar.
I rummaged through my desk, a study in creative disorder. I found my first rough draft for Chapter One of “Pecaw’s Gift”, a novel length work that I tried to get published. To save money I’d printed it on the back of my locksmith company letterhead; might as well since it had our old address. I wonder where I put the rest of that manuscript.
Maybe I could scan a copy of the plaque given to us for sponsoring my son, William’s, baseball team. They came in second place that year and each boy earned a trophy. Trophies are an important part of growing up. I still have the trophy from my Little League days. Thinking back, every kid who put on a team shirt got some kind of trophy just for being a member of the team, any team. It didn’t matter if they ever won a game, you got a trophy to put on the fireplace mantle. That trophy was a solid piece of evidence that you existed on this Earth. In time, at least in the back of your mind, that first trophy would be the start of many worldly awards; Rookie of the Year, National League MVP, two or three World Series rings, and the dreams roll on.
I played high school ball long enough to figure out that my chances of getting to the next level were slim to none. I did get my “letter sweater” and it hangs in the closet next to a light blue shirt with four hash marks on the left sleeve; the shirt I wore when I retired from the police department. Some trophies never make the fireplace; they hang in the closet.
I imagine that some time later in the day I may stumble over that team picture I was hunting for. It would be nice to have a look at some of the faces, young police officers taking a few moments in the middle of the night to play softball together. It was the “midnight league”, at least that’s what we called it. We all worked the evening shift and would get off duty around ten or eleven. The teams were made from various divisions within the police department. Ours was Point Control, the guys who directed traffic during rush hour, later to become Special Operations,. We came in third place that year; gave that trophy to our division commander to show off in the office. Point Control didn’t have too many trophies. There was the Safety Award Plaque that hung on the wall; the one that accidentally got nicked by a stray bullet, but that’s a whole other story.
I’ll keep looking for the picture; it’s become a challenge now. I did find a picture taken the day Lucy and I got married. We’d only been married a few minutes as we confidently marched back up the isle; my arm crooked around hers. I have to admit, that picture grabs my interest even more than the Point Control team photo. Trophies come in various shapes and sizes, this one still holds my hand on our Saturday night date.