I remember during revival one balmy summer evening much like tonight, we all gathered for a game of softball in the open land behind the church. I was up. I could hardly lift the wieldy old wooden bat into position. There was nothing athletic about me as a little girl. And I knew if I even made contact with the ball it would just drop like an iron shot at my feet. Dread washed over me.
How he knew, I do not know.
I felt the bat lift. I looked up. My dad had my back. Pinch hitter. The preacher and the preacher's daughter... we took a bit of good-natured ribbing before the pitch was released. He just put the bat up over his shoulder... eyes on the pitcher. I readied to run the bases... because I knew what would come next.
I'm not sure how long it took those young guys to find the ball in the field beyond the open land... but I had plenty of time to make it home. Daddy didn't say a word. He just smiled at me when I took off running, with that same light I cherished in my grandpa's eyes.
Yesterday I picked up this heavy, hand-turned bat of my dad's and traced my finger over the dark groove of our family's monogram. I tossed a rough, old softball into the air. Dancing eyes gaze up into mine. I passed the bat and ball to my little boy. He didn't want the lightweight stuff anymore. He wanted the real deal. I see that same passion in his eyes... generations of stubborn, driven heritage. He wants to knock it out of the park.
It's my job to let him know that one day he will... eyes on the prize... he'll send it sailing. In the meantime, I've got his back.
From my heart,