Road to the Sunby Jan Johnson, Wakefield, Nebraska, from quiltart.com
Emma and Lucy's grandfather kept to himself, mostly. A successful businessman in the 70's and 80's, John settled into retirement with his wife Lois in the Denver area.
He passed away last Friday at age 76. Although I didn't know him well, I admired that he was not a judgmental person. He was dignified, smart and articulate. He was succinct. And he loved baseball.
During our last visit this May, while watching the Rockies we talked some about how baseball games seem to take longer--certainly moreso than I remember back when my family watched the Mets. I know vaguely that Bud Selig took steps to shorten the games but still, on television at least, the games seem longer to me. In response to this observation John simply said, "It's this," and made a motion of putting on gloves.
Well, good point. It's that. Every time a batter steps in and out of the batter's box, he adjusts and readjusts those darned gloves. A statistical study might prove that this sartorial addition has lengthened the game considerably. Since baseball people like stats, maybe it's called the Glove Adjustment Timespan Index. If John were here, I could ask him. Because he'd know.
When he told a story, he brought his experiences to life. Take this tale about Vernon Decatur Stephens, Jr., for instance. John kept vintage baseball cards of this player framed on the wall of his den. If you read the story, you'll see...visiting the big stadium from a small hometown...the lineup...the anticipation...Junior being gracious. Yes, that captures what baseball is about. When true grit and human nature and flaws and skill combine for memorable times.
Godspeed and green fields, John.
His soul is in the sky
The angels reached from heaven down
And took him on the fly.
from the Brooklyn Eagle, unknown author, 1883