Ghosts of Baseball Past
The park was little more than a matted, grassy baseball field-- the orphaned stepchild of the brick and manicured grass ball fields that exhausted most of the county’s recreation budget for the year.
It was surrounded by a circle of wild-haired willows, sister trees gathered to watch the ghosts of players past stir the dried leaves as they run, steal and slide around the bases. Their whispers become hisses as the breezes turned to wind, and the once-peaceful sisters, once waving on their favorite sons, become hair-pulling, arm-slapping, leaf-spitting banshees as the gusts ride in on the backs of the autumn storm.
The square clapboard houses that sit as spectators squint their windows against the ruckus – a row of pastel blocks, shabby as the building blocks of a giant’s child now grown and gone. Lawns are root-bound and bare, being begged by sprinklers and aeration to last just a few more years by the third-generation welfare families who now fight over what used to be the bright and shiny neighborhoods of their grandparents.
Lunchtime finds porches littered with smokers who brave the storm to feed their habits while listening to the last remnants of the news through the torn screens that separate them from their garage-sale recliners and moldy kitchens.