Saturday, September 08, 2007

Displaced Astros Fan

A couple of months ago Lucy and I went to an Astros game at Minute Maid Park. The first 10,000 ticket holders to arrive were given an Astros blanket, more like a small throw cover for when you might be on the sofa to cover your lower extremities. We noticed the line was long and wondered if there would be enough for when we passed through; there were just enough and we took two of the last ones being handed out.

I sent one blanket off to my dad in Florida, knowing that he’d enjoy having it to go along with his Astros ball cap. I got word from my mom that his old Astros cap was about due for a replacement, going through the wash didn’t help and he insisted on wearing it anyway. I delivered him a new one for his birthday last month and sat with him on the sofa to watch as many games together as would be possible on a short visit.

I should explain that my dad’s version of watching sporting events on television might drive most people to drink. Dad holds the remote in hand waiting for each pitch to be delivered; as soon as the ball passes into the catcher’s glove and it becomes evident that there will be at least a fifteen second delay before the next pitch; he clicks to a different event already in progress. If there are two baseball games and a golf tournament it gets rather interesting as the screen scrambles to keep up with the action.

“Tiger Woods approach shot lands within two feet of the pin. . .”, “There’s a line drive into the Wigginton’s glove ending the threat. . . “Ramada Inn where. . .”, never stopping for a commercial, “Pujols got under that one just a bit and if ever comes down the center fielder will have out number two. . .”, “Woods taps in for another Birdie…”, and that is only the first forty five seconds. I’m glad my dad never figured our how to use the split screen function on his television, assuming it even has it.

I’m not sure how many sports channels are available in his area, six or seven if you count the two ESPN’s, WGN, TBS, FSN and the chance that CBS, NBC or ABC might have something on. Is it any wonder my mom spends much of her time watching television from the comfort of her bed in the other room.

Dad’s eighty one year old knees are going to be worked on sometime in October, that translates to “during the World Series” in sports talk. I can see him in the hospital during his recuperative period holding the channel selector that’s hooked up to the bed; every now and again pushing the wrong button while trying to find something, anything else going on in between innings. The nurse will wonder why the little light keeps summoning her to his room.

Dad’s going to have both knees repaired; staggered within a week to let the first start to heal before working on the other. I remember a tune from a bygone age, a line that went, “…and don’t mess with Mr. In Between”. Pay attention, Doc, “Don’t mess with Mr. In Between!”

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