When I was a young boy my grandparents would let me come into the city to spend a special weekend each year near my birthday. My folks would take me to the train station at Wantagh out on Long Island and purchase a ticket into Grand Central Station. That ticket was a promise of things to come, tangible proof the trip was real while looking down the empty track in eager anticipation waiting for the train.
Lucy and I had our tickets to Yankee Stadium well in advance of the actual trip. I kept them on my desk in plain view in order to see them each day as I went about the everyday chores knowing how each day on the calendar brought the game closer. Once in New York I stuck the ticket stub in my baseball cap and left it there, even after the game was over and only took it out just now to scan it.
We sat in the Loge under the protection of the next level’s shade while most of the other spectators cooked and simmered in the mid nineties afternoon sun. The game went into extra innings which turned the heat into an endurance contest as well. The Yanks won after loading the bases in the bottom of the 12th; the winning run being pushed across on a hit batsman.
Then there’re the tickets we purchased Sunday morning to board a Long Island Railroad commuter train out to Long Beach. The fellow at the ticket window asked where we wanted to go; but having no reason to get on the train other than to spend an afternoon sightseeing, I had no firm answer. He suggested Long Beach and told us we’d enjoy the boardwalk; decision made.
On the way we had our tickets punched by the conductors a couple of times. The last time, almost back at Woodside where we’d started, he was going to keep them until I asked if we could have them, our being tourists. The memories of our trip, each moment spent will get blurred with time; having the tickets in hand might help.