The bulging cooler, the teeny rusted camping grill, and four cobweb-encrusted folding chairs will be loaded into the back of the minivan. The kids, still rubbing the sleep from their eyes even after a school-less morning in, will climb into the middle seat. My Love will ride shotgun.
We’ll ease out of the driveway and go over the checklist.
Extra layers to fight the inevitable stinging winds?
We’ll have them all.
We’ll just have rolled to a stop at our neighborhood’s edge when My Love will ask, as she tends to do when we’re in hurry to get somewhere, “Did you close the garage door?”
Of course I did. I closed it this time as I did a million or so times before. It’s an automatic.
So automatic that I won’t actually remember reaching up and pushing the button next to the visor.
So automatic that I won’t really recall seeing the door shuttle down and seal itself against the concrete threshold.
“Dang you, woman,” I’ll say and slam on the brakes and then into reverse.
In 20 seconds, we’ll be back at the top of the driveway, staring at a closed garage door.
“Dang you. DANG you, woman,” I’ll say and hit the gas. We’ll all lean into the curve of our cul-de-sac as the minivan accelerates.
Then, finally, after a winter of infinite gales and stabbing colds and mounting snows, we’ll be off to the ballpark where no matter how low the mercury or long the lines or weak the lineup, it will be beautiful and warm and full of hope for magic and miracles.
Even for my New York Mets.
And with that, the “Always Home and Uncool” offices are closed for a glorious national holiday.
It’s Opening Day of baseball season again.
MORE TO READ FROM ME:
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Today you'll dig in the closet for your glove and snap a ball into it while sipping your morning coffee.
Today as the toast comes out of the toaster, you'll still remember how to execute a perfect "pop-up" slide.
Today you'll drive to work and admonish yourself to "keep your head down" and your eye on the road.
Today your team will be in first and planning to stay there.
Today you'll end your contract holdout.
Today you'll still be able to turn the double play.
Today you won't lose a business deal in the sun.
Today you'll find yourself rotating your arm around your head to stretch the shoulder and keep it loose.
Today someone asks if you'll be at the meeting and you respond by saying, "Let's play two."
Today you spend an hour in the attic with old baseball cards and dusty Sports Illustrateds.
Today sunflower seeds strangely find their way into your back pocket.
Today you find yourself muttering something about "Bill freakin' Buckner."
Today you'll think of wearing a black suit to match the eye black.
Today you'll have the steal sign.
Today you slip up in a meeting and mention "our sales team ... vs. lefties."
Today a hot dog and peanuts for lunch will sound about right.
Today you tell a co-worker to "warm up."
Today the only strike you'll know about is above the knees and below the armpits.
Today you'll wear your jacket only on your pitching arm.
Today you'll buy two packs of gum and stuff them in the side of your mouth.
Today, during lunch, you'll wonder why Coke doesn't come in a wood can.
Today you'll scratch yourself and spit for no apparent reason.
Today you'll wonder why stirrup socks never caught on.
Today you'll be the rookie looking to make it big.
Today you'll be the wily vet with just a little something left.
Today you'll look for the AM dial on your radio.
Today your glove is hanging off the handlebars of your bike.
Today seems like a good day for an ice cream before you head home.
Today is box scores and "Baseball Tonight."
Today is Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.*
Today your first coach is cheering. Still.
Today mom's watching.
Today dad's in the backyard -- with his glove.
Today it'll still be a kids' game.
Today you'll be a kid.
Today is Opening Day.
Poem: “Today” -- By Greg Shea, Copyright © 2000 The Closer (*Player names update for 2013 by me)