Baseball on Sunday

My great-grandfather, long before I was around, at his barbershop.

My great-grandfather, long before I was around, at his barbershop.

I have vivid memories of my childhood.  Growing up, Sunday was the day we spent at my grandparents’ house.  They had five children and seven grandchildren (yes, this is the smaller side of the family) and each Sunday, no matter the season, we all got together for Sunday dinner at Nana’s and Papa’s.  Until I was 12, my great-grandfather lived with my grandparents.  Noni lived in his own small house in the back of my grandparents’ house and, when he was too old to be on his own, he moved into the basement apartment my grandparents made for him.  He had a wine cellar there and made wine himself, which he shared with his great-grandchildren at our Sunday “lunches”.  We’d head downstairs to hang out with him and we each got a shot glass full of wine.  An immigrant from Italy, my great-grandfather spoke a wonderful mix of Italian and English and we loved just hanging out with him listening to him speak.

My favorite part of Sundays at my grandparents’ house was staying downstairs with my father and great-grandfather and watching baseball and football games.  This side of my family, my mother’s side, never really embraced being a sports fan (in her later years my grandmother became a die-hard basketball fan and my mother has always been a big sports fan but the rest of them never really joined in) so if my father wanted to watch sports on Sunday he had to do it out back or downstairs with Noni and I’d tag along.   My first memory of seeing Fred Lynn was at my Noni’s “back house” with he and my father.  My great-grandfather had a soft spot for Lynn because his only son, my grandfather, had the same first name.  So whenever Freddy Lynn made a great play or got a hit my Noni cheered a little louder and I did too.  I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Fred Lynn is my favorite all-time player and the one I credit with getting me hooked on watching baseball.

My Noni’s favorite baseball-related joke was to say to my father, “That pitcher’s no good.  He hasn’t hit the bat one time.”

He was 95 when he died, he’ll be gone thirty years this October and I think about him often.  I was fortunate enough to have been old enough to appreciate him and the time I got to spend with him.  There aren’t a lot of people who can say that about a grandparent, let alone a GREAT-grandparent.

There’s no one reason I decided to write about this today.  I was sitting alone on the porch with the summer breeze blowing through the yard and remembering those summer Sundays on his couch having a shot of homemade wine and watching the Red Sox and wanted to get these thoughts down before they escaped.

I think I’ll have some wine tonight when I watch the Red Sox game.

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