A few weekends ago, the FriedOkra family was out running errands and the subject of baseball came up. Al loves baseball. Specifically he loves the Atlanta Braves - he's a Georgia boy, afterall, Georgia born and bred, with red clay, Coca-Cola® and salted-in-the-shell peanuts coursing through those veins of his. Some of the best dates we had before we were married were at Braves games - sittin' in his favorite spot right behind Chipper Jones in the outfield, drinkin' ice cold beer, eatin' hotdogs and watchin' the game unfold before our eyes as we talked, laughed and basked in the bright, animated scenes of spring and summer fun all around us.
Al knows a lot about the Braves' history, having been a fan since before he could walk. And he keeps up with the current players and their stats, even livin' way off up here a thousand miles away on the Illinois prairie. (I say that like we don't have television or electricity or phones or like we get our newspapers delivered by Pony Express, three months late, faded and tattered from the journey.) Plus, he knows seasonal stats every year for all the MLB teams and will rattle them off with the neighborhood husbands when they're germane to the conversation. He's a baseball fan and a former highschool shortstop, so he's good at it, as he is at anything he decides to do. (I know. People like that really get on my nerves, too, but he's my husband, so in this case it usually works to my advantage. If you can't beat 'em, marry 'em. Or something like that.)
Anyway, so we got to talking about baseball, and the two local MLB teams, and I said, "I'd sure love to go to a Cubs game this year. I wonder how hard it'd be to get some tickets. I wonder if your firm has some - since they have a pretty big presence in Chicago."
"I think we're doing an event for clients at a game sometime this season. I'll probably have to go to that, and I'll see when it is and we can buy you a ticket if we need to."
HOT ZIGGITY! We're goin' to a Cubs game!
And Mama was happy. Goin' to a Cubs game with my husband. Gonna (watch him) drink beer, eat a hotdog, chew the fat and enjoy all new baseball-related scenery.
Two weeks later (this past Saturday) we're sitting at a table at Chili's® eating dinner and he's keeping one eye on a baseball game they've tuned into on a TV in the corner.
"Oh, before I forget again," he lets out casually, "That Cubs game I mentioned is datedy-date-date. Go ahead and see if you can get a babysitter that night and I'mthrowingoutthefirstpitch."
"Okay," I reply. "I'll get right on it. Oooh, I can't wait!"
"You're whatting out the what WHAT?"
"You heard me."
"Is this a joke? Are you playin' with me, Al Lastname? You're throwing out the first pitch at the Cubs game?"
"No. I'm not kidding. It's no big deal, just a corporate thing. Jim told me a couple weeks ago."
I'm stymied into complete silence. Utterly speechless. For a minute.
"Are you SURE you're not teasing me?"
"Not teasing." Gives me his best wide-eyed Not Teasing, Serious look.
"So what you're sayin' is, you're throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, you've known for two weeks, and you're just now getting around to telling me?"
"It's just the CUBS."
"But it's MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL! You're goin' to da show, kid!"
He smiles, eyebrows lifted in earnest, expressive humility. A little chuckle.
"Guess I need to buy a ball and throw a few practice pitches. Knock off the cobwebs. I want it to be a good one."
Oh, it'll be a good one, honey. I've no doubt about it.
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