July fourth memories
Many years ago, and back around 1963 and 1964 I would drive from my parent’s L A home down I-5 to visit my cousin in Anaheim, California. His community which dead ended in a cul-de-sac would have an annual Independent Day celebration along with kid games, a generous potluck, and end up with a softball game between neighbors. After the potluck we would make our way to a nearby baseball diamond over the back fence behind a neighbor’s house. Possibly there would be a couple of dozen players on each team. What was interesting one of the adult neighbors did all the pitching for both teams. He would pitch a ball that was as firm as a ripe grapefruit. I would bat at the ball with a mighty swing but hit something like hitting a firm Nerf ball. Creating a frump sound instead a loud crack of the bat. Driving it almost straight to the ground. Rolling no more than about eight feet out from home plate. Bunting the ball might had been a better strategic option. To say the least hardly anyone could hit a line-drive or homerun. Not a chance.
But wait, here is what made the annual game most interesting. Remember the one neighbor guy pitched for both teams. There was no argument on this. Each year I participated the pitcher guy was almost always loopy snookered. Inebriated. Certainly, a drunk man with a wobbly windup. The batter was not sure from which angle the ball would come. Good thing it was slow pitch. The batter could easily have been hit in the arm or leg. Which turned out to be the better option. “Take your base” the neighbor umpire would call. Citing rules from major league baseball. Well, of course.
No one seemed to count innings. The game would end up with a score like 36 to 32. Ending the game when neighbor players began to drift off due to wavering interest. By then it was dark enough to start the fireworks. Boom crackle pop pop pop. Happy Independence Day.