All these years later, I still find Barney’s logic compelling. We needed mitts before the start of the season. We couldn’t squeeze the money from the pittance they called our allowances. After expenses, and what the church extorted in those little envelopes, nothing was left for new equipment, and our plan to stretch another season from our old gloves had gone horribly wrong. Barney had convinced us that since mitts are leather and so are cows, and since cows stand out in the weather all winter, the natural place for our mitts to spend the off-season was in the cow pasture. Now we had just days to replace the fingered slabs of rotten wood we found where we had left them, and Barney was convincing us that since I knew where my dad kept his stash of cash and his dad didn’t have one, and since a twenty wouldn’t change Dad’s life but would certainly change ours, and since Barney would be arrested if he were caught robbing my house but I would certainly not be, we really had only one choice if we wanted to play baseball. And we couldn’t imagine not playing. I don’t know if he missed the twenty. The season was crap. My swing was off and I couldn’t catch anything. Dad tried to help but that made things worse. Eventually, I quit the team and gave my crappy glove away. It never fit right. Barney played okay. Dad and I went to watch him once. Barney’s Dad didn’t come. “You see that?” said Dad. “That could be you out there. You have the same skills that he does.” I never did, actually, except at baseball. “Get your glove,” Dad told me when we got home. “We’ll throw the ball around for awhile before dinner.”

Copyright © May 10, 2008 David Hodges

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