Edith at the Baseball Game

Ever since Edith was a little girl she grew up with baseball. She didn’t consider it a complete summer without going to at least one game.  So even thought it was hotter than Hades, she decided to go with the others from the Sun Coast Retirement Center.

This was an evening game but, even then, it was not for the faint of heart. Edith and just a few “able bodied” residents were signed up to go.  Miss Smith got the tickets ahead of time but, mercifully, she didn’t need to go along.

The van dropped the tottering twilighters off at the main gate with instructions where to meet afterwards. Edith, the de facto leader, sped off leaving most everyone else behind.

“All bags and purses must be opened for inspection,” the uniformed attendant yelled. This part of any evening out always annoyed her. “What do they think an 80 year old lady will have in her purse? All I have is an inhaler, some Tums, an extra pair of panties (just in case I laugh too hard), and my wipes. Oh, and money.”

Charm usually worked for Edith. That, and her old age, got her through situations like this. Not this time. The guard ignored her sweet hellos and stuck a wand in the depths of her bag.  I could have had an exploding pen down there and he would never have seen it. What a waste of time.

The tickets were scanned and, at this point, everyone was together. Since the Pigeons were in a winning streak, the crowd was unusually large. Edith puffed herself up and mowed ahead after checking the sign to find the direction she needed. Elbows out, stern face in place, and bag under armpit, she forged ahead.

Heaven help those who followed. Edith never paused to look back, assuming her little flock was close behind. About 10 minutes later, Edith stopped at the top of the stairs to the correct section. It was at this point she glanced back to see nothing. No one had followed her.  She strained her neck, paced awhile, and still there was no forthcoming group.

She turned back the way she came, and about 10 minutes later returned to near the front gate. There they were with panicked looks on their faces, wondering what they would do. You see, Edith had all of their tickets.

“Give us our tickets, you damned fool!” shouted Ron Bell. Forever crotchety, Edith peeled off the tickets and passed them out. With feelings frayed, she took off again. Let them find their own way.

Along the corridor Edith was researching food. She knew that she would get a hot dog and maybe some popcorn. The prices were ridiculous, but this was a special treat.

Back at her section, she found an usher at the top of the row. “I’m in row V. Where is that?” The usher slowly walked her down and pointed out each and every step. Why must people always patronize old folks? Edith thought. Perhaps the usher had an idea that those bifocals weren’t as helpful as they once were.

Now seated, Edith checked out her surroundings.  She was in a section right behind third base and there was no sun directly shinning on her. It was evening.  No one blocked her view except for the constant flow of late comers and chartreuse shirted vendors.

Finally, the others filed down the aisle to their seats and complained about how far away they were from the gate and how long it took them to find their place.

They had missed the singing of the National Anthem, but an announcement was repeated about fans not interfering with the game. It was against state law.

The third inning had already started, but Edith needed to go to the restroom and get something to eat before she could focus.

“I’m gong to the Ladies and then get a hot dog. Does anyone want to come with me?”

The others had learned their lesson and decided to let Edith have her own little adventure.  Off she went, jaunting her way up the stairs.

In the background she heard the applause of the crowd. People were cheering wildly and fireworks went off. Apparently, someone had made a homerun! Drat, here the game is going on and I have to go to the bathroom! It sucks having a weak bladder!

Edith noticed the “Dipping Dots” booth with the kids in their red and white shirts. She had no idea what these were and so it was easy to make a decision that was ONE food she would pass up.

After wandering around for a time, she finally found her way to the restroom.  Feeling a bit like cattle being herded, she passed through the tunnel into a bank of steel doors.  With so many booths, there was no line, but Edith was particular. She started her inspection. Oh, this one has toilet paper on the floor, this one is unflushed, this one has a door that wouldn’t close. Finally, success.

Maneuvering her bags, doors, faucets, and soap dispensers took a lot of time. At least the announcer could be heard that they were at the bottom of the fifth inning and the score was tied.

Now Edith made her way to the food. She got in line and carefully read the choices while others slid past her. It was going to be just a hot dog and popcorn. There would be no way she would spend $4 for a bottle of water.

Until her food was in hand, she did not even think about looking for her wallet. For some reason, she did not associate buying with money until the clerk mentioned the final tab. Impatiently, customers behind her waited for her to unload her purse and find the exact change. This required fishing out coins from her wallet and zippered pockets then reloading everything.

With her purchases in hand, Edith went toward what she thought was her seat. Naturally, she had forgotten her section by now. She went up to the nearest usher and asked him to hold everything while she fished her ticket out of her pocket.  The loud speaker had just announced that it was now the start of the seventh inning. Edit had spent her seventh inning stretch in line.


Edith's Mother in a Bygone Era

She headed herself to the top of her section and was inching down the stairs very carefully. Just then she heard the unmistakable smack of bat against ball and the crowd roaring. There was a big commotion all around her. “Look out Lady!” shouted several people at her shoulder. She looked up just in time to see the ball coming straight for her.

Without panic, Edith dumped her popcorn on the step, reached the empty cup up in the air, and caught the ball. Cameras flashed, the crowd cheered, Edith was still hanging on to her hot dog in one hand and the cupped ball in the other smiling into the large TV screen. Ever confident of her abilities, Edith raised her cup triumphantly, and continued down the steps to her seat.

The Pigeon’s audience representative was on her heels. He wanted an interview. Edith’s companions were all agog with excitement and wanted in on her celebrity. The hot dog forgotten, she answered questions but refused to give the ball to the arrogant, and clearly over indulged, boy with the Pigeons hat, shirt, glove and shoes. She was keeping this ball for herself. Into the bottomless bag it went.

After the crowd settled down, Edith got to eat her cold dog while she watched the Oscar Myer Hot Dog Puppets race around the field.  But she still wanted some popcorn.

So, once again, up the steps she went. This time she knew where she was going.  Since no more beer was being sold, the lines were short. In fact, booths were beginning to close.

“I’m the lady who just caught that ball. I spilled my popcorn. Could I get another cup?” Edith pleaded.

“Sure, Lady. It’s on the house.” Gosh, a Pigeons ball and free popcorn. Life is good.

Finally, at the middle of the eighth inning, Edith was ready to descend to her seat and see the game. Just then, Dropsy- the Pigeon team mascot- came to her side. He posed with her and people took pictures of the “adorable” old lady and her odd looking companion with the sloppy pants and splotchy shoulders.

Edith made it down to her seat, which had been filled with empty bags and cups. Everyone cleared off the debris so she could sit down. She started in on her popcorn. It was the top of the ninth.

Everyone was leaving. The Pigeons were far in the lead; Edith’s companions were bored. It was past their bedtime and they knew they had to allow extra time to meet their van.

So, here was Edith with her cup of popcorn, her bagged baseball, and a feeling of pride and restored youth.

It had been a great game even though she had never seen one entire play.


One response to “Edith at the Baseball Game”

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  1. Fran Danoff says:

    Well done, Karen — a fun story