Friday, June 24, 2005

I went over to my sister June's in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on Monday.

Most people got by way of Memphis. It is shorter, but I go by Dyersburg. It is longer but I don't have to fight the Memphis city travel, especially the congestion in downtown getting onto the bridge over the Mississippi.

Going by Dyersburg the scenery is pastoral all the way from Jackson to Blytheville, Arkansas. It is lovely green country and the road is good, four lane.

I had told everyone that I was going over there and that June and Harry would cook for me. They surprised me by taking me out for three of the four nights. The first night we went to Barnhill's buffet and April joined us.

Tuesday we drove down to Trumann, Arkansas, where Harry's softball team was playing. He manages the team and plays some. The average age of his team is in the seventies and the catcher is even 83. At these older ages, the batting and throwing seems affected the least. I was surprised at what good arms some of them still have. However, the running and fielding have fallen off severely.

Nevertheless the pleasure in playing remains strong. They play generally twice a week for six months of the year. There are five teams in the league: Jonesboro, Trumann, Cherokee Village, Memphis, and Little Rock. It seems to be a very informal league, if one team does not have enough players they just borrow from another team.

They play in the hot sun. The two games ran from about 10:30 to 2. The ones Thursday were particularly hot as it reached 95.

They play seven innings. The two major rule changes are that every base can be over-run and there are two home plates. One home plate is used for batting and for the catcher to catch the ball on plays at home plate. The other home plate is several feet away and is for the runner coming home. This like other things is done to avoid a collision of players at all costs.

June and one other wife Shirley goes to the games. Both are dark, dark brown. I am very fair. At Trumann Shirley sat with me in the shade of a building although she usually sits in the sun.

The biggest pleasure was watching June. She never sits down during the game. Either she is coaching third base, walking up and down the fence yelling encouragement and advice, or running after foul balls. She also carries her glove and helps during warm-up. For June this spectator sport is aerobic exercise.

Harry manages the team and usually plays part of one game.

On Tuesday they lost to both Memphis and Cherokee Village. The loss to Memphis was in extra innings.

Wednesday is line dancing day. Both June and Harry are pretty good at it. They go to the senior citizen center there and dance along with about 20 other people. There is a teacher who teaches the dance and then they dance to the music. They all seem to have a great time. I chose not to participate. I could learn the steps in my mind but I know that I would have had a hard time getting my feet to cooperate in a timely manner.

We played Mexican dominoes on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. June won Tuesday and I won Wednesday. June tried to make me go home after I won. I wouldn't go.

Thursday we went up to Hardy, Arkansas, to play softball. They have quite a routine going for these trips. This time we went in a van from the East Arkansas Agency on Aging. Harry drove. In our van there was just Harry, June, me, and one other guy. One other van also went.

We left about 7:30 and drove up to Hardy, stopping for breakfast at the Hardy McDonald's. This is what they always do. June and Harry ate outside at a table in the sun. I ate outside at a table in the shade.

The ball park there is on the edge of the Spring River. I once floated down the Spring River but I think it was further up river.

It was very hot. There was one little lone tree where I sat up my chair. This time I was well lotioned up as I had blistered on my knees and nose on Tuesday despite having sat in the shade the whole time.

The first game Jonesboro beat Cherokee Village for the first time this year. They were very happy.

The second game they lost to Trumann in the ninth inning.

On the way home we stopped in a small town and got ice cream, another of their traditions. I got chocolate ice cream, the soft serve kind. The first time I had eaten that kind of ice cream in a long time.

Thursday night June and Harry cooked a delicious meal. We had barbecued chicken, rice, fried squash, and her delicious broccoli and cauliflower salad. Yum, yum.

I went home Thursday night.

Today the repairman is fixing my deck, much needed.

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