Today is the day that my husband would have been 69 years old. Sadly, cancer took him from our lives 15 years ago. I decided to record this little event for those who knew him, and those who can appreciate how the things we do really do matter.
About a year after Richard’s death, I walked through a grocery store near our home, and spotted a woman staring at me, and she looked familiar. Catching my eye, she approached and began talking. She asked, did I remember her son? It seems he had played on a baseball team that my husband coached for one of our sons. I thought I remembered the child. He was a tall thin boy, who was lithe and actually quite able, but very tremulous. He seemed reluctant to dive into baseball and enjoy it.
I remember at the practices, many times he was the subject of much attention. He was a lefty, and my husband was determined to make a 1st baseman out of him. I often saw him cringe as my husband singled him out and bellowed at him to reach, to block, to throw. The praise was profuse, and encouragement constant. They were very young, I remember, and these were early times of skill building.
Anyway, back to the lady. She was so intense, and repeatedly professed how wonderful it was she had come across me. She said, “I hope you know how much I appreciate what your husband did for my son! He just seemed afraid of life, afraid to even try to do things. He was so shy, he just couldn’t seem to believe in himself. Something about that season of baseball changed him completely! To this day, I credit your husband with changing the course of his life. He let him know he could do it, and hard work would provide whatever result he wanted. Most of all, he learned that if you don’t try, nothing will go your way. It was so important, that he just never was the same again. From head down, he learned to walk head up, such was the change!”
Now I have to tell you, if that conversation had not taken place, I would maybe never have thought of the child again. He was one of so many, and I am not really sure which year or which team he belongs to. And yet, a life was changed, by a brush in life; a coincidence of timing, and a dedicated Father that was married to me. How sweet! Happy Birthday Richard!