Old Memories Made New

My dad passed away a year ago last Christmas. The holidays were a bittersweet time without him. As 2013 chugged along and life got back to the day-to-day grind, my sister received a message from a man I remember meeting at my dad’s funeral. He passed us his card, told us he’d umpired baseball with my dad for years, and said he wanted to share some things with us later. 878a7b5f-c470-4507-8e63-7b190ce0b78e

Obviously, later meant much later. This past week, my mom, sister, and I went to a meeting of the umpire association where my dad worked and volunteered for many years before his “retirement” from baseball several years ago. The things he wanted to share were touching personal stories about how my dad had met and influenced a whole group of men the three of us had never seen before.

Of course we knew he umpired. My dad was a baseball fanatic, a true lover of the game. He played for many years as a young man, coached my sister and I in softball, graduated to men’s softball as he aged, and then returned to his true love playing in men’s leagues. He retired his glove after several seasons in the men’s senior league. What’s a grown man to do when he hangs up his uniform for the last time? Fortunately for my dad, he discovered what my family believes was his true calling: umpiring.

At this meeting, several men told funny stories about my dad during his umpiring days and they named an award after him and presented that award to three recipients during the meeting. My mom, sister, and I left feeling like these special people who took the time to share their memories had given us a gift. Even for my mom, it was like seeing a side of him we never knew.

Now that my son is starting his high school baseball career, I’ll take the time to really look at and appreciate the umpires who call his games. I might even thank them—if they call a good game 🙂

Has this ever happened to you? Has anyone ever shared an unexpected memory of a lost loved one? I sure hope so.

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About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on February 18, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Nice post, Christy. Umpires, referees, and others don’t always get the respect they deserve, but we can’t play the games without them. I’m sure you and your family are proud to know your dad was respected among his peers.

    My dad was awarded a medal on time for developing a “project” that had been top secret for many years. When he accepted the medal, he was very reticent to explain what his “project” was about. He never wore the medal. One day he told me he wasn’t proud of receiving it because his “project” led to the near extinction of the East Asian elephant. 😦

  2. Christy, that is a very touching story. The closest I might have had to that experience was as a teen. I lost my dad when I was 17 and it was a long time before I could accept that no matter how angry I was, he was never coming back. That was August. In December, my first cousin, a Roman Catholic priest, drove my mom to Poughkeepsie so she could arrange for the Christmas blanket of pine branches for his grave.

    I hated the whole idea of graves and of course, remained at home. My mom had decided that there would be no Christmas tree that year. But late on the day my cousin drove my mom home, I heard them in the stairwell. My cousin had insisted that he buy me a Christmas tree and tied it to the roof of his car, hauled it into the house and sat down, tired, sweaty and happy with himself. He told me that my dad’s favorite time of year was Christmas and that the best present anyone could give me was a tree I could decorate in his memory.I was still sad at losing him so early, but I was no longer angry.

    Christmas has always been a very special time of year for me. I make a major fuss in my blog and at home … but honestly … every year I decorate a tree, I remember that one tree and the night my cousin gave me back one of my best memories of my dad.

    • What a wonderful cousin you had, Florence! Isn’t it nice when someone does something so unexpected for you? I’ll bet he doesn’t even know what an impression that made.

  3. Growing up, I never thought about either of my parents’ lives outside the family unit. So whenever I learn something new about them, it’s like a treasure uncovered. 🙂

    • So true, Sheila. My friend and I were just discussing that today–how it took a long time for us to see our parents as anything other than our parents.

  4. My siblings and I got stories about our dad after he passed, from a very odd and unexpected place. Each other.

    We all had the common stories of course, but what threw us all for a loop is when we started sharing other stories. My oldest brother told about something that he and dad did every week, something completely out of character for the man I knew, and my other brother and I looked at each other and said “What?” As the week went on of making arrangements, several other things like that surfaced for each one of us. What we learned floored us. First we found out he “secretly” palmed us money when he could, because he knew each one’s struggle with our own financial battles, and we each thought we were the only one and the other two had to be doing great… 🙂

    But we found out that he was a different dad for each one of us. When we were alone with him, we each had a very different relationship with him. He was whatever that kid needed. That was the biggest surprise for me. And makes me appreciate what a fantastic father I had. Flaws and all. 🙂

  5. Christy …this post reminded me of the many games we watched the kids play ball together- with your dad! Good Memories!

  6. My brother passed away at twenty three quite suddenly from cancer many years ago. He was a new teacher and had a year old daughter and wife at the time. A few months later, I found my camera that I’d thought lost. There was a full roll of film from my brother’s college graduation, with him smiling and so alive in nearly every shot, holding his daughter, not having any idea that his life was about to end. It was such a gift, finding those photos. But it was also heartbreaking.

    I treasure those photos, as does my family. They were memories of a wonderful day.

  7. A touching post I can related to. Thanks for sharing, Christy.

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