Natural

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A Short Story by Thom Brodkin
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In life there are monumental occurrences that act as time-freezing snapshots; the kind of events where, for the rest of your life, you remember exactly where you were when they happened. My grandfather used to speak with reverence about the day he heard Kennedy was shot. My mother spoke similarly of finding out about the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. For me it was the day I stopped playing baseball.

 

I was ten years old when I got my first “real” glove. It was a God’s honest big-league Rawlings rawhide glove and I loved it from the start. My dad, who my mom always called a hard-working man, brought it home from work and presented to me as if I had won an award. It was enormous, at least for a ten-year-old, and my dad had stuck a big red bow right in the pocket. I couldn’t move fast enough to get my new glove on my left hand although I had to spread my fingers as wide as they could go to make it fit.

 

“Well, J.R., what do you think?" he said smiling. "Is it too big? Should I take it back?”

 

My dad always called me J.R. even though they weren’t my initials. His name was Timothy William Melesky and so was mine so the J.R. stood for junior.  

 

“Not on your life, dad!” I said as I turned away and clutched my new prized possession to my chest. “It fits perfectly. It’s the best glove ever.”

 

“Go get my glove from out of the closet and we’ll have a quick catch before dinner.” Before the last words were out of his mouth I was on a dead sprint to retrieve Dad’s glove. The glove was old and worn; his dad had given it to my dad when he was about the same age as I was when I got mine. He had used the glove all through high school and college and even for a few years as a minor league pitcher. It had been repaired many times but the core of the glove was the same as the day his father gave it to him. In my young life, there was nothing I wanted more than my father's glove until he gave me mine, and that day I decided I would keep my glove forever.

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