Walking In The Footprints Of Our Fathers
The columnist looks at the relationship between fathers and sons.
It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons. ~Friedrich von Schiller
My son, Chris, and his wife, Karre surprised me with a ticket to the Red Sox 100th Anniversary Celebration at Fenway Park last Friday. More than 200 former players, coaches and managers returned to the fabled ballpark, among them Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky, both nonagenarians [that means they’re in their 90s. I like big words].
It was a great event. The game itself was another story, but I don’t want to put a damper on my column, so I’ll forego the sordid details of that debacle.
My son and I headed to the Braintree ‘T’ stop at 10:30 Friday morning. The game was scheduled for a 3:05 p.m. start, but the 100th anniversary festivities were to begin at 2 p.m. and we wanted to get into town early to have lunch and a draft or two [it was four, but who’s counting?] at The Boston Beer Works.
After devouring some yummy nachos, a prime rib sandwich with peppers, onions and cheese and way too many beer-battered onion rings; I was more than ready to get into my seat at Fenway, mostly because I really needed to sit down.
Oh, did I mention that those drafts were 22-ouncers? That would be 88 ounces of beer on top of all that food. I can’t understand why I’m not losing weight. Oh well! Boys will be boys!
It was a beautiful day, nearly 80-degrees and the Fenway faithful were in a festive mood. From our vantage point in the State Street Pavilion seats [great seats with a great view] we looked down on the field as the 100th anniversary ceremony began.
Player after player from Red Sox teams spanning several decades were introduced as they exited a door in center field and paraded across the beautiful emerald-green turf of the Fenway outfield.
I couldn’t help but think of my dad, an ardent Sox fan. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought about the times we’d spent together at Fenway. The team was terrible back then, but it didn’t matter; it was time together and that’s the only thing that mattered. Just a boy and his dad.
My father passed away in 1987, but in a not-so-insignificant way; I know he was there with me and his grandson, watching the boys of summer that had been such a huge part of his life. I could virtually feel him there next to me.
I’m blessed to have some wonderful memories of my father. As I shared in a prior column, my dad wasn’t an educated man. He was forced to quit school and go to work at the age of 14 to help his family out financially after his father passed away unexpectedly.
Three years later, at the ripe old age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy and subsequently served for three years in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Allow me to share his resume. [Thanks to my brother, John, for the research]
Arthur E Havey, Seaman 1st Class, U.S. Navy, LCI (L) 373, April 7 1943-April 26 1946. Marshall Islands operation: Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, Eniwetol Atolls. Mariana Islands operation: Capture and occupation of Saipan, Capture and occupation of Tinian. Leyte operation: Leyte landings. Luzon operation: Lingayen Gulf landing. Okinawa Gunto operation: Assault and occupation of Okinawa. WW II victory medal, Philippine liberation medal (2 stars) Asiatatic Pacific theatre medal, naval unit commendation, 4 battle stars.
That doesn’t seem like it would have been a great way to spend your teen years, does it?
No, my father wasn’t highly educated but he was a great dad. He loved my mother; he loved my brothers and me and he loved his Red Sox. I only wish I had another chance to tell him how much I love him.
My dad instilled a love of baseball in me; I passed it along to my son and so the tradition continues. But it’s not really about baseball. It’s about a father’s love. It’s about relationship and the things that bind us.
Thanks for the ticket, Chris. But more than that - thanks for the time we spent together. Those moments are precious to me.
Make it a great week!
Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer and a consummate trouble-maker. His column, The Way I See It, runs every other Wednesday on Norton Patch.