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 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 , 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 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 , 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.

Jasmine April 25, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Love this, thanks for sharing! It brought tears to my eyes as I understand your sense of nastalgia. My dad passed in 1988 and it's momemts like you described that I cling on to, those moments spent together. Glad you had a great time but I am not sure how the food and beer were any good for your health.......LoL
Bob Havey April 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Thank you, Jasmine. As for the food and beer...... Hey, nobody's on point all the time.
ben April 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Well that hits a great NERVE. I have fond memories of my father and Fenway. My dad was from Boston's North End. We took the train from Mans. went to S. Station , got on a trolly to a subway to Kenmore and walked from there. This is the late 50's , early 60's. We use to meet other cousins there sometimes , it was a family day. Ice cream , hot dogs, sausage and peppers, soda , and THE SOX, who my dad loved and (hated). We use to go in the grand stand if dad got no overtime 1.50 $ , with a little overtime the box seats 2.50 $ and lots of overtime we went to roof boxes 4.50 $ (big jump there) lol,. What a great child hood situation it was back in the day. I still have a BAT (souvenier) he bought me on BAT DAY, sighned by Chuck Shilling, circa 1959-1963 i would think, IT WAS A SPECIAL DAY , every time we took that train to Fenway.
Bob Havey April 27, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Happy to tweak a good nerve, Ben. Unfortunately, with ticket prices the way they are, I'm afraid there's going to be a whole generation of kids who never have the experience we were fortunate enough to have shared with our dads. Great memories!
Sandra Jones Chavez April 27, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I'm so glad you got to go together, Chris didn't relate all the reasons why, just the picture of the nachos I love. So great to have that legacy!! Blessings, SJC


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