Whataburger is crowded with little boys in dusty baseball uniforms. The place is alive with laughing, happy voices, and cleats clicking on the floor.
They stand in line and pay with handfuls of sweaty cash.
When the herd gathers around tables, nobody is eating. Not yet. They are waiting for something.
One of the adults tells the boys to remove caps. Everyone bows heads.
“Dear Lord,” the man says. “Bless this food…”
All eyes close tight. All mouths clamp shut.
“And God,” he goes on. “Be with Brian and his family tomorrow, when they put his daddy to rest.”
One boy starts crying. The prayer stops.
The kid is becoming hysterical. A team-mother takes him outside. I can see them through a window. She lets him cry into her shirt.
Another boy follows outside. Then another. Soon, the team is huddled together on the sidewalk.
So I’m doing a lot of thinking about Brian. I’ve never met him, and I have no idea how his
daddy met his end. But I know this kid.
In fact, I’ve lived with him all my life.
A little about him: he's a first baseman. He likes cowboy movies, he wants to learn guitar one day.
He likes biscuits and gravy—but only the kind his mama makes. He likes old and rusty things. He likes anything Ford. He has imagination, and sometimes this lands him in trouble.
He fishes, but isn’t very good at it. He climbs trees, but scares when he gets too high.
I also know that on the day after his father’s funeral, the kid will sit in his father’s work truck and talk to a ghost.
The truck smells like his daddy. There…