Behind a filling station. Middle of Nowhere, Georgia.
The kid was Master of the Mound. He stood on a pitching mound, throwing to his friend who wore a catcher’s mask. There was another holding a bat.
The first baseman shouted, “C’mon, throw the cutter!”
The kid pitched a ball so fast you only heard the smack of the catcher’s mitt.
The onlookers who watched the game were old men. They stood with hands in pockets, some with full lower lips. Spitting.
“He’s got scouts looking at him,” said one old man.
“He could be famous one day,” said another.
“He could be a major leaguer maybe.”
Baseball is poetry to watch. And this kid is a poet.
He is tall. Black. Wiry. He has long, powerful arms. And he has a story. The boy was found in a walk-in closet in a vacant house.
His biological mother left him there, wrapped in an old flannel shirt when he was a toddler. A few days after they found him, they
found her at a house down the street. Expired.
“Drugs,” said the old man, who told the story. “Both his mama and daddy.”
The kid winds up. There’s the pitch. Smack. Strike three.
The old men applaud.
This is only a friendly game between local kids. We are approaching the end of summer. School has started.
It makes me feel good to know that kids still play baseball in rural parts of the world.
The child—who looks like a man—was adopted by a local youth minister and his wife. I’ll call them the Wilsons, even though that’s not their name.
The Wilson’s had four kids when they heard about the boy, they would not let him become part of the foster pinball machine.
Pastor Wilson adopted him.
But life isn’t a storybook. It wasn’t…