Then today I read it is the twentieth anniversary of Ryan's seventh no-hitter. That was a golden moment for a young family of Texas Rangers fans:
When we first moved to Texas we attended lots of Rangers games at the old Arlington Stadium. Little Steven would usually fall asleep in my lap. Jeff would count all the airplanes that flew over. Mike would eat fruit roll-ups, raisins, and jalapeno nachos. The Rangers had Bobby Valentine managing back then, Julio Franco 2B, Rafael Palmieio 1B, Steve Bueuchele 3B "Boooosh"!, Nolan Ryan, Pudge Rodriguez (age 19)C, Jeff Huson at SS, Ruben Sierra, Juan Gonzalez, and Gary Pettis in the outfield, Brian Downing at DH, Kevin Brown, Jose Guzman, Bobby Witt, Brian Bohanon, Oil Can Boyd, Rich Gossage, Kenny Rogers pitching.Someday I might actually be able to retire and sit myself in a rusty lawn chair on a sagging screened porch and listen to baseball on the radio. Or maybe I will just wallow in disjointed memories of 3B Dean Palmer's arm tendon rolling up like a window shade underneath his skin, of Kevin Kennedy letting Jose Canseco pitch, and of Nolan Ryan putting Robin Ventura in a headlock.
Maybe Dad is playing way-out-out outfield this season. Perpetual klutz, I always wanted to be in the position least likely to actually have to field a fly ball.
Dad has been sleeping for over twenty-four hours. He won't remember Nolan Ryan. So I just crank him up to sitting in bed and tell him I have to go soon to set up the school's twenty-fifth anniversary fair. He isn't able to hold the styrofoam cup of coffee all the way up to his mouth. He will never be able to hold Robin Ventura in a headlock. He won't be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The flowers in Dad's birthday bouquet are still golden, and light shines through the purple vase.
In the hall right outside Dad's room the weekend aides gossip about the new resident who died just after he chatted with them over his breakfast tray. I wonder if the deceased had orange juice and black coffee at his last meal. The crossword puzzle is difficult, adding and subtracting "it" from answers. The aides seem like comic costumed base-runners between innings. In their muffled fake fur chicken suits they are unaware of the residents or of me.