Monday, June 06, 2011

Farming and Softball

Farming (in absentia) and softball games (via television) have consumed a great deal of our weekend time—or at least our thoughts. At the close of her birthday on Thursday, Mary Ellen and her daughter Brianna came downstate to help Brian farm rather than just Brianna coming that morning with Brian. They were only able to stay briefly at our house because they were on the way to the field.

I haven’t seen Mary Ellen since, but I read on Facebook that she’d been on a huge tractor with tracks, as she and Brian formed a dynamic duo to complete planting before a deadline. I am eager to get an update of their accomplishments because those two have a record of doing the impossible when they combine efforts—whether it is painting rooms or keeping a seed corn plant operating during crunch time.

Brianna, age 16, has worked like a trooper right with them. Gerald helped Mary Ellen haul anhydrous ammonia tanks once or twice although he has been very busy chopping fragmite grass off the island and around our lake and cleaning out the drainage ditch at the Pittsburg farm. Sam even got exposed to farming when he came out to visit with Brianna.

Brianna and Sam were in the house briefly on Saturday night watching softball on television with us until they went to the Taylors’ camper on the Pittsburg road to spend the night. Gerald and I had fallen asleep watching games, so they left us a note when they left.

I have always called the place on the Pittsburg road Wayside Farm starting when we lived there for a couple of years and I learned the even then long-before story of a young man fatally injured in a car wreck on that highway. He had been carried there under a large mulberry tree in the front yard to die. I knew his widow who had remarried and had a family, but the thought of his too early death by the wayside always saddened me.

The house we lived in and that tree have long been gone as has the old barn and outbuildings where our children played. There’s no longer evidence of the well in the back yard. After we moved out, we rented the house awhile to one fine family, but after they moved away, we had some unpleasant experiences with renters and it seemed wise to tear the old house and barns down. (After one renter left with unpaid for second-hand appliances still in the house, Gerald was almost accosted when the store owner cane out and thought he was the renter!)

Gerald built a machine shed there and always used it, and in recent years Brian put up a grain bin after he started farming the land. Brian and Mary Ellen parked their camper there and put up a basketball goal for their kids when they were down to farm. They entertained there with campfires for hot dogs and marshmallows. But they didn’t have time for entertaining this weekend as they concentrated on completing field work.

Our minds have been filled with television images of a different kind of field this weekend. We have watched great hitting, pitching, and fielding as the top eight teams in the national have battled it out at the NAAC Division I Women’s College World Series at Oklahoma City. At this double elimination tournament, one Saturday night game ended after midnight as Missouri and Baylor went 13 innings before a Baylor homerun put them into the semifinals yesterday.

After returning from church, we hurried through lunch with the kitchen television on before we went down to the larger screen in the family room. I hoped yesterday that Baylor would make it to the finals; but not surprisingly, Arizona State--all rested and fresh from the winners’ bracket--defeated Baylor to remain unbeaten. I have to admit, I would have hated for Baylor’s tough Whitney Canion to have had to keep pitching yet another game if they had won that game. I have never quite understood why the teams in the winners’ bracket are given the strong advantage of a Saturday off to rest. If they are truly the best, why do they need the breaks?

Two SEC teams, Florida and Alabama, also had to play two games yesterday.Florida was victorious both games. We watched the ending of the final game after we came home from an evening church service, where we heard Gerald’s friend Wendell preach a very helpful sermon. I was for both Florida and Alabama. I hated for Pat Murphy’s Alabama team to return to tornado-torn Tuscaloosa without going into the finals, but they have plenty to be proud of making it as far as they did.

Tonight we’ll be watching and cheering Florida against Arizona State. If one team wins tonight and tomorrow night, the championship will be determined. If necessary, two out of three wins will be completed Wednesday night. Go Gators!

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