A sketch of one of the good guys.
As an old guy looking back at the roster of other guys that have popped up in my life along the way, I am struck by the shortness of the list. That either means my criteria for getting on the list is harsh or maybe being a man that other men or boys admire is not an easy task to take on. They are picked certainly subjectively, that's only human, and on a very small sampling of their humanity, a moment or two in time as it were. Also being judged by a critically flawed guy should tend to take the pressure off those judged more harshly, as if they cared then or now.
A good guy whom I only remember fondly is an uncle who was a busy man, but like most busy men would find the time for a small bashful boy residing temporarily in a house amongst women. Still too young to hide in books or think much for myself, a boy at loose ends it could be said. As if he read my mind he found a moment to involve me in the one game I found enjoyment in and perhaps in retrospect he also found enjoyment in, as he also resided in a house of women, nice women to be sure, loved and cared for women, but not guys who indulged in guy stuff. I was the only other guy on the premises, albeit temporarily; small, scrawny, freckle faced, and bashful as I was, I was it. So on a bright and hot day my uncle appears tie-less and up for a good game of catch (no more than tossing the baseball back and forth) but a wonderful game to jump start a boys imagination of improving to such a degree that the major league scouts would come knocking at the door. Boys can dream like that.
As the game progressed and sweat was running down my face, I don't think I was exactly pushing my uncle but we were enjoying the moment and my imagination by that time was in high gear when all of the sudden he throws a fast one right at my head, instictively I raise my ballglove in front of my face, surprisingly, the ball he returned to me exploded as it hit the glove in a tomatoey splat. He had subsituted a bright red, very ripe tomato for the baseball and I ,in my mind filled with becoming a baseball legend, did not even see it coming. The tomato hit the webbing of my glove and the resulting explosion expelled tomato juice and pulp into a very, very surprised boys face. Through all these years I have always wondered how my face looked when my thoughts of being the next Babe Ruth were all of the sudden immersed in a very nice tomato surprise salad