Waiting for Daddy to Come Home

Baseball in a Glove near Bat

HE SAT BESIDE the driveway as he did every evening at thirty-four minutes past six.

Daddy was coming home.

Might be a few minutes early.

Might be a few minutes late.

Bobby never knew.

He only knew daddy was coming home.

Nothing else mattered.

Bobby would be ten his next birthday.

He was small for his age.

His hair was the same color as the brown lab that sat beside him.

He had a face full of summer-time freckles.

He wore a Rawlings glove on one hand and carried a baseball in the other.

This was the best part of a summer day.

The sun was beginning to fall beyond the trees.

A long shade draped across the front yard.

The day was cooler in Texas.

Still hot.

Stifling hot.

But cooler than it had been.

Daddy never worried about the heat.

Neither did Bobby.

They would stand in the shade for an hour, maybe two, and throw the ball back and forth.

As the shade lengthened, so did the distance between them

Bobby had a good arm.

Bobby had a good fastball.

His daddy said he did.

And daddy knew all about baseball.

He had played in college.

He roamed left field.

But Bobby, he said, would be a pitcher.

No doubt about in it.

In a couple of years, they might even tinker with a nickel curve.

Those were the hours the boy loved best.

He and his daddy throwing a baseball.

Back and forth.

Hour after hour.

Day after day.

His daddy worked all day.

His daddy worked long, hard hours.

But daddy was never tired, not when he had a baseball in his hand.

Bobby sat beside the driveway as he did every evening at thirty-four minutes past six.

He watched each car that passed.

He waited to see the right car, the blue Chevy with the big smiling man behind the wheel.

The cars came.

The cars passed.

None of them stopped.

The sun dropped below the trees.

The long shade turned black.

Bobby’s daddy wore blue.

Bobby’s daddy wore a badge.

Daddy wasn’t coming home tonight.

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