Listening to the Ball Game
It was a warm and unusually sunny Wednesday afternoon in late August, and the birds were out filling the air with sweet and beautiful song. When I say "unusually sunny", I mean it seemed as though God had something special planned and he wanted to illuminate the earth to signify this event.
Jessie and Betty Grigsby had just returned from a trip to the grocery store, and with Betty behind the wheel, the small white Honda Civic they owned pulled safely into their driveway of the beautiful black home they shared for some thirty years. Mr. and Mrs. Grigsby was a lovely couple that'd gotten married on February 1, 1946, and very much in love. Jessie, a World War II veteran and retired carpenter was tall, handsome and a strong man. He had been crippled by his recent loss of all sight, due to an injury he suffered during the war that finally caught up with him. He was blind, but that definitely didn't stop him from loving his wife. Betty although 5 foot 3 inches, weighing 110 pounds was the epitome of a strong African American Queen. Each wrinkle on her lovely face seemed to have been carefully hand chiseled by God himself. They told their own historic tale of life experiences. This little lady was full of life, health, and energy. Her entire life was dedicated to family, where she was the cornerstone.
On this particular day, Jessie and Betty were planning on barbecuing and settling down to a nice evening meal on the patio they had built. It sat beneath two large oak trees that provided just enough shade, yet allowed the sun to shine down on them both. Before she put away the groceries up and even thought about cooking, Betty retrieved Jessie's small transistor radio, placed it on the front porch, where Jessie sat waiting, tuned the station to Cardinals game, or "The Ball Game" as we would call it. After asking if he was comfortable she headed for the kitchen to begin preparing dinner. Jessie sat quietly with his dark sunglasses taking in some sun, enjoying the game that was in the 2nd inning.
When the 5th inning rolled around, he had drifted off to sleep. Betty came out to see if he was doing O.K. and noticed him breathing gently and snoring lightly. She smiled and said, "Jessie.Jessie, you supposed to be listening to the ball game and you out here sleep." They laughed together, as she grabbed his hand and led him into the house, leaving the radio and the falling sun behind. Without another word, Betty headed for the kitchen, and Jessie headed for the bathroom to wash up for dinner, laughing at himself for falling asleep on the porch.
Not long after he reached the small bathroom and washed his hands, he smelled food burning from the kitchen. "Betty! Betty!, you better come see what's burning in the kitchen." No answer. "Betty, do you hear me? I said something's burning on the stove." Still no answer. With soap on his hands, he walked into the kitchen, and called out to her again, this time with more concern in his voice "Betty?" Nothing.
Slowly he began to drag his feet across the wooden floor heading for the living room, touching each familiar piece of furniture, table, chair, chair, the lazy boy, still calling "Betty, are you still outdoors?" That woman knows she's forgetful, he thought to himself. As he continued across the floor, his foot met something that wasn't supposed to be there, something unfamiliar, so he slowly knelt down and placed his hand on top of it. There she was, still breathing, but barely.
Immediately, he searched for the phone that lay ear. Nervously he knocked it over and struggled to find it again. He found it, and began to punch the first of the three buttons; 9, he slid his thumb up and to the left, 1. Before he punched the third number, Betty with eyes closed reached up and grabbed his hand, seemingly to stop him. She knew it was her time; she was ready, but not Jessie. He pulled the phone away from her saying "Hold on sweetheart, please let me do this." The he pushed the last digit; 1.
Betty had a massive stroke and spent two days on life support, never again awaking to see her sweet Jessie's face. On August 22, 2000 Mr. Grigsby gave the O.K. for the doctors to pull the plug. Pull the plug on 50+ years of marriage and the love of his life. Jessie has never forgotten the last words his wife said, "You're supposed to be listening to the ball game, and you're out here sleep." Not once since that day has he fallen asleep while listening to the ball game.
You see, Mrs. Betty Grigsby was my grandmother, and the most important person in my life. I told this story in her memory. In closing I would like to share with you a poem I wrote for her the day she joined God in heaven.
Missing You Like Heaven -dedicated to my Granny Sometimes I wish you would have never left me alone in this world. A world that was once warm and sunny; butterflies and daffodils. Why couldn't you have taken me along? As I look for ways to continue on without your vibe, I find none. Meticulously searching for a though or moment in time, that may explain why! I have none. Everything seems to revolve around your smile as if you were the sun, offering rays of warmth to my cold and lonely moon. The pain cuts deeply, and it hurts so badly when my chest tightens around my aching heart at thoughts of you. Tears. Yes, they will always fall for you, creating puddles of love filled memories for me to play around in as if I were a child again. I miss you Gra-ma. I'm missing you like heaven.