Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Remembrance In Roma: A Baseball Flashback

We are in Rome. Our hotel is at the top of the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Our hotel has good, solid air conditioning. And comfy, American style beds. I can hear Jo Ann snoozing across the room. Yes, we are Americans on vacation in Europe. We love everything here—the food, the coffee, the air, the art, the architecture. We also like our spines to be in good shape. And a good night's sleep. Tonight, we get the best of everything: the sights and the posture-friendly beds.

Last night, browsing through the thousands of Pablo shots in my iPhoto, I found a group of images that remind me of two things: how much fun Pablo had, always + everywhere, and how much we miss and appreciate everyone at Dangerbird.

Normally, I put pictures at the top of a post. In this case, they are below—so I can explain what's going on. These photos were taken on Wednesday May 6 2009, at the Dangerbird offices. On the far end of the first pic is Reed Seerman. He's one of our marketing people, and a former Columbia U baseball player. In the left corner of the first shot is Acacia Newlon, who assists Peter and I. She is not a former Division I college baseball player. Acacia has been on the front lines of another game—keeping our lives mortared together—and in that league she's a pro. We have such a deep gratitude for what our Dangerbird family has been through with us that we are not sure how to express it. We only know, today, that we will, in due time. The first step is to get ourselves back together. And that's what we're doing on this trip. The perspective I'm writing from is a productive part of this trip. And that's why I'm writing from it, about my homies at the corner of Sunset + Lucile.

The batter waits for the pitch...

...and SWINGS!

...and then, suddenly, the batter drops into catcher position....

The three photos below are typical of day when Pablo would come into DBHQ. I'd often ask Polly or Jo Ann to bring him in on the way to / from school. During his year of treatment, I'd ask them to bring him any time. I loved hearing him come in. Even when he entered as 'shy Pablo,' I'd hear the daisychain of voices through the office as he walked by people's desks. 'Hey! Pablo!'

And then he'd appear in my office. If I was on a call, I'd mute it, or tell the person to hold on. Nothing was more important than pulling Pablo up into my arms for a giant hug. Nothing.

At any given time, everyone in our office has played with Pablo. Eagerly. Happily. Gladly. Loudly. They do the same with Peter and Brie's little boy, Lennon, who just turned one. And as he grows older, the inter-office play with Lennon will blossom from baby talk to indoor baseball games. The game documented below will be passed down to Lennon. We'll tell him about how Pablo used to crack the ball all over the place in that office, and how Pablo wanted to play with him in a tree house in the back yard of the office. And that he even picked out the spot where it will be built.

There was no way to type those last few sentences without tears blurring over my eyes. No way. The crying feels good. The minute or two after a good cry brings such clarity. In this case particularly, I have such happy memories of watching Pablo study the half dozen trees in the yard at DBHQ, looking for the perfect spot. Watching him, I knew he might not ever make it to that tree house. That he and Lennon might not ever have a conversation. Any time Pablo talked about the distant future, this 'maybe' thinking came up for me. How could it not? And now that Pablo is, in fact, gone, this is the very definition of bitter + sweet memory.


Tracy B said...

I say.......build the tree house...it will be one of Pablo's favorite places to hang out....You know we have the right guy to help you build it :) when and if....

we miss you all so much. Thank you for sharing your trip with us...My kids want to know where you are now every day!

TonyG said...

Whenever I read your stories about Pablo, it blurs my eyes with tears as well. I just looked at those pictures yesterday and wondered what the story is. In fact, I look at all those pictures and wonder what the story is.

Looking forward to talking and riding with you when you visit Milwaukee.