Glory again?

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She said, "Just be patient." He said, "For how many years will I have to wait?"

This conversation was repeated over and over. He passed away in 1990; she, in 1997. My parents, Dorothy and Ralph, were longtime Pirates fans. He had played baseball in his younger days and professed to know more of the game's ins and outs than the well-paid managers.

Whether or not she liked the game as well as he did, she put up with his impatience. In those days, the late '40s and early '50s, he had season tickets at Forbes Field and drove from Kittanning to Pittsburgh to watch the games. His routine was set in stone. He left early enough to sit in his seat and watch batting practice. Leaving the ballpark in the seventh inning regardless of the score meant he would beat the crowd, get into our car and be home in an hour and a half. He listened on the car radio to find out the final score.

If he didn't see the game in person, he would roam through the house with a transistor radio glued to his ear. When the games were on TV, he paced from his favorite chair to the TV, letting the set know what he thought about the manager's strategy. The carpeting had an indentation following his path. During the Pirates' glory years, 1960 and into the '70s, the family couldn't wait till the final out to get on the phone and celebrate.

Writing these memories evokes a sad but fulfilling time in both my life and my parents' lives. I can't call them today or ever, but their love for the Pirates rubbed off on me. I think how thrilled my dad would be with what's going on, and remember his question: "For how many years will I have to wait?"




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