Today is the first game of the season for the Houston Astros. I can't help but think of Dad. If he were still here, he'd have already seen all of the preseason games. Not just of the Astros, but of all the teams. I remember walking into the company in the mid afternoons and he would be in the small back room on his office chair, leaned back watching any baseball game on the TV he had installed back there. He would snack on whatever he had on hand. He tried to be healthy sometimes and pop some almonds in his mouth.
Baseball was a big part of his life, starting when he was a child. His eyes would light up when he talked about playing in an empty lot with kids in his neighborhood. He grew up poor, but at one point, a company sponsored their little team and got them some shirts. I guess he would call those his childhood glory days. He started working when he was 13 at James Coney Island in Downtown Houston with his cousin. He loved to talk about that also. He worked in some form for the rest of his life until he no longer could during the last year of his life.
At the beginning of the Word Series, we were still at my brother & family's house.
He landed back in the hospital on October 30th. He had to stay in the emergency room for almost a week because the hospital was so full of people suffering from ailments. On Halloween, I had taken Ava trick-or-treating with her friends in Baytown. Afterwards, we stopped at the hospital to see Dad for a short visit. When we arrived, he was in terrible shape. He had been forced to wear a bi-pap and he didn't like it one bit, but his body could not breathe on his own. He had to be given a sedative to keep the bi-pap on. He had been disoriented from lack of oxygen and he kept trying to take the mask off.
The Astros were playing that night. It was a late game because they were playing in L.A. We had the game on in the room for him to watch, but he soon was out due to the sedative. It was a late game. I was so scared that night that I called my brothers and they brought Mom to see him. We stayed late that night. One of my brothers ended up staying so we left, uncertain of what would happen during the night.
This was a game that the Astros were supposed to win to end and win the series. They didn't win and I couldn't help but think that it was because my Dad wouldn't have seen it. They would have to stick around one more game so he could see them win.
It was a rough couple of days with Dad's situation He hated the bi-pap but realized it was what he needed.
Two days later, the Astros won the World Series. I had seen the beginning of the game with him, but had been at the hospital all day and left around 9:30. It made myheart happy that my brother went to see him and ended up watching the end of the game with him. I'm sure Dad loved that he wasn't alone and that he got to see that epic moment with his youngest son.
Dad died less than a month later. Before he died, I went to bought a commemorative Astros World Series baseball. I had him sign it. My intention was to get his signature along with all of his grandchildrens' signatures that had played baseball. (You will see my mother signed it, but that is another story.) At that point, I didn't think he was on his way out, it was just an idea I had. He was happy to sign, although it wasn't his regular signature. He was so happy the Astros had won.
So, here we are on opening day 2018. I wear my Astros shirt more in honor of Dad than the Astros. Maybe a little for George Springer.