After While Crocodile
Frodo's father worked hard long hours for very little money, and he was never, ever, home. He was a part of the "Greatest Generation," and he taught Frodo that a father was not what he wanted to be when the opportunity availed itself. Every Hobbit, it seems, has memories such as these, and perhaps that is the only reason for the words upon this page.
He had a pickup truck long before pickup trucks became fashionable in the suburbs. The rules were confusing in those days, and Frodo remembers once observing his father turn into a weigh station on a major thoroughfare in order to meet the requirements for trucks. The state employee swatted them on with a wave of his hand, and a snicker. He could not help noting the West Virginia plates on the pickup. Frodo's friends thought the pickup was "cool," and did their collective best to get a ride in the bed of the pickup while Frodo rode on the passenger side en banc.
One Saturday, the Boy's Club Baseball Team for Hobbits under the age of 15 was to play a game in Alexandria, and Frodo's father had a rare day off. Arrangements were made for all of Frodo's teammates to meet at the Shire, and to ride in the bed of the pickup together to the baseball game. None imagined, nor have any likely forgotten that such a ride is immensely uncomfortable. No matter to Frodo, because, for the first time, his father was going to be at a game to watch Frodo play.
Alexandria was right across the river from our Nation's Capitol, whatever that was, and considerably more metropolitan than Frodo's home. Frodo could not help but notice that there were some dark-skinned people in the stands, which struck him as odd since there were no dark-skinned Hobbits on either of the teams about to engage each other that sunny afternoon. No matter to Frodo, since his father stood behind first base serving as the First-base Coach. All that mattered was that Frodo deliver and properly impress that man behind first base.
The game was very close, and when Frodo came to bat in the final inning, after completing all of his good luck mumbo-jumbo, he noted two Alexandria Hobbits standing arm-in-arm with a dark-skinned Hobbit, and he stared at them as if he had never seen anything so alien, and, in truth, he never had. It did not take long for them to note the stares of Frodo, and they stared back. They stayed there, smugly watching for Frodo to fail, like he probably should have.
When the opposing pitcher raised a fastball into the wheelhouse of the Hobbit, it was greeted by the product of a properly turned gluteus maximus and a 33 ounce Mickey Mantle bat. Pulled with all of his right-handed might, the ball carried high and deep into left field and, as Frodo is proud to note, the fielder is probably still chasing that ball. Frodo circled the bases, noting that the three Hobbits had turned away and were walking as if nothing significant had taken place. Frodo had been so involved that he'd forgotten to look to his father as he passed by first base.
No matter, thought Frodo, we'll simply "high-five" at the end of the inning. Frodo's father stared at him, not knowing for what reason Frodo held his palm up high. Frodo asked what his father thought, only to here the admission that Frodo's father, too, had been watching the three Hobbits, and did not see the mighty blast of Frodo.
Frodo rode in the back of the pickup truck with his teammates, all of whom noted Frodo's contribution to the victory. All of whom also talked about more than the three inter-racial spectators, but the number of "niggers" watching kids play baseball when they needed to be working for their welfare.
Frodo's father came to three or four games over the years to follow, but he never saw Frodo hit another home run. He also never heard him use the word "nigger" ever again.
Posted by loveysdaddyga
at 10:15 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 10:31 AM EST