Twenty-five years ago this fall, with the trickle of one ball into right field, they threw Bill Buckner to the curb. Dismissing the former Cub’s stellar career, fans discarded a batting champ and ignored history, showing neither loyalty nor sense of family. But not Jason. Not my son-in-law. Born and bred in Chitown, his values ran deeper.

Chicago was great this weekend. Stace, Jace and Adam were just as I’d left them, and yet…they weren’t.

This is a time of transition for the Bohrers—nine months of movement, expansion and growth. It is a year that sees them rhythmically transposing from newlyweds to young marrieds. Indeed, their union, like the flow of a pennant-winning season, has built on spring excitement with all eyes on the fall. Accordingly, in some ways, this trip specifically, I felt like a “middle reliever.” (Sure, everyone was glad to see me, but still, it was like the seventh inning, with everyone watching the scoreboard).

Stacy’s my baby. Capricious, funny, nurturing, she fits well in The Windy City. Thank God. There’s a better chance I’ll get pregnant than there is Jason would move. And that is fine.

Arriving Friday I saw her new office. In The Loop, it sits adjacent to a TV station, and is big and clean. What’s noteworthy is that at day’s end, as I stood waiting in the lobby, not ONE of the maybe eighty-five people preceding her was my senior. Chicago isn’t just a young town—it’s pre-pubescent.

The beauty of family weekends is that only the company matters; activities, as fun as they are, are but side dishes. An hour in Target (with Stacy) trumps sixty minutes at any poker tourney. (Well…almost any….or, most…or, at least this Saturday, when after months of searching I found a treasure trove of my favorite gum: Trident Peppermint Splash!

It was a thrill, though, just watching them shop;

“What do you think of this?” asked Jason.
“Whichever one you want,” said Stacy.
“I’ll get this one,” he confirmed.
“Well—are you sure you don’t like this one better?”
“You’re right,” said JS.

(Ah…I too once wore his shoes)…

One thing that had changed was Adam. There was a time he knew me—a time, even years post-kidnapping, he’d pick up my scent. I mentioned this to Stacy, in passing, but she ignored me, (intent rather to point out Jason— in the other room— putting furniture together).

“Can you go see if he needs your help?”
“OK,” I said, and like Pavlov’s dog, then uttered: “Jason, do you need my help?”
The Little One rolled her eyes (as if perhaps I should get up off the couch and actually go in the other room to ask).
“What you need is a Dick Lomaz.” I grumbled. (How many times must I tell her?)
She just doesn’t get it.
“I’m helping Jason more by staying out here.” I pointed out.
She didn’t laugh, but she did give up.

It was a weekend of anticipation, all eyes forward.

“Don’t leave,” she urged plaintively on Sunday. “Go tomorrow.” (There was as much chance of that happening as there was Jason WANTING my help).

We were hanging out…waiting before I left. From the rear came Jason, brandishing a picture, framed in wood.

“Look,” he beamed, “Buckner autographed it himself. It may go in the living room—above the television.” There was a vacant wall just above the set that begged for attention. Nodding approval I saw Stacy cringe.

“You aren’t serious!” she shried.

I WAS serious, you know…but kept my mouth shut.  I, you see, understood.  The Little One: she viewed it as a ball player. No more, no less. That’s her right.

Everyone, though, sees art differently, (including me).

I saw more than Buckner on that cloth, I swear. There was love and history on the canvas.  I felt it. And a sense of loyalty too, and family…

It struck me that indeed, if I was building a home, that wouldn’t be a bad start.  Especially this November.

***** ***** ***** ******                             I first heard of the Ex-Cub Factor at the Maisonette Restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was 1990 and David and I were there for the opening of the World Series. It will be two years next month that we lost David. I think of him all the time. He was a man of love, of family, and of steadfast loyalty.

One Response to “THE EX-CUB FACTOR”

  1. Stacy says:

    I love you!!

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