The end of a long and hellish week in my long and hellish career.
What's life, after all, without a modicum of hell?
Thomas Hobbes way back in the 17th Century said that life in times of war (when aren't we at war?) is "nasty, brutish and short."
Jean Paul Sartre, said "Hell is other people."
Look at it this way, compared to them, I'm as cheery as Doris Day on uppers.
Teresa's been alone in the house I lived in so many summers ago when I played ball for the Seraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican League. Since Hector died five Christmases ago, Teresa has been getting along alone. But she's 88 now and while she's still spry, she'd be among the first to admit she's not getting any younger.
So my wife and I will be down in Saltillo for a week. Hugging Teresa, and Guillermo Sisto, my teammate, who lives just down the street. Sisto was the oldest player in the league when I was the second youngest. He had the locker next to mine and was my road-roomie when Karmen, my summer's inamorata, wasn't traveling with the team.
I don't know if I'll get to writing while I'm gone. Teresa's internet connection is spotty at best. And I ought probably spend my time with her, rather than here at my keyboard where I feel most comfortable.
The truth is, Hector and Teresa saved my life in the summer of '75, long before you were born. I was rounding third and heading home, looking to run into a serious self-destructive melee. A concussive collision at the plate between youth and stupidity.
Hector and Teresa took me in and gave me something I had never had before: Love.
They gave me a place to live, hands to hold, four shoulders to cry on. They became my mother and the father. I had never had, except for semantically, a mother and father before. To be clear, I never even knew there were people in the world who were just...kind. My parents had the patience of lit firecrackers. As Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy said in "On the Waterfront," "they thought they could beat some sense into me."
In all, I played for the Seraperos just 121 games in a season that lasted for me from June to November, 1975. Just 121 games, but I've stayed in touch with Hector and Teresa for the last 44 years.
Physical proximity doesn't make parents better. Psychic proximity does. And Hector and Teresa were always there when I needed them. Which is more than you can say about most people, friends, family, whatever.
I still need Teresa. I suspect I always will. As long as she's around. And even after she isn't any longer.
In the words of the Bard, it's a topsy-turvy world we live in now, where fair is foul and foul is fair. Most everything we used to believe in, rely on, hold to be true has vanished like your fist when you open up your hand. There are people running around who believe the earth is flat and miracle vaccines cause diseases.
Even that most enduring of all things, the oceans, are dying. And half our country thinks that's just a hoax. Though fish and krill and coral reefs would tell you otherwise. If we only listened.
Despite that turmoil, I've had an anchor in my life--a pair of anchors. Amid all the tossing and turning and the accelerating asininity of the world, I've had Hector and Teresa.
That's more than most people get. Even if my original equipment parents had all the staying power of an Italian ice on a hot August day.
We all need people we can talk to without saying a thing. We all needs hands we can hold and maybe even squeeze, even when we're thousands of miles apart.
That's life with a modicum of heaven.