Written by Gus
I hadn’t a clue of where we landed.
Having spent close to a week in what I call “automotive anguish” – a self-diagnosed condition – and abruptly awaking from a deep puppy sleep, I wasn’t the most stable source of time and space, despite my famous nostrils.
Dad walked the dim property while I watched from Betty’s front seat. He seemed to be surveying our location in alignment with the missing sun. Dad can’t hide his plotting face; his eyes squint in a manner only I can spot. Nothing is classified between master and pup.
As my senses adjusted, the scene began to focus. Grass and dirt teamed for a field of a certain sport. To the right, a white farmhouse stood respectfully out of play. The horizon had a rich orange tint as if brushed by Monet. A ring of corn framed the painting.
Dad’s investigation lasted a torturous ten minutes. I’d yet to figure his intentions, but there was nothing vague about his stride. He knew the ground he walked and yearned to drink its pulp. When he returned to Betty, dad briefed me on the situation.
Our whereabouts were that of Dyersville, Iowa. Snout analytics quickly confirmed the latitude. This particular pasture? Some place called Field of Dreams.
Dad referred to it as “extra sacred soil” – and not because Kevin Costner once ran its bases (never heard of the guy) – because it existed as a space for all to Remember. Our only caveat? The site had closed three hours past.
Hence the empty parking lot. Hence the holy hush. Hence dad’s deliberation – an unusual delay for such a rule-averse soul. And then, with a gentle tone – one that had no intention of disturbing the moment – he spoke…
“Well, our timing is certainly no accident.”
His inference read like a teleprompter – one without need for a single word more. Resting on an altar was a moment tailor-made to our road vision. Capturing it was all that remained. I hoisted my ears to peak elevation (a.k.a. my “YES lift”).
The next thing I felt was the moist dew of the right field turf. In a sprint fueled from Within, dad and I had travelled the length of the outfield… back… and back again faster than Harry Potter could apparate. The stretch of our legs was no match to the stretch of our Souls.
As we panted in unison, Betty but a blip in the dusky distance, dad did the one thing, the only thing, that could have heightened the moment… he reached for his pocket.
Being a seasoned veteran, I can spot “the reach” before the hand ever decides to move. It’s not a craft you master overnight.
Years of study and concentration sharpen one’s ability to discern a pen reach from a key reach – a key reach from a phone reach – and a phone reach from a ball reach. By the grace of the road gods, this was, in fact, the holy grail of reaches. I grounded my stance and assumed the position.
There was no audience to witness the performance of my career – and honestly, we didn’t want it any other way. All that emanated was the click of ball to jaw and paws to earth. In between, there was nothing – a nothingness that somehow held it ALL. Dad was right. This wasn’t any old patch of grass, it oozed an ethereal scent.
Ray wanted a catch. I wanted a fetch.
The final toss – a two-hopper that I athletically turned into one – came sooner than I’d have liked. It wasn’t until my return jog, though, as dad’s silhouette disappeared into deep centerfield, that the entirety of the moment changed gears.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any darker, they did. When I met him in the corn, twilight was completely gone. The stalks towered not only my short stature, but dwarfed dad’s too. It was like some sort of vegetable portal – a doorway mighty enough to drop my ball to the ground and halt dad in his tracks. A shy summer breeze embellished the script.
“Can you feel it, pup?” dad whispered. His eyes closed and arms V-ed wide. We were miles from the nearest church, but something baptismal appeared to be happening. Together, we breathed.
“Heaven on earth,” he continued. “Take it all in.”
It wasn’t until the following afternoon (and several home run trots later) that the importance of our Iowa evening integrated fully. Eight days and 2,000 miles in the making, all roads had led us to that specific piece of farmland at that specific tick in time — a cosmic payoff at the conclusion of a lengthy journey.
So, you wanna know the secret to capturing the moment?
Wiggle the rules.
Take the Game into your own hands.
After all, what other game is there?