August 11, 2010

Detante and the Miracle Baby

What inspired this post is that the wind blew out on the north side of Chicago today, which made the Cincinnati Reds broom sweep Wrigley Field clean. Last night the Reds practically handed it to the Cubs, but still managed to pull one out.

We were introducing our families for the first time, and it did not help in the least that Hermann's oldest brother informed my parents that "we have relatives in Florida who are seasonal fruit pickers."

Hermann and I were leaving the Hoosier State -- together -- and both families were dubious about our pairing. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being a seasonal fruit picker, but these were very distant cousins, and not possibly the greatest thing to point out as their youngest brother left with this obviously wicked woman for the Sunshine State.

My father was extremely suspicious of this young man -- in retrospect this seems silly. Both of them are intense, brilliant men. My father was an educator, my husband is an educator. They are both readers, and curious about the world.

My family is Lutheran -- his family was fairly Pentecostal. The worst thing of all was not the difference in religion.

No, it was something far more insidious. My future husband is a Cincinnati Reds fan, while my father is a die hard Cubs fan. I converted, and it broke my father's heart.

It could have been worse: I could have married someone who followed the American League.

For about seven years these men just grunted in each other's presence. We got through the courtship and the wedding and my husband earning two advanced degrees.

Nothing impressed my father. My husband got a tenure-track position, and all my Dad could think about was the low level of husband I chose. And one who supported the Cincinnati Reds.

Then came 1990 which heralded the arrival of my father's first grandchild. Days before the baby 's birth, my father came to help my husband assemble the crib. The crib was delivered in a large box from Sears and Roebuck and contained a diagram prepared by NASA, primarily in Mandarin Chinese and hieroglyphics.

These two highly educated men, who generally observed each other like opponents at a Russian chess match, put aside their differences for a hormonal, plus-size maternity patient who was overdue and crabby.

Except for the fact that there were screws and bolts left over after the six-hour assemblage finished, the crib looked fine and the "boys" had bonded. What happened in that room with the large blue clowns on the wall?

I will never know, but presenting my father with his first grandchild, whose middle name is my family name of origin and thus my father's name, cemented the bond.

Many baseball games, later, one thing my father did not get out of the deal was another Cubs fan as evidenced by this photo below of the Miracle Baby on a Pinellas County, Florida beach in October 1990 on the same day the team from southern Ohio clinched the World Series.

Being in first place in August is a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

As my son would say, "Bruuuuuuuuuuuce."