'Fetty Sherman' days are gone but not forgotten
The first column I ever wrote for the Post-Bulletin ran in July of 2004. I wrote it about my son, Jake, who at the time was nearing his seventh birthday and who was in the early stages of what ultimately became an obsession with baseball.
I had acquired from a person I knew a key to the warming house at Austin’s Fayette Sherman Park, which was just a block away from where we lived at the time and inside of which the park and recreation department would house that park’s pitching machine once the baseball season started. I had promised Jake we’d be using it to work on his hitting.
Starting in about the middle of May, every day when I got home from work Jake would bounce out the door of the house, wrap as big a hug around me as he was capable of and ask, "Can we go see if the pitching machine is there yet?"
After weeks of checking, eventually we opened the door to find the machine sitting there with a bucket of balls along side it. Needless to say Jake’s bat got quite a workout over the ensuing few weeks.
Fast forward about seven years. We no longer live a block away from the park Jake had called "Fetty Sherman," I long ago passed that key off to another dad with an eager young hitter, and Jake is 13.
Having taken a little break from writing for the last month or so, I thought this was an appropriate time to bring up my first column because of how much has changed since I wrote it, particularly as it relates to the father/son dynamic.
You know, I can remember Jake being an infant and people telling me to enjoy every day of it because they grow up fast and before you know it they’re teenagers. They weren’t kidding.
I don’t remember the last time I was met at the door with a hug from Jake. He’s too wrapped up in his social life to notice his parents much.
When he was at Sumner he used to invite us to have lunch with him once in a while. I’m pretty sure I wrote about it at the time. Last night as we were preparing dinner he informed us how horrifying it would be if that happened now. Gee, thanks.
It also wasn’t that long ago that he had the same music taste as I do. We used to be in total agreement about our dislike for rap music and how the word rap should really start with a C.
Well, you guessed it. Now the reverberations of people rhyming to drum machines about a variety of cultural and social issues can often be heard resonating throughout our house. I can only hope I’m not witnessing a precursor to a "pants on the ground," sideways baseball cap phase.
A friend who has been through it all once told me to enjoy the attention I was getting from Jake because with his teenage son it was "all about his buds," and that his son’s friends were beginning to have as much influence over his son as he was.
So, with spring nearing as hockey winds down and we begin to move back to baseball mode, I find myself hoping that it’s me Jake wants to go out and throw the baseball or go to the batting cage with, at least part of the time anyway.
If it’s a friend instead, well that’s life as the parent of a teenager. I have to remember to recognize that Jake is growing up and becoming his own person, and I can’t take that personal. Instead, I need to let it happen and go along for the ride, hoping to steer him down the correct paths.
It sure would be a lot easier with "Eleanor Rigby" resonating through the house, though.