Posted by: Jim E | June 15, 2013

“Field of Dreams”…Father’s Day…Baseball…My Dad…And Me…

Baseball is called America’s National Pastime…it is a truly an American game…and with Father’s Day upon us, it made me think of my Dad…he loved the game…he played it as a kid and as a young man…he was born in 1916 and he considered the years he grew up as the golden days of baseball…he always talked about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig with hushed tones…and he Reggin's house and new garage  1955mentioned many others as well, players that are in “the books” and were also in his heart…my Dad played first base and he wanted us to play that too…my older brother, Jack and my younger brother, Jerry both played first base, although Jerry was known more as being a pitcher…both of them were good baseball players…me, well I didn’t really love the game, but I played…I was a catcher, not bad at it…but just didn’t love the game like my Dad did…so though we all played it through high school, and Jerry through college…that is where we left it…

My Dad never finished high school but in his day, there were more opportunities, well maybe that is wrong…lets just say he took the opportunity that was there…I think he was enamored with the whole baseball hype of the day…the imagined lifestyle of Babe Ruth and others…they had almost a make-believe world that surrounded them…so my Dad played with a team in North Dakota…was it Fargo, or Bismarck, or Minot, I don’t remember…it was Class D professional baseball…but I do know Dad told me that it was not what he thought it was going to be…there were lots of minor leagues in those days, with players going up, and of course coming down from higher level teams…alcohol and rough living was not for him, so he came home…back to Minneapolis…

Elmquist family WW II 1944But baseball never lost its luster for him…he loved the game and followed it all the years of his life…he worked in the CCC camps before he and Mom got married…then WWII came…and though he played some ball in those years, his playing days were basically over…as with most men who served in WWII, the war changed my Dad…here a young man taken from the Midwest and sent to the South Pacific…like all of those young men, scared to death the whole time…wondering if you were going to come home or not…doing the job you were trained for but wishing you were back with your family and home…it was a changing time in his life too…so these years were difficult years for our family…after Judie and I got married and had kids…Dad took more an interest in our family…I remember when our kids were involved with sports, music, in school he was there…he and Mom were at every game and activity…just as he was when my brothers and I were involved with sports…he loved it all…

When Father’s Day was approaching I thought about my Dad and his love of baseball…then my mind went to the movie “Field of Dreams”…I hadn’t seen it in a number of years and I thought, “Is that a film about his father?”…so out it came and we sat down and watched it again…Oh, yes, it certainly is a Father’s Day movie…the quote we so often hear, “If you build it they will come.”…but really the quote is, “If you build it, he will come.”…so from start to finish, it is a story/dream about his relationship with his father…the “he” in the quote is his dad…I want to attach two parts of the end of the movie…the first when he talks to Shoeless Joe Jackson and then when he “plays catch” with his dad…it was a time of making up for a time he did not have with his father…mostly because of where he was at in his life and not so much where his dad was…

Most of us could have done better by our fathers and maybe our Father’s could have done better by us…and maybe our dreams will not “come true” as in this movie…but it may help us to better “put together” our feelings, our dreams, our lives…as we attempt to do better than we have or that we have experienced…would I suggest that you watch “Field of Dreams” for Father’s Day?…I sure would…and view it from the start as about “Ray’s” father…that theme is there from the very beginning…enjoy…

img070This weekend, I will do what I always did when Dad was alive…to love and honor him…we went through some deep waters together, both as I grew up and later in life…but all that time I tried to do what the Bible exhorts us to do (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2-3) …to love and honor our parents…and this seems like a fitting day to do just that…

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