March 26, 2011

The baseball season reminds me the past not pastime but my past.   My fondest memories growing up were visiting my grandpa in a small Catholic town in Northeast Kansas.  Rumor has it that he was known for his wine making throughout the region, as he was a second-generation immigrant from wine country in Germany. When we visited grandpa, after hugs and hellos, the first thing grandpa would say, “Now, you kids stay out of the grapes.” Naturally, this command only enticed me more to investigate his crop; yes, I was a spunky child.  I would head directly outside and meander through the grapevines, observing the intertwining, curling branches that thickly hung on a sagging wired support what seemed endless. The heart shape leaves displayed a countless pallet of green tones while the thin curling arms provided entertainment as I pulled them out straight and watch with enthusiasm, as they would spring back into a tight coil.

Eventually my yearning for the forbidden fruit would capture my attention and I would find a secluded area and pluck one of the mammoth grapes; they were the size of shooter marbles and just as hard. I loved seeing the green ones juxtaposed next to the violet fruits. I would carefully peel the grape, revealing its succulent fruit beneath the bluish violet skin. It was so smooth and juicy as I rolled it around inside my inquisitive mouth. I would hear grandpa’s favorite pastime linger out the windows and guilt would heavily rest upon my Catholic shoulders, and I would trek back.  Once inside, I would crawl upon grandpa’s lap as he listened to the baseball game on a huge walnut upright floor radio while sipping a lukewarm beer.

I managed to escape any accusations of stolen fruit but it did imprint a delightful era in my years.  I suppose grandpa’s affection of sports naturally influenced my father, who loved all sports. If it involved a ball, my dad knew how to manipulate and conquer the rules accompanied.   I spent a great deal of my childhood on baseball fields, not by choice but accompanying my dad to amateur team practices.


Anyway, the reason for this story is that this vessel is called, “Stitches” I was never enthralled with sports, I was more intrigued by the stitching on the balls, the baseball has pleasurable hand stitching that loops around and back again, and the lattice of pigskin with its bumpy leather texture were much more tactile to caress.  I never understood the white bare lines of a tennis ball but it reminded me of the white boundary lines of a baseball field. The pentagonal sections on a soccer ball were puzzling.  The black circular lines of a basketball, well they were not stitched, but they could have been.  The one ball I could call my friend was a tethered ball, one that could not get away from me.  Am I admitting that I am ball challenged? You bet!  Balls are an extensive part of my past with a love-hate relationship, given a choice art lessons would have been my pick.   Although sports tend to bore me, they are a part of the total sum of my existence and so this vessel is inspired by my past.


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