The Wish

The Wish

by Larry W Lawson
The Wish

The Wish

by Larry W Lawson


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It's a story about the love of baseball, an old man, a little boy, and a magical experience. A story, where two people slow down and take a better look at life, finally seeing the forest without the trees getting in the way. It's a story with a magical twist putting new meaning on second chances. Life can be good, difficult, or hard. To survive, we keep looking straight ahead with a steady pace. Occasionally, it's the simple things that have the most value. A story for all ages. The old guys to remember how good they were. The young men to help them realize the value of things before it's too late. And especially the little kids. To give them more desire and determination. I am hoping this story will give them confidence to go way beyond their ability and dreams.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491811238
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 08/30/2013
Pages: 58
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.14(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Larry W. Lawson


Copyright © 2013 Larry W. Lawson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4918-1123-8



The town is a small southern town, maybe average size, with plenty of soft southern sunshine. It's one of those towns where everybody knows everybody. Almost, as if it were nestled in a little valley forgotten by time, where keeping a secret is next to impossible.

A quaint little breeze blows through the trees and flower gardens as a train whistle bellows lonesome in the distance. Looking around at the buildings was like looking back into the past. They were old and ancient, but still looked pretty good. Folks around here take a lot of pride and patience in preserving things. People are always tinkering and patching, adding a little new with the old, and somehow still managing to keep the old down home friendly face. It's a kind of laid back, slower look at life sort of place.

The old two room school house was fixed up pretty nice and was made into a museum. The train depot is simply grand too. There's always something interesting to look at there. Just standing inside, you can almost hear the echoes of time moving all around you. Makes you want to stop and listen as your mind wonders how things were back then. Stepping outside next to the tracks you can almost hear the conductor as he yells, "All Aboard!"

Yep, things are pretty neat around here, but my favorite place is the old ball stadium. It's not like the fancy stadiums nowadays. It starts just beyond first base, circling home plate, and goes just beyond third base. It's made mostly of oak and hickory boards as wide as home plate. It's about fifteen or twenty rows of seats reaching up toward the sky with a tin roof stretching out over the crowd to keep the sun off.

You can stand on the field and look toward home plate and pretend you are in a big league park. It is one of my favorite places to bring a lunch and sit in the shade listening to the boards pop and crack. Sometimes, if it was hot enough, the boards popped so loud it sounded like a bat hitting a ball. The howling of the breeze through the cracks sounded like the cheer and chatter of the crowd. Some folks say it's the ghosts of fans and ballplayers still having fun.

It was always fun to look at all the hearts, with initials carved in them, to see who loved who throughout the years. Hee, Hee! Over in the corner is Dad's name, but mine is in the other.

Yes, this is a nice little town. We even have a town dog, old Joe. He sleeps on the corner at the busiest crosswalk in town. He's been there for years waiting on the school kids, looking for a pat on the head or a leftover lunch. He's probably eaten more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than a bread truck could carry away.

The ice cream parlor on the corner is probably the busiest place in town. I believe every kid in town has used the old parking meter in front for a merry-go-round. I did, and still do from time to time. The concrete around the base has just about had all it can stand. That old meter is about as wobbly as a one legged duck on ice. It doesn't work anymore. It's had the same penny stuck in it for decades. I believe everybody in town has had their pocket knives in it trying to get it out. They say lightning struck it back in the thirties welding everything together. It's the only meter in town now and has become more like a historical marker.

I've often heard the old men in town talk of the lightning around here; near misses, strange happenings, unexplained events that no one was able to figure out. Talk as if the lightning had a mind of its own and eyes that look right into yours and could see your thoughts. As if its strands of light were fingers caressing an object it admired, like a kid in a toy shop. There was also that haunting laugh that no one had an explanation for. All kinds of tales and stories that kept a little boy sitting on the edge of his seat, with eyes and mouth wide open and his head under his pillow when a storm is coming.

I guess every town has had its moments or events that through time have been added to making mountains out of mole hills. It sure makes for a good conversation, like the saying, "Believe It Or Not."

I see an old man in his late sixties, still able to walk unassisted, taking short choppy steps almost sliding his feet at times. His body stooped with age and fingers that cannot bend enough to really grip anything tight. He looks like he might have been stout as an oak tree when he was in his prime.

He had worked hard all his life starting at an early age, working on other people's farms and in the hot noisy factories. He put in many a shift inside the earth digging coal. In those days, a man earned his money with a pick, a shovel, and the strength in his back. Yes, looking at him now, time and hard work have taken their toll.

The lines run deep across his brow. His skin is dry and calloused, feels and looks like ancient leather. He often spoke of those days as if each day or event had a name, especially the ones that left a scar or special notch on his memory.

The old man is my dad. He lives with me now since mom died. Like most old folks, he's cantankerous and doesn't like to take orders from little whipper-snappers like me. He said I hadn't lived long enough to know anything, even if I was next to forty.

I'd listen to his stories of life and the "what I should have dones" and the "if a man could haves" with open ears, even though I'd heard them a hundred times. There was always a little advice along the way. I tried not to let on like I was listening to that. I guess I just wanted to hoe my own row without any help. Looking back, that advice has been worth its weight in gold.

Today it seems the stories have taken on a whole new atmosphere; Kind of strange and chilling, but yet like a still calm, a smooth and sweet feeling. When a person gets used to something, it's always there; like a house, a tree, or a mountain. Then there comes a day when for no reason it just looks different. Today was that day for me. I'd always looked up to him. He was my hero! Today for the first time in my life, he looked like an old man, tired and worn, beaten down by time.

It was Sunday and he wanted to go down to the little park about a half mile down the street. It was his favorite place to go, to sit for hours in the cool breeze and shade. Just enjoying the beauty of nature and recalling yesterdays.

There was a gazebo with a picnic table in it and benches along a narrow path that winds around all through the park. There were trees that took almost a dozen kids to reach around and a little stream just big enough for small children to jump across. They had a good time cooling off. The smell of hotdogs and fried chicken was always in the air.

It took him some time but he sat down on the grass in a clearing where he could see the children play. "The grass feels good here," he said.

He seemed to get a lot of enjoyment from watching the kids play and giggle. There was a smile on his face and the look in his eyes as if his mind was going back to another time. A time that was good in his life.

Getting out a cold drink and a piece of chicken from our picnic basket, he said, "Nothing like Sundays and fried chicken.

Today seemed so slow, as if time was trying to stand still. The rush, rush, rush and hurry, hurry, hurry could not be found. What little noise there was seemed to be far off, barely able to be heard. Someone was ringing a church bell and it echoed throughout the whole valley.

While we ate, we talked of the weather, old cars, some of the hot rods of his day. He talked about best friends, girl friends, baseball and Mom. A little boy caught a frog by the creek and was trying to put it in his sister's hair.

"I remember doing that," he said. "Hee, Hee! Been there, done that."

A few moments passed. The old man grew silent. "A penny for your thoughts," I asked?

"You know, life and your job have a way of taking things from you or just simply passing you by. Pick and choose. Pick and choose. I've always hated that part of life," he said. "So many days I'd like to have over again to change things if I could. So many things I'd like to do different; to take advantage of the moment. In all my years I have learned one thing; some things in life are only once in a lifetime. If you miss that moment or that special something, it's gone and gone forever. There are no second chances. Yes, I missed my moments and those special somethings. It grieves my heart that I let it happen. Trying to provide for my family came first," he said trying to hold back the tears. He pressed his lips together and looked down at the ground.

I looked in his face and saw a tear running down his cheek and his stare was looking far off. For a moment, I could almost feel his heart breaking. I just sat there not knowing what to say or how to comfort him. In his heart and mind, he truly had suffered a great loss.

Drying a tear from his cheek, he said, "I wish it was possible to have a wish, just one wish to come true. I would gladly give up tomorrow for one more yesterday." From the look on his face I knew he meant it. "They say it's not good to dwell on the past," he said, "but I think if a fellow took a closer look at the past it would make tomorrow much easier, perhaps. Yes, it would be a fair trade! He paused for a moment and said, "Tomorrow, for one yesterday? Yes I would! I would."

Curiosity got the best of me and I had to ask, "What day would you trade for Dad?"

"Well," he said. "A long time ago I missed a baseball game. Probably the most important game there ever was. I let it slip right through my fingers. I thought there would be another. I thought I'll go to the next one, I'm too tired today. Boy was I wrong!"

Dad was a big baseball fan. He never got a chance to play much as a boy. He became a New York Mets fan after they won the sixty-nine World Series. "Those Mets," he said, "the youngsters trying to prove they belong, and the old men on the team ready for retirement playing their hearts out as if they were nineteen again. Playing like there was no tomorrow. Giving the young guys a lesson on how playing from your heart can change things. The love for the game was definitely on the field in that World Series! That's the way it should be played. That's the way it should be played everyday. That's baseball!"

As he talked, I just sat quietly listening. You could almost hear his thoughts before he spoke.

"I love baseball!" he said. "My dad, your papaw, used to take me down to the stadium," he laughed. "That's what we called it, but it was new then. Oh, and it was a dandy stadium indeed!" he said. As he talked of how things looked back then, you would have thought he was describing the Titanic with all its splendor.

He said, "Your papaw and me would come down after church on Sundays to watch the semi-pro teams play. "Semi-pro," he said, guys that loved playing baseball anywhere from the age of fourteen to fifty something. Those were the good old days in baseball. I can still remember those old guys having the time of their lives still pretending to be twelve years old again. Some of them were darn good ball players. It's sad they never got a chance at the majors. That old stadium was the place where they could come live their dream; put on a uniform one more time."

Sitting there puzzled, I could not figure that one out! Trading tomorrow for a ballgame! I thought Dad had finally lost all his marbles. What a trade!

Looking out over the park with our bellies full of chicken and soda pop, I could see a huge shadow approaching really fast; like a predator hovering and circling its prey. The wind started to pick up, putting a little chill in the air. Looking up, I could see this giant black cloud starting to cover the park so low to the ground you could almost reach up and touch it or get a piece in your hand. The children were running for cover as the picnickers started to pack up.

"Looks a lot like rain this time Dad," I said.

"Let's get in the gazebo. It should pass soon," he said.

The trees started to sway as the wind got stronger and stronger making the big oaks and maples pop and crack. Gushes of wind came over the hill like an army charging into battle to face the enemy wave after wave. Then the wind started sweeping and swirling, twisting into a small funnel shaped tornado as it came dancing up the path toward the gazebo. As I looked deeper into the swirl, I could see with astonishment what looked like a face. A face of leaves, eyes that could stare you down, a nose and big smirking smile that just dared you to speak. The howling wind started to sound more and more like a loud taunting laugh, frightening yet magical and mysterious.

Boom! A bolt of lightening just struck a mighty oak. Ripping the bark open as it came shimmering down the tree and slowly disappearing into the grass, leaving a trail of ash and smoke. Then another and another! I had never seen lightening strike so many times in one small place as if trying to put on a show.

"You ever see anything like this before Dad?" I asked.

"No sir I haven't!" he replied. "Nobody is gonna believe this!"

The rain started giving everything a reflective glassy look when the lightening flashed. We stayed in the middle of the gazebo huddled against each other trying to stay dry. After about fifteen minutes the lightening calmed down and seemed to be over. Then all at once, Zap, Zap, Boom! There were two bolts of lightening so close together you could only hear one roar of thunder; a roar that sounded like a horrible beast. One bolt of lightening passed right through the gazebo, right in front of us. You could feel the heat as it passed. The other struck the top of the gazebo and the rain and lightening came pouring off the roof as we were surrounded in a beautiful electric waterfall. We watched in awe as we were caressed by the lightening inside the gazebo. It happened so quickly but it seemed to last forever. As we watched, things started spinning faster and faster and faster.

"What's happening Dad," I yelled.

"I don't know son," he replied.

"I'm getting dizzy Dad, I'm getting dizzy!" I shouted.

"Me too, I think I'm going to pass out!" he said.

I could feel myself slipping away as I lay on the floor. My eyes were wide open but all I could see was the spinning funnel. "We've been struck by lightening," was my first thought. Are we going to die? Am I near death? Is Dad OK? Is there anyone around to help us? A thousand thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to keep my consciousness. I tried and tried to speak, but nothing would come out. My body seemed to be paralyzed, unable to move. I soon lost the battle of trying to keep my eyes open and I slowly drifted into total darkness.

As consciousness finally overtook the darkness, lying on my back I could see a clear blue sky. The sun was shinning so bright and warm and the feeling in my hands and legs was coming back. To my surprise, I was lying on grass, and not in the gazebo. I was hesitant to rise up to look around. I was afraid of the worst. I was afraid of finding myself dead.

After a minute or so, I got the nerve to rise up about half way on my elbows. As I tried to focus my eyes and look around, I could see I was in a pasture field. While I was lying there trying to figure out if I was alive or dead, a baseball rolled up against my leg. The sound of laughter was in the air. I heard someone say, "You should have caught that one." As I rose up I could see a man wearing a baseball cap and glove. He was laughing so hard I thought he would bust.

"What a play!" he said.

"Get up," yelled the man, "no resting today. We got a game to play."

"Play ball," he yelled.

I got up more puzzled than ever as I looked around. There were kids everywhere wearing ball gloves and hats. As I looked closer, the kids were so familiar. Why that's my brothers Elrod and Leon! Those other kids are the guys that used to live around us when we were growing up.

By now things were starting to freak me out. Where was I? Why is everybody so young looking? I started turning around and I could see the house we lived in when I was a boy. There is the barn and that old truck looks a lot like the one Dad drove. Things were getting stranger by the minute. I stopped for a second and slowly reached out my hands. As I looked at them, my heart almost stopped when I saw how small they were. I looked down at my clothes. I'm wearing a pair of bibbed overalls with a hole in the knee. I remember those because they were my favorite. They were big and baggy on me but I loved them anyway.

Cautiously, I reached for my face. It was so soft and so smooth. I can't believe it! I broke out in a run toward the old truck as fast as I could go. Everybody was yelling "Come back! Come back! Play ball!" I ran over to the truck and turned the mirror around to see myself. Oh no! It can't be, it can't be! I was ten years old again! My heart was racing like a runaway train. It's me, but it can't be me! But it is me! The lightening killed me! No, I'm not dead, I'm just dreaming! Wake up, wake up! Can't wake up, what am I going to do?

Excerpted from THE WISH by Larry W. Lawson. Copyright © 2013 Larry W. Lawson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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