Father’s Day with Nate

I didn’t see Nate most of the day yesterday. I got up early to check the news and baseball scores before heading over to the Doubleday Field parking lot to help our local Rotary Club’s fundraiser. Then, it was into Doubleday Field to watch the Hall of Fame Classic, the third annual old-timer’s game. Joey was there with me.

Finally, around 5 PM, I made my way to Karen’s aunt’s house for steak and scotch. I went looking for Nate in his usual hang-out in front of the TV with his papers organized around him like a moat.

“Nate!” I shouted happily when I saw him.

“Happy Father’s Day jerk!”

That’s Nate and, as Aunt Linda said, I wouldn’t take that from any other kid. I know his inflections, his humor, his manner, and it’s easy to shrug off and laugh at a greeting like that.

Nate ate his Hungry Man dinner – chicken fillets, mashed potatoes and NO corn (“I didn’t want that”). After we ate, Nate came outside to the deck for dessert and hung out for a little while before we left. On the walk home, the birds were chirping away.

“Hi, birdies!” Nate called. Karen and I heard him from 30 feet back. Later that evening, Nate stayed with us in our bedroom, watching cartoons and chattering away.

“Did you know Johnny Test  is of French-Canadian origin?” Whether Johnny Test the character or Johnny Test the show is from up North I couldn’t find out, though I tried. Maybe he made it all up. Regardless, it was a funny train of thought.

“Hey Dad, I’m addicted to Johnny Test.”

I liked that. I like any time that Nate reveals himself and how he views the world. After a while I passed out as he continued watching. My sleep was interrupted by an unsettled mass of dreams of frustration. I don’t know how much of that was Nate related; he wasn’t featured in any of them.

As I continued work this morning on my book proposal about Nate and our family and revisited some of our past achievements, there’s not much Nate-related disappointment today.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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