Two of Us Riding Nowhere

“Dad, you’re late for your post,” Nate told me.

He was right. My iPhone had chimed with the pre-set alarm reminding me it was time to log in. Truth is, I’ve been writing all week, but not Mission of Complex stuff. I’m in the midst of some rewrites for a book proposal, so posting has taken a back seat.

It’s that time of year again, when Nate and I are standing solo.  Karen and Joey are in Los Angeles, Robbie still in Brazil. We’ve been yukking it up a lot since Friday. Seems like this year we’re cracking each other up a lot.

It can be difficult to keep up with Nate’s desires. The kid always wants to know what we’re going to do every minute of the day, and, more importantly, what we’re having for lunch and dinner. Just when you think you’ve stumbled on the perfect time killing event, he’s already on to later, or tomorrow, or Tuesday. There’s not even a second of enjoying the present.

Yesterday, after a busy morning of meetings, Nate and I headed south to Binghamton. I love revisiting my old college town, but rarely do I have a destination of my own. Nate always has other plans, like visiting the new Christmas Tree Shop of Johnson City, the renovated bathroom at Toys ‘R Us virtually next door, and the rehabbed McDonald’s on Main St., Binghamton. Fortunately, wherever we are in the Carousel City and environs, there are memories galore, like the gas station I used to go to my sophomore year, down the hill from the Ely Park townhouses where I lived. I can see myself from that time, filling the old blue Monza, with the WAAL on (probably playing Asia, to my dismay). I soon discovered WHRW, our college station, and just in time.

Nate is 21 & 1/2, the age I was in the middle of my senior year in college. I couldn’t help thinking about that as we drove around. I looked over at him, thought of me, and marvelled at where I am today. (Mentally, it’s miles away. Physically, I was just about in the same geographical place).

Who coulda thunk it back then, when my cares were limited to my records, my grades and whether I’d ever have a girlfriend? Such are the things that, in retrospect, were so monumental, yet now so silly. I guess that comes with age and perspective.

Last night Nate hung around with me and wanted to sleep in my room. I told him no, but this morning he came in pretty early, so there was no point in refusing. As the day went on, he seemed a little under the weather with all the aches – stomach, head, back. He complained about everything, but was good-natured when I informed him I needed to work on the proposal for a couple of hours. I promised him Chinese food for dinner, which kept him going. A side trip to the supermarket was a big thrill. Tonight he’s on his own. It’s the 500th episode of The Simpsons and he doesn’t need me around for that.

Tomorrow? Well, we’ll see. I’ve got to get back to work, though I promised him a few local errands and lunch at New York Pizzeria. Dinner? It’s already arranged: Chicken Kiev and rice pilaf. But I know tonight, around 8:30 when his show ends, I’ll hear this:

“Dad, what are we going to have for dinner on Tuesday night?”

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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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