The summer of 1961 was all about baseball; specifically, all about the Detroit Tigers. There were games on radio, as well as games on television -- in that year, not a one was to be missed -- even for my cousin's wedding.
I fell asleep to the play-by-play of west coast games. The radio in the car had to be tuned to a game if we were traveling, much to my younger sister's consternation. Shopping trips were spent in the TV department of some large store watching the games while Mom accomplished whatever errands brought her to the mall.
I lived each victory, and each defeat. I new the stats of all the players -- which are probably still languishing in some inaccessible compartment of my brain. I lived the games in the quiet of my mind, night and day.
I know now that it was a summer obsession where baseball ruled the biochemistry of my twelve year old brain. This became glaringly true as we attended my cousin's midsummer wedding.
The wedding was at 11 a.m. with the reception following. The game with the hated Yankees was at 1 p.m. Mom was adamant: "No you cannot listen to the game. This is your cousin's wedding." My face fell and out of the corner of my eye, I saw my father's wink.
The reception was in a hall with lunch followed by the inevitable polka band. Lunch seemed to take forever with all that silly kissing and toasting. Dad kept telling me to be "patient", as if a twelve year old knows anything about patience. Wedding ritual followed wedding ritual in a precisely choreographed sequence.
Finally the band struck up; people started milling around. Dad grabbed my hand and we sped to the parking lot. We unlocked the car and turned up the radio on that white Pontiac Catalina. We enjoyed three blissful innings before we were caught in the act by Mom. Her look was enough. With deep sighs we returned to the party -- co-conspirators in the afternoon escape.