One of the legacies my father-in-law left his family is a true love for the game of baseball. In these last few days as we’ve gathered to mourn Dad’s death many of the stories we’ve told revolve around Dad’s passion for the game. Dad was an excellent player himself, a good hitter and savvy infielder, skills that some say could have taken him to the major leagues. He coached baseball and he even started a Sunday afternoon baseball league for kids in the large church where he was the Sunday School superintendent. After a full day’s work in the tomato field the five boys in the Driedger family were never too tired for an after supper ball game.
Trips to a Tigers game in nearby Detroit were an annual treat for Dad and his sons, and they went early to line up along the field during batting practice hoping for a chance to catch a foul ball or a home run ball. When our sons were small a Tiger game with Opa was also a special treat during our visits to Ontario.
This love of the game was inherited by subsequent generations. My husband Dave and his brothers all played ball for many years as adults. Most of the Driedger grandchildren love the game too. Both our sons played baseball right through highschool and one even worked for a time as an umpire.
And now the love of the game has passed to yet another generation. On Thursday night after our family had spent more than seven hours at the funeral home greeting the hundreds of people who had come to pay their last respects to Dad, we arrived back at my brother and sister-in- laws’ house to make the final arrangements for the funeral the next day. It was getting dark, but Nash, one of Dad’s great-grandchildren called out to my husband Dave, “Uncle Dave you want to play catch?” What could Dave say? So Nash went to find a ball and gloves and in the twilight he and his great-uncle tossed the ball back and forth in the backyard.
I think Dad would have smiled to see them.