One of the things I used to enjoy the most when I was eight or nine years old was hitting rocks with a stick. I especially enjoyed this activity when I went to my Grandparent’s house.
Grandpa and Grandma lived on the end of an old dirt road and of course that road was loaded with…rocks! I couldn’t wait to get there on a summer day back in the late 50’s. I’d go down to the road right next to the barn and find me a stick about the length of a baseball bat and make a pile of rocks about the size of a quarter. It didn’t matter that the stick was skinny because I could hit those rocks. I honed my hand/eye coordination with hours of hitting rocks into Uncle Lark’s corn field for hours at a time.
“There goes another Home Run for Mickey Mantle” I would holler out in my head. I could hear ol’ Dizzy and PeeWee Reece calling it out over the center field fence at 410 feet.
Mantle was my earliest baseball idol, and still to this day is my all time favorite. There’s a signed photo of him from his Triple Crown year of 1956 hanging on the wall down the stairwell from where I’m sitting. I wish I had gotten it signed in person, but I never got to meet Mickey.
I’d pick those rocks up and toss them in the air and whack them. I’d whack them and try to knock flying birds out of the air, although I never hit one.
This morning as I was walking down by the river, I picked up a skinny stick and a rock and when I got close to the river I threw it up in the air and swung….I was exhilirated and excited down inside as I heard a loud “crack” and “Mickey Mantle hit another home run” into the depths of the Chattooga river.
I looked around to make sure nobody had seen me, and I walked on….