It was in the early 80s and, as usual, we were spending the summer in Prince Edward Island at our cottage at Lakeside, about five miles from the village of Morell.
Morell had a wonderful kids’ baseball program in which our sons Alan and Matthew, then about nine and eleven years old, were enrolled. Their teams played games all over eastern and southern Kings County.
In those days we had a station wagon, and with seat belt regulations much more relaxed than they are today, we often ferried seven or eight kids to and from the games. This, of course, was no burden whatsoever as we would have been going to the games anyway; and we were happy to take along as many boys as we could because many of the other parents would be working and unable to take their kids themselves.
We thoroughly enjoyed the baseball and equally enjoyed the banter of the kids during the road trips.
We never knew who would be travelling with us, but one young fellow, Frankie Roach, who lived in the village near where we picked up and dropped off the players, was a regular. Frankie was a thoroughly delightful, polite, well-behaved young lad. He was also a pretty good ball player.
After road games we would stop somewhere on the way back to Morell so the players could have a chocolate bar or chips and a soft drink, or perhaps an ice cream cone. Each kid seemed to always have a dollar or so to spend.
On the day in question, which was in late August, we were going to a game in Lower Montague. We announced that, because we were heading back to Toronto in a couple of days, this would be our last baseball trip of the summer.
When we made our customary refreshment stop on the way back, I noticed that Frankie didn’t buy anything. I asked him if he had money and he said that he did but just didn’t feel like having anything.
We dropped the kids off in front of the Co-op store in Morell and said our good-byes. Frankie hung around until all the others had left. Then he came over to me, holding out a two-dollar bill which he clearly wanted me to take.
“What’s this for, Frankie?” I asked.
“To help pay for your gas, Lyman,” he said.
Hoping that he wouldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes, I quickly shooed him into the Co-op store, telling him to go get his after-game snack.
Every time I tell this story two things happen: the tears well up again, and I wonder what became of Frankie.
Today was no exception.
I’ve never been able to tell this story without two things happening: the tears well up again, and I wonder what became of Frankie.
To-day was no exception.