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In the Big Inning

“What’s the matter, Colton?” Frank looked over his newspaper. “You’ve been moping around the house all morning.”

The boy tossed himself on the couch next to Grandpa’s chair. “This is the third week in a row our game has been canceled.” He kicked his stirrup-slung feet together, and pushed the baseball cap back on his head. “We’re never going to play again!”

Frank folded his paper and leaned forward. “That’s silly, my boy. Baseball is too important to stay away too long.”

“Important?”

“Well, sure. I mean, some of the most important people in the world are baseball fans!”

“Like who?” Colton was leaning forward now, too, skeptical but interested in what his grandfather was saying.

“Well, like Clint Eastwood, for one.”

“Who?”

Frank grunted.

“And the President. Well, most Presidents.”

“Really? Who else?”

“Well,” Grandpa lowered his voice and looked from side to side as if whispering a secret. “Did you know that God himself is a big baseball fan?”

“God? Now way!”

“Yes way! Would I kid about something like that?”

Colton squinted his eyes and stared holes through his grandfather. “Prove it!”

“Hmmm!” Frank feigned indignation. He pursed his lips and pondered the tow-headed boy in front of him. Colton had just turned five and would start Kindergarten in the fall.

“Fine,” Frank said after a few seconds. “Hand me my Bible, would you?” He pointed to a thick blue volume on the shelf across the living room from the couch. The only other books on the curio was a run of Hardy Boys mysteries on the bottom shelf.

Colton padded across the carpet and pointed to the tome. “This one?” He touched the book with ‘Grandpa’s Bible’ written on the spine.

“That’s the one!”

The boy snatched the book off the shelf and carried it to his Grandfather.

“You sit there on the couch and listen up now, Colton.” Frank looked sternly at his grandson. He didn’t want the boy looking over his shoulder .

Colton shrugged and plopped down again.

“Now, see, God is such a baseball fan that he made sure it got top billing here in the Bible.” He patted the book. “Right up front.”

“Really?” He frowned, clearly racking his memory for any baseball reference that might have come up during his Sunday school classes.

“You bet!” Frank said, and he opened the book. He cleared his throat and began …

“In the big inning,” he read, making a clear distinction between the words, “God cleared the skies and lifted the rain. And he said, ‘Let them play ball’!”.

Colton gasped, and his mouth dropped open.

Frank grunted approval and wiggled his eyebrows, then turned back to his text. Over the next several minutes, he regaled his grandson with the Biblical account of the first baseball game, and the boy hung on every word.

“And then, on the seventh day, after all the rain poured down and made the grass green and soft and ready again,” Frank ran his finger along the blank, yellowed page, “God brought out the sun , and he said to the people … ‘Play ball!'”

Frank slid his reading glasses off his nose and closed the old book. He looked at his grandson, who was smiling for the first time all morning.

Just then, a floorboard creaked from the kitchen doorway, and Colton’s face brightened even more.

“Dad! Did you know that God is a big baseball fan?”

Frank turned to watch his son walk into the room and tousle the boy’s hair. Caleb looked at his father, saw the unwritten book in his hands, and smiled.

“Has Grandpa been reading to you from his Bible?”

“Sure has!” Colton exclaimed.

Caleb lifted the boy in his arms, then slid into the couch cushions, propping his son on his knee.

“Then I’m just in time,” Caleb said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a happy story, and I know Grandpa’s Bible is loaded with them. I’m all ears, Dad.”

The three Parker men grinned, and Frank opened his Bible to another empty page. He began to read.

Published inFlash Fiction

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