My first job out of college was as a runner on the Ken Burns "Baseball" series. I stuck around until the job was over. My final task was to empty the research office, which was stuck in the old Technicolor Building on 44th street and drive all the stuff they wanted to keep up to Walpole, N.H. My brother, who I was able to get on as a second hand, and I helped throw away tons of books, magazines, photographs that I'd now think twice about getting rid of. I kept some stuff for myself, of course, and gave a lot away to my friends.
I have a friend from high school who has kept the four boxes of books that I gave him in the spring of 1994. He told me that I could have them back a few years ago, but he lives in Long Island and I've never found the time to truculate my fat ass out there to get them. Then his wife said that if the books aren't out of the house by the end of the month they are going to the library. So I went out there today and took home five boxes of books.
I waited until I got home before I look inside. When I did, I found a bunch of of junk, but good copies of "Birth of a Dynasty," "Steinbrenner's Yankees," and "Baseball Anecdotes," plus a terrific little green paperback copy of "The Chrysanthemum and the Bat" by Robert Whiting, and a first edition hardcover of "The Diamond Appraised," uncracked, with Craig W Wright's business card tucked in the center crease. Best of all, there is a beat up copy of "The Reggie Jackson Scrapbook," my favorite baseball book growing up. I remember my friend having this book long after I had lost my own edition. It was one of two things I coveted at my friend's house. The other was an unopened can of Coke from Israel.
I was secretly hoping that the Reggie book would be in one of the boxes. And damn if it was at the bottom of the last pile of books. But when I got there I let out a cry. I startled Em, but couldn't help myself. It felt like my whole body was breaking out into a smile.