Sunday, March 20, 2011

Red Wagons, Church Softball ("Eye for Eye") and Concession Stands

Children's Sunday School Songs:  The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock , The B-I-B-L-E

"That's cuter than a little red wagon" was a phrase I heard my Grandma (Mary) Jonas use a lot.  Little red wagons were common in the world of children and they did look cute.  Their history via the Radio Flyer Wagon manufacturer is here.

One of my childhood photos is four boys in a wooden wagon with the slats removed in front of Grandma Jonas house.  In back is Mike, then Bobby Whitaker, Bobby Ogle and me (about 18-24 months old) in the front.  It's not a red wagon, so maybe not so cute, but we guys were cute. (OK, I'll start scanning in some of these photos in a few weeks).

Church softball games were special treats as a boy.  Our church had a few families with lots of athletic men (the Schencks had 9 or so and the Whitakers had several, the Wolfs and Weavers had so many relatives they aren't countable- I go to the Wolf reunion now having married a Michael).  The dads would play and we kids could run around and get soft drinks such as Nehi Orange Soda or Cream Soda and Dreamsicles, Creamsicles, fudgesicles or popsicles.  There were also chewable or lickable items such as Double Bubble Gum, Tootsie Roll Pops and gummy things.  They played at Farmersville, I remember slow pitch softball there and fast pitch at New Lebanon, each one with a unique concession stand and play areas around and under the bleachers.  Once we got ball gloves with S & H Green Stamps, Mike and I could throw the ball around behind the bleachers.

It might have been church league softball but there were some intense disagreements at times caused by the Liberty players.  We apparently had some young men who had extra intensity and a low threshold to disagree with umpires or members of the other team.  I don't think trash talking was included, since that would have been un-Christian.  But "an eye for an eye" was more important than "turning the other cheek".  I don't know if we also pressed for "a tooth for a tooth", but older Liberty Church members and former members could tell the stories.  The important part was that all the players had to attend church to be able to play.  I wonder if any sermons focused on love and forgiveness in athletic endeavors.

My dad, "Scud" Jonas (see photo at left) was a unique player since he had no left hand.  He played right field and had a fast movement to catch a ball in the glove on his right hand, quickly trap the glove -which now includes the ball in its pocket- in the crook of his left arm, take the ball in right hand and throw it.  He batted left handed and was a "slap" hitter.  I don't remember him ever being in the fights mentioned above.  He also played for the Monarch Tags softball team through his work at the Monarch Marking System Company.

Many of you have similar memories about life in Liberty and  thereafter.  Feel free to comment.

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