A Chew and Baseball for Robert
We were neighbors and good friends. His name was Robert and that's how he was known until he became
older and went to high school when he became known as Hooker , because that was his father's moniker. Robert (Hooker) had two painful
experiences when we were about 10 or 11.
The first was the time his father brought home a brand new 1937 Ford Sedan , a state vehicle
, and took some of the neighborhood kids for a ride. After an enjoyable trip down the street and back, Hooker, the elder, turned and
told us to stay in our seats until he got out of the car. He opened his door , came around to the back and opened the door to let
us out. We promptly exited, except for Robert , who took his time . Hooker, the elder, thought everybody was out of the car and slammed
the door shut. ......right on Robert's hand. Well, Robert let out a scream and started to cry, which at 10 or 11 , after that kind
of experience is understandable.
Hooker, the elder , became flustered and thought the first thing he should do is stop his kid from
crying. So, he told him to quiet down. That didn't work so he rapped him on the back of the head to emphasize his demand. Robert cried
louder. Hooker, the elder , realized this was time for drastic action. Maybe what the kid needs is something to take his mind off
the pain. He reached into his pocket and out came a slab of B& L dark chewing tobacco and a jack-knife. He cut off a slab and stuck
it into Robert's open crying mouth.
" Here, chew this it will make you feel better."
I've seen all kinds of complexions over my lifetime...
plain, swarthy , dark, light, pimply, freckled, yellow, brown, albino, but never before or since have I seen Battleship Gray.
bringing up the contents of his stomach and wretching on the ground , Robert quieted down and you know what... it worked. Hooker,
the elder , knew exactly what to do in that kind of emergency. Robert went into his house and we didn't see him for the rest of he
The Second Time.
When we were 10 or 11 , the local pastor decided it would be good to have a chapter of the CYO , Catholic Youth
Organization, at the parish. We were going to have all kinds of activities for the kids because there was no Catholic Boy Scout Troop
Baseball teams were organized and competition arranged with the neighboring towns of Randolph and Holbrook. There were three
levels of teams...CYO Seniors, CYO Juniors and CYO Midgets. At our age we belonged to the Midgets.
Father Foley, who owned a 1936 or
1937 Ford, took us to the away games in his car. He would fill the inside of the car with the Midgets and the smaller Midgets were
stuffed into his trunk. He tied the door down with rope , so he could leave it open and we wouldn't suffocate or fall out.
at practice, Robert was hitting. Father Foley intervened:
"No ! No! Not like that ! You have to step into the ball. Give me the bat
and I'll show you!"
He pushed Robert aside, swung the bat back and hit Robert on the head.
Down he went.
A casual observer , would have
seen a frocked priest leaning over a prone kid's body and assumed he was administering the Last Rites.
Robert came around , whether
it was due to the bucket of water he doused him with or just a natural recovery, we will never know.
Even today, baseball players chew
tobacco. But chew and baseball don't get into their lives like they did in Robert's