Ball Glove & Bat
Effort is more important than outcome
–Mark Martin (champion stock car driver)

On garbage pile, 
delivering early morning newspapers when 7,
found only glove have ever had or needed. 
Web's leather string severed.
Pulled it out.
Took lace from shoe, found nail,
pushed lace through finger and thumb holes,
tied square knot,
tugged hard on webbing. Was good as new.

Not allowed small weekly paper earnings.
Vicious jail guard stepfather made the office
give him the one to seven dollars;
took every month’s twenty-five dollars
child support divorce court ordered
violent father to pay passive mother;
spent both, most of his wages,
on alcohol, prostitutes, gambling.
Had to steal clothes I wore.

Never an iota of necessary love, caring,
every child needs.
Stepfather’s screaming in my head
worse when making impossible catches,
clobbering sky-high homers
with Louisville bat
stole from sporting goods store.
Tears often in eyes playing ball.
Kept believing he was wrong!

61 years conquering unbelievable Horrors;
memories are vivid of what
I have accomplished at the plate,
in the outfield,
pursuing all I ever wanted.

It’s truly too late to beat me now.

from In Pursuit of Honor. Copyright © James Humphrey Trust.


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