Yesterday I celebrated the holiday with four loads of laundry, a 4 miles run, and a trek to OKC to hang out with Froggy and his lady. It was fun, the Laundromat that is. I love going there because they have cable or satellite TV. So I get to watch it for a bit.
The drive to OKC was good. It was hot in Nana Puddin’! The heat and humidity are not so bad if you can get the humid air to strike you going about 60. But the windows do not roll down in the front of the car, but the back ones do. So it tends to get a little hot in the car during the day.
I pull in to Bricktown, the now swanky land and once warehouse district (seedy joints), and struggle into a parking spot. I walk over to the brew pub I am to met Froggy. I order a pilsner and a glass of water. I drink something like 6 glasses of water. I watch a match of the International Fight League (IFL) between, “The Sabers” and “The Wolfpack”.
Froggy and his lady show up and we get a table. We eat and chat and leave for the ballpark, home of the Oklahoma Redhawks. Being the fourth and all it was exciting to be there. Upon entering the park you see short and tight foul lines and a seemingly shallow fence. I think it was 410 at it deepest in left field. A massive brick looking parking structure sits to the back of left field. You got an open air center with lawn seating, and the Sonics national headquarters there in right, more to the first base line.
We wait for the game to begin…there are numerous kids vying for autographs of the pink clad players of the home team. There a kid would yell out a player’s name, the few less tactful ones would shout, “HEY. HEY. HEY. Can I get your autograph?”
These two rather cubby kids shouted and seemed to lack the most tact. With a foam claw finger and a paper fan in tow they relentlessly dogged the players for attention. When they got someone’s attention and autograph they were rather pleased. One guy, as he walked away, tossed a ball their way. The smaller of the two caught it and cheered. The bigger other one soured up and pouted, “He threw the ball to me. He gave the ball to me. That ball is mine.”
So, I watched the grounds crew ready the infield with water baths for the baselines and infield. They swept and manicured the pitchers mound. They loved on that field with the care and attention of a first time lover. When they were done it was about time for the game to begin.
These doors in left opened up and through them marched maybe a hundred people. I thought they were handicapped at first, on account of they way they walked. Nope, they were walking that way to hide something. They get to the middle of the outfield and one guy stands out to me.
No way! It cannot be! But it is! Look that guy is none other than, Hacksaw Jim Dugan!!! There he was in all of his glory. Hacksaw from my youth and WWF obsession. Hacksaw has got a surprise for us all. I am excited and cannot wait to see it. I am not a very good surprise guy anyway and this IS Hacksaw Jim Dugan.
Hacksaw plants his feet into the ground like a Lebanese Cedar. All of the sudden there is an explosion of folks running. There is old Hacksaw standing firm! Wait what do I see? It is The Fabulous Moola, The Iron Sheik, Nicolai Volkoff, and Sergeant Slaughter (sans the hat). All of my childhood wrestling idols are here honoring the beauty and freedom of America.
As they part ways and run, I see that they are unfurling a giant American flag. The biggest flag that I have ever seen. But wait…The Fabulous Moola trips and takes out Nicolai. They fall to the ground in a huddled mess. Sarge tries to hold the flag and pick them up (the Cold War is over now), but fails and is sent to the grass as well. Right there the flag is about to touch the ground and have to be burned. When out of nowhere but the deep blue sky comes like a flash but the Killer Bees, Jumping Jim Bronzel and B. Brain Blair!!! They grab the flag and their fallen comrades up from the ground in one swoop. They proceed to open the flag and share its glory with all of us.
There we were some 5,000 fans and maybe 20 of my favorite childhood wrestlers standing together to honor America. I have never been more proud to be an America. Then the national anthem is played. And there on the field with legs firm and holding strong, Hacksaw begins to sing out loud. Then some guy behind me sings. Then a lady over there and more over here. Then with in a matter of seconds the entire ballpark has erupted in song. With tears in our eyes and pride in our hearts we become aware of each other as we sing. Gone is the embarrassment of off key singing. Gone is the collective cool factor. This is us and the country God rightfully gave us.
When the song was over the wrestlers collected the flag safely and returned it to its place. Then some returned to Valhalla and others to their seas in the outfield. Where they consumed hot dogs, peanuts, and Coke like all good Americans do at a baseball game.
I left the game early so I could drive home with some light. As I got on the interstate I looked of in to the distance and saw Jesus, Babe Ruth, The Junkyard Dog, and I think Sammy Hagar, but I am not sure if he is dead. They were standing on the clouds guiding me home. With fire works going off around them the bedazzling on their robes sparkled. As I came over the crest of the hill into Seminole off of highway 99 the finale came about. With exploding magic and a cavalcade of colors I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the day I had just been blessed with.