Author’s Note: This will be a multiple-post day. Since it’s Father’s Day, I thought I’d re-share, for those who missed it, my Father’s Day post from 2010. Happy Father’s Day, one and all!
June 15th, 2001. It was a Friday. Mrs. 40 Year Ranger Fan (although she hyphenates the name Mrs.Mariner Fan-40 Year Ranger Fan) approached me as we were preparing to sleep for the night.
“Honey, you know my friend (name withheld to protect the guilty)? She had a special piece of furniture made for her father for Father’s Day. It’s a guy who lives north of town and it’s a pretty heavy piece. She wants to bring it home and get it in the house before her father wakes up so it’ll be there for Father’s Day.” She then stumbled through the next sentence. “I… I kind of… Well, I kind of promised her we’d help her pick it up.”
“OK,” I said, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“We’re going to have to go over to her house at 5 AM. Don’t be upset, baby. She’s done a lot for us and I want to help her!”
“OK,” I said, already thinking about setting the alarm for 4 AM on Father’s Day.
Sunday arrives. The alarm rings at 4 AM. Groggily I take a shower and get dressed. The hot water doesn’t even begin to wake me up. We drive over to the friend’s house. When we arrive, all the lights are out at her house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The wife gets out the cell phone and calls. No answer on her friend’s cell phone. “I hate the idea of waking her father up, but I need to call her home number,” she says. Apparantly somebody answers because see tells me, “She overslept. She’ll be right out.”
I’m falling asleep in the car.
Eventually the friend comes out, carrying her 4-year old son and some other stuff. I’m not paying much attention. I’m just sleepy.
The missus tells me to get into her friend’s car. I comply. The friend puts the 4-year old in the back seat with me. He’s as sleepy as I am. While I note it, I don’t think anything of the fact that the friend’s mother and father are standing right there on the front step. I may have thought that the surprise for her dad must be ruined since he’s seeing her leave, but that was about it. I pay no attention to what the wife is doing as she’s putting things in the trunk.
We depart in the friend’s vehicle and head north. We reach the next town and continue heading north. After 15 minutes or so we have cleared the northern border of said next town. Wearily, I ask, “Where is this piece of furniture, in Falfurrias (about an hour away)? My wife turns around in the front seat.
“Actually, we’re not going to get a piece of furniture.”
“What are we doing then?”
“We’re going to Houston to see the Astros-Rangers game.”
“Yeah, right. Houston is six hours away.”
“I’m serious, baby. We’re going to Houston to see the Astros-Rangers game!”
“I can’t go to a game. I don’t have the right clothes to go to a ball game! I need a jersey and a cap”
“I already packed it. I can’t believe I pulled this off. You didn’t have a clue!”
She was right. I didn’t have a clue.
We drove six hours to Houston to what was still Enron Field at the time. On the way, I opened Father’s Day cards from my wife and our one remaining son at home. My son gave me a book on major league ballparks. When the 4-year old woke up we got acquainted. I was glad to talk to someone who was as clueless as I was.
We met up with a friend of the friend in front of the ballpark and took our seats, upper deck on the third base side. The Rangers started Darren Oliver against the Astros Scott Elarton. We scored a run in the top of the first on a Ruben Sierra sac fly, but the ‘stros came back in the bottom of the first with a solo shot by Craig Biggio.
Biggio struck again with his second homer of the game in the third inning. It stayed 2-1 Astros until the top of the 5th when Pudge Rodriguez knocked in a run with a single and Alex Rodriguez followed with a three-run shot to make it 5-2. A 9th inning sac fly by Bo Porter (who I don’t even remember) closed out the scoring and the Rangers won for me on Father’s Day 6-2.
After the game, we started filing out of the park. We were close to the wall looking out over the street and the 4-year-old accidentally drops his souvenier 12-inch bat over the side. Thank goodness it didn’t hit anyone! We drove home and I was back at work the next day following a one day 12-hour road trip with a three hour game in between.
While it was the first time I discovered that I don’t recover as quickly from one day road trips as I used to, it was an unforgettable Father’s Day surprise. Thanks, honey!