By Peter Lederman

I’m not really certain how old I am.

I had dinner last week at a friend’s house. It was raining, the food was real good and I had a glass of wine.

His son came downstairs with his baseball glove and a ball and begged anyone and everyone to have a catch with him. I guessed he was 10ish.  His dad got on a raincoat and went out in front of the house and they played. His mother might have gone out for a few minutes and then the kid came in, looked around and chose me. I said O.K. (thank you wine).

I borrowed a glove and we had a catch. The rain was delicious and the kid was eager, happy and cute. The catch ended, and so eventually did the evening.

Three days later I get a call from the dad and he says the boy liked having a catch with me and wants to do it again. He suggests I could coach him some ’cause he doesn’t like learning from his parents, which is pretty much a universal truth.

Well today was our day. It was raining again but I dug out my old glove which has seen maybe 2 hours use over the last 30 years when my own grown son or a friend gets that incredible itch to “have a catch.” I’m driving to meet the boy and I catch a whiff of my glove on the seat next to me which is still oiled and leathery and my feelings start to travel.

I am excited. I am 10 years old and my best friend Phil from down the block has called on the house phone, found me and we were going to go out to the field down the block and play ball. Not just to have a catch but maybe even to hit some out to each other. I loved that more than anything through my whole childhood.

I am excited. I’m going out in front of my house to give my 10-year-old son his start in baseball before Little League. Our gloves are oiled and I can’t wait to impart to this treasure, the real wisdom I have gathered since I was 10. Now I’m 44.

I am excited. I am going to have a catch with a sweet little boy, if my 77-year-old body holds up, and perhaps I get to teach him that key little thing that helps him become a good, loose, happy athlete.

Satchel Paige (a great Black baseball player in the Negro Leagues who played till he was 59) once asked rhetorically, “How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was?”

So how old am I?  My soul is ageless, my mind is timeless, my body: probably finite.~