The family knows how big a Red Sox fan Gram and Gramp were Zeb did a great job of covering that. Thus in 2004 with Gram being sick and the Sox in the World Series and up 3-0 on St. Louis I had a thought. Wouldn't it be great to drive up to Detroit and watch what may be the clinching game of first Sox championship in 86 years? The answer was a resounding yes, the only problem as it was the middle of the week, Wednesday sticks in my mind for some reason, and I had to work the next day. What if the Sox lost game 4 would it mean as much? If they lost would it be worth dragging around work all day the next day? I made the only real choice I could, I drove the hour north. I stopped off at Mom and Dad's on the way and Dad figured he'd head up and watch the game at the farm too. So there we were, the four of us, watching the Sox trying to finally close the deal for the first time in all of our lives. The night went exactly how you think it would. Reserved, quiet comment on the game, Gram talking more than Gramp. I remember at one point the Sox got in trouble, a few runners on and only a small lead. Gram says what we were all thinking, "OH Here we go...". Of course we all know the Sox pull it out. Such a small thing for most people, sitting and watching a ball game with family, but this night was so much more yet, with typical Basford fashion, no one mentioned the significance of it. Maybe it was only that significant to me, but it was so much more to see that happen with Gram and Gramp. A moment I wouldn't trade for the world.
This seems to happen often with me when Gram and Gramp were around, ordinary moments gaining significance. Maybe they are more significant now that they have both passed. With Gramp they seemed to be centered around sports. When I was younger Dad played softball in Pittsfield and Gram and Gramp would always go watch the games. I'd always ride home with them because Gramp would take us out for ice cream at the Tasty Freeze. The ride was usually quiet because the Sox were on the radio. The only station the old car got as an AM station out of Boston, the reception stunk but you could make out the score now and then. When I was older, I think 87, Dad was trying to get the Pittsfield softball league going again. He tried to put together a team of me and my friends from high school mixed in with Dad and some others. We often found ourselves short of players. So Dad asked Gramp if he'd play. Of course he said yes, I can't imagine Gramp not taking the chance to play ball. He played first base, he wore the shoes that Zeb mentioned. I don't really remember anything else about that team. I don't remember any games we played, maybe we didn't play any, but I remember how cool I thought it was that I was playing softball on a real team with Dad and Gramp.
On the family blog I wrote a post about the family picnics and how softball was a big part of that. Here's a link: http://basfordroadblog.blogspot.com/
Anyone that knows me knows that candlepin bowling is more than a sport for me, it's more like a passion. I've been bowling since I was 5, I've bowled in a lot of leagues, a lot of tournaments and have had a lot of "moments" on the lanes. From being 11 years old and bowling in an "adult" league with Mom and Aunt S, to bowling with Dad in "Men's" league at the age of 16 or so, to winning state titles my senior year. I tell you all of these as a point of reference because one of the top one or two "cool moments" involved Gramp. It was an Elks tournament in Pittsfield, that year I think we had like 6 teams from the Pittsfield lodge. As it happened that year was the only year that Dad and I weren't on the same team. Gramp was asked to bowl to fill out the 6th team. I'm still not sure how it happened to be but I looked to my left and Dad was bowling on the lane next to me and on the next lane over there was Gramp. 3 generations of Basfords all bowling at the same time. I wasn't the only one to notice it, several people mentioned it to me that day and they all thought how cool it was.
Jen told me, after reading the post on the Basford Road blog, that she knew I had a great childhood. I know I did and sports were a central part of my childhood experiences. The fact that I have so many great moments that involve Gramp speaks to the influence he had in my life. The fact that they mean so much speaks to the respect that I have for him.