A Dream That Came True
by Pat Bowlby
In December of 2003, my mom wanted to have a private conversation with me. I thought it was going to be about my grades in school, or something along those lines. It didn’t turn out to be. Out of no where, she asked me if I wanted to meet my father. I was stunned at first, never before had she said anything to me about my dad. After a long pause I said to myself why not, and answered her question with a simple sure. All my life I had wondered where my father was. I’d stay up late at night thinking if he was still alive, or if he even knew I was alive for that matter.
On Saturday, January, 31st my mom and I headed up to go the Warwick
Mall. I thought it was going to be a routine visit, but it wasn’t. Halfway up there, my mom told me that we were going to meet my dad. I was so nervous, I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t know what to do. I thought to myself what are his dominant features both physically and emotionally. Is he nice? Is he tall? Is he loving? I must’ve strained my cerebellum thinking of all the different possibilities. I was wearing a Tom Brady jersey that my mom had got for me because the Superbowl was the next day.I thought that most men are sports fans, especially in the region we live in and maybe he’ll appreciate the fact that I sort of was one.
When we arrived, we walked into the food court entrance of the mall. I can picture it just like it was yesterday, he was standing next to the bench near the carousel eagerly waiting to meet me. Looking back now, that is just like my father, he never likes to sit down anywhere we go unless he absolutely has to. I was relieved that his appearance was like any other New England male, and not some crazy drugged up addict. We shook hands when we met, no hugs, just shook hands. We sat down at a table across from the Burger King of the food court. We talked for a while, and when I say a while, I mean a while. When you don’t know your father for your whole life, you’re bound to tell him your life story. I was glad that he liked my Brady jersey it really helped ease my nerves and paranoia. He was listening very attentively to every story I had to say like I was a famous storyteller of some sort. While at the mall, my mom had met up with her friend Kathy, and her daughter Kyah. They kept on looking over at us shaking their heads because I would just keep on rambling on. We looked at the entertainment store FYE and he offered to buy me a video game or a movie but for some reason I felt uncomfortable with him buying me something, so I denied his offer. The date January 31st will always have a special place in my heart.The most important thing I took from that day, is that we bonded from the start.
The night after the Superbowl he drove down to my house and presented me with a few clothing items celebrating the Patriot’s victory of the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t have to come down that night but I really appreciated him coming down. We started to see each other on the weekends for a good chunk, and some school nights. I met my two out of my three brothers Timmy, and Brian when we went to the Harlem Globetrotters in March. I met my other brother Corey at a later date, I forget when and how. All my life I had wondered what it would be like to have brothers, to have that brotherly companionship with someone. I loved the fact of having not just one but three brothers. I was really nervous that they’d over judge me when I first met them but they accepted me immediately. Over the spring vacation in April of 2004 me and my dad were going to go to the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts center up in Providence. Two nights before we were suppose to go on Friday the 16th, he called and said “ Sorry Pat, but we can’t go to the Bruins on Friday.” I said: “Oh that stinks” letting out a sigh of discontent.
He followed with “ CAUSE WE’RE GOING TO FENWAY PARK TOMORROW NIGHT TO SEE THE RED SOX! “ I don’t know how he managed to round up those tickets on such short notice, I’m really thankful he was able to.
There I was, in his little red car going up to Fenway, it was tax day, and along the way we had to drop his taxes, and my brother Corey’s. The date was April 15th, 2004. The Boston Red Sox were playing the Baltimore Orioles. The pitching match up was Pedro Martinez vs. Sidney Ponson. I was very excited to be going to Fenway Park who some say is the most historical ballpark in the world. We parked at the Quincy train station right outside of Boston, and then we went on the Train, or as the Bostonians call it, “The T.” On the way up it wasn’t very crowded and we were able to find a seat the whole ride there.
My father and I arrived at Fenway a lot earlier than either of us had expected. We must’ve walked around the Park 50 times before the gates opened at 5:30ish. One trip around the park we located a Baltimore news paper dressing a colleague of theirs up in New York Yankees gear and having passer bys stop and take photos as if they were beating him up. I wanted to look in the official shop right next to Fenway so we stopped in there before game time. I picked up a shirt that said “K-Nation” and it had pictures of Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Derek Lowe. The weather was the only downer of the night.The official box score of the game it said it was 48 degrees, with a 12 MPH wind gust. When we finally got into Fenway, when I looked at the field I was stunned, it was so big. The Green Monster immediately caught my attention. My dad says that he will never forget the look on my face when I saw the field. While we were waiting for the game to start, I tasted my first Fenway Frank and god those are delicious, by far the tastiest hot dog on the planet.
Our seats were in the right field grand stand bleachers, pretty far from the field, but we still had a good view. Game time was 7:05, as the night encompassed so did colder weather, but it still remained bearable. Pedro Martinez got out to a rough start, but not the Red Sox offense. By the 6th inning, Pedro was taken out of the game and so was the other starter Sidney Ponson and the score was around tied at 7-7. Something happened in the 2nd inning however that I will never forget. Red Sox third basemen, Bill Mueller, who was one of my favorite players, stepped up to bat. After Ponson delivered the pitch, he jack knifed the ball…it was going out of there…and it was heading right towards me and my dad. My dad got a palm on it, and was holding it, then some jerk next to us knocked it out of his hand, it fell on the floor, and some random guy who just showed up to the game picked it up. I was mad, that would’ve been an awesome story to tell friends if we got the ball, but we didn’t, and life and the game went on. My father was very displeased that he was not able to catch that ball; he said a few select words. That meant a lot to me that he cared that much; I know that would’ve meant the world to him if he caught me a homerun the first game I went to.
It stayed tied 7 a piece and the way both teams were hitting and pitching at the time, it didn’t look like it was going to end anytime soon. The Red Sox went into extra innings, and me and my dad got up to the front row, because most of the fans had departed the park because of the temperature, must’ve been just above freezing. It was around 12 o’clock when it ended, and they had lost the game 12-7, thanks to 3 errors by the Boston defense in the top of the 11th inning. We then left to board “The T”, and boy was it crowded. I felt like I was in a can of sardines! We talked a great deal on the car ride home. Even though they lost, I couldn’t contain my excitement. There was no way I was going to sleep anytime soon. Even though they lost, it was one of the best days of my life. I wouldn’t trade that day for anything in the whole entire galaxy… well maybe except for more Red Sox tickets.