PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Warm days, summer boys and baseball

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

What a nice spring we’re having. I hope Sister Summer will be patient just a little longer so I don’t have to turn on the A/C for any great length of time.
It’s not so much that I require cooling – it’s the grandpup, even though she’s had a most attractive summertime clip.
It brings me to mind of warming days long ago, when all the young guys in town would line up at the barber shops – M.T. Rhodes or Mr. Kinnebrew’s – and get their longish locks shorn like sheep.
They’d emerge with small white-skinned borders around their hairlines, and I’d envy their ability to come in from a hot day’s play, just to stick their heads under the cold-water faucet or run a damp washcloth across their scalps for a good clean-up.
Chiefly these were the boys who played baseball. They and their mothers knew about southwest Mississippi red clay and how nasty it could make all things, especially the sweaty faces of young boys as they eagerly slid from firs to second base. In our pre-teen years, my sister and I loved to hang around the Dixie Youth Baseball field.
It once was Little League, but when integration came to LL, that wasn’t something the Baseball Fathers were going to allow in the McComb of the early 1960s.
Goodness sakes, imagine the great harm that could come to youngsters of both colors playing together. Just imagine.
Every summer afternoon, except Wednesdays and Sundays, of course, Suzy and I walked north from our house about a dozen blocks to Edgewood Park, where the baseball field was built so many years before by our father and other athletics-interested dads.
I still remember how great those roasted peanuts smelled as moms in the concession stand stuffed them into small brown paper bags and then rolled the bag-tops closed with a flip of the wrist.
We acquired and dispensed with many a boyfriend around the small diamond.
My cousin, Mac Gordon, recently wrote a book about McComb in the 1960s and fondly remembers a special baseball team that went to the DYB World Series. I remember it too, from a tiny gold baseball I wore for my first teenage beau.
Years later, I had a nightmare surrounding the annual July 4 crowning of the Dixie Youth Baseball queen, chosen among all team sweethearts by raising the most money for the program.
The honor of crowning the little queen always went to the reigning Miss Hospitality, which I miraculously was in the summer of 1968. Another story.
But in my dream, I got all gussied up and walked onto the field, only to see with great horror, that a high school rival was crowning the new royalty.
That’s not as bad as my nightmare this past weekend about flesh-eating zombies chasing my son and me across the southern parts of the U.S.
Perhaps I do need to turn on that A/C.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com or follow her on Twitter @realnewsqueen.