I recently read that the San Francisco 49er’s will be playing the last game in Candlestick park. I grew up in Northern California and when I was a kid, Candlestick is where we went to watch the Giants and 49er’s both play.
I had two wonderful opportunities to bat boy for the SF Giant’s at Candlestick. in my first opportunity I met my childhood hero Will Clark who played first base for the Giants and happened to be a rookie. I remember sitting in the dugout before the game with my bat boy uniform on and Will Clark came up and sat down in the dugout about 3 feet from me. I noticed him, and tried to act cool, but being a seventh grader at the time, I wasn’t cool, I was nervous. Then he asked, “Hey kid what’s your name?” I glanced over, and with a squeaky voice replied, “David.” He was eating David sunflower seeds and asked if I made them, I looked over and said, “No”, he laughed, “I am joking with ya.” Then he called me over and chatted with me about baseball and girls.
My other memory of Candlestick park was gathering around my grandpa and grandma’s television set to watch Dwight Clark make the game winning catch against the Dallas Cowboys, which is called, “The Catch”. I remember it not because the 49er’s would go to the super bowl, but because it was the first time I saw my grandma and grandpa hug and kiss in public. The whole room was shocked both by the catch and my grandparents kissing in public and hugging. Most of the time my grandpa would be complaining about my grandma or something else, but for a moment I saw why my grandparents married each other.
As we approach Christmas, I am reminded by my grandma who passed away 7 years ago and a family friend named Patsy who passed away a couple of years ago. Lots of memories fill my heart about these two women. Patsy was always so happy to see me and ask about my life, that meant a lot. My grandma taught me how to play Scrabble and then got bummed out when I started winning. I admired her for all the work she did, the books she read, and her inner strength. Sometimes when I spent the night with my grandpa and grandma, my grandpa would try to teach me how to box, so we would watch boxing, and my grandma, when the house was quiet would talk to me about lots of different things. I got picked on a lot in school, because I was different. I was introverted, read a lot, and would talk to invisible people who were in the room. One thing my grandma said to me when I was getting picked on about my freckles was, “David let them pick on you, because your freckles will merge into a nice tan.” They never did, but I never got picked on again about them. Funny.
So goodbye Candlestick Park and thank you for filling my childhood up with many memories of baseball and football and family. Good bye Grandma and Patsy and know you are always remembered this time of year, and to the holiday season, many of you have lost people and feel alone, know that you are not alone, love is everywhere.