By Bruce Stambaugh
At long last, spring has officially arrived. Let’s hope it is a spring to remember, just like the recent winter we’d like to forget.
We could use the emotional and psychological boost of spring’s vernal offerings after winter’s long, cold stranglehold on so much of North America. Winter was simply brutal.
Spring offers up its joyous splendor in so many ways. The greening of the yards and fields, the welcoming blossoms of trees, plants and flowers that gloriously unfurl intermittently the next few months. All are coaxed by spring’s gradually warming temperatures that tend to also thaw our frosted emotive reservations.
Another springtime blessing for me is the start of baseball season. Baseball is in my blood, always has been, likely always will be. I admire the skills needed to be an all-around good position player, being equally proficient in the field and at bat. I marvel at the abilities of pinpoint pitchers, too.
Since my youth, I have faithfully and humbly followed the checkered history of the Cleveland Indians with both passion and annual disappointment. Count it as a masochistic character flaw.
As a youngster, I played baseball, and collected and traded baseball cards. That hobby was passed on to my son, who bought them by the box load, instead of the pack. I still have a few my cards. Our son still has a whole bunch of his, and his mother and I wish he would come get them.
I will confess, however, that with the recent revelations of steroids and the exorbitant salaries for playing a child’s game, I have grown a bit disillusioned about Major League Baseball. It’s lost its innocent appeal. Come opening day, however, I likely will be glued to the television, and I have already purchased tickets for several Indians games.
Between the official beginning of spring and baseball’s first pitch of the new season, another more significant and meaningful event occurs in my life. My wife and I will soon celebrate 43 years of marriage.
That number alone is hard for me to contemplate. It seems like only yesterday that I accidentally stepped on her wedding train, rightfully earning my first finger pointing. We quickly got over that, but obviously I never forgot it. Neither has my wife.
When you are married that long, there are too many other cherished memories to build on to allow the small, petty disputes to devalue a loving relationship. I feel extremely grateful for the multitude of positive experiences my wife and I have had together over the years.
Yes, like most every other couple, we have had our differences at times. I recognize that I haven’t been the easiest person to live with. Even though she talks while walking away from me and I can’t find my underwear in the underwear drawer, we somehow have survived.
I am not holding our marriage up as a model of perfection, because it hasn’t been. We have, however, held on, embraced each other and each day as one regardless of the circumstances we encounter or what obstacles or disappointments have clogged the way forward.
Indeed, gratitude has far overshadowed grief. Our son and our daughter are grown, successful adults with loving spouses. We have three energetic, creative grandchildren and one ornery grand cat.
For 43 years, we have lived, loved and persevered. That accomplishment alone is more wondrous than any fragrant-filled garden, or even a magical, unlikely World Series win by the Cleveland Indians.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2014