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Point of View: Leaning in, Lying Back

Wed, 07/05/2023 - 18:13

Leaning in as a dispassionate cellphone voice provided an account of a Little League tournament game during a recent Saturday morning at East End Physical Therapy, I was reminded how spellbound I’d been when, in the fall of 1951, after Pittsburgh’s East End Lutheran School had let out for the day, I stayed on in that big room alone, listening to a radio as the Giants and Dodgers played for the pennant. The Giants, as you know, won when Bobby Thomson hit “the home run heard ’round the world.”

That I was just as enrapt seven decades later as East Hampton’s Little Leaguers played Westhampton Beach’s didn’t surprise me. There’s something about attending to disembodied voices setting the scene for you. “Runners on first and second, one out. . . . And here’s the pitch. . . .”

You’re on the edge of your seat.

Which is probably the way we ought to be all the time — “every moment’s a poem,” I read this week — but which, for the most part, we aren’t.

I remember in this regard how fascinated Lucy, who’s 6, was when, as we walked O’en along our block, strange dead creatures . . . a black beetle, a worm . . . caught her eye. We bent down to examine them. Had it not been for her, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Stay awake, Jack, stay awake.

There was music in her and her 7-year-old sister Mary’s voices. For the most part, I didn’t hear a word they said for four days. Their whispered utterances were breezes tinkling through the chimes. I didn’t lean in straining to hear, as I had with the Giants and the Dodgers and with the East Hampton and Westhampton Beach Little League teams — I was content, rather, not to focus, to lie back and let them and their music glide by.

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