opening day


opening day

my baseball career consisted
of afternoon tosses with my father
and my brother in the backyard
of several houses in several cities
being a missionary kid meant
I moved like a mediocre minor
leaguer hoping for a big break

those afternoons of overthrows
and near misses taught me to
love the game from the bench
and the bleacher sharpening my
skills of solidarity and sharing
in someone else’s moment and
the treasure of a broken heart

this year opening day comes
ten days before we mark
the day we closed the casket
and said goodbye to my father
a week gone into extra innings
my heart is a long fly ball hit
deep into an empty stadium



  1. “how do
    you do
    what you
    do for me
    I’m feelin’ blue
    Wish I knew
    how you
    do it
    for me
    then I’d
    do it
    for you.”
    –gerry and the pacemakers (1963)

  2. Milton, Blessings and prayers during this tender time of remembering your father. Your poem is a beautiful expression of grief and mourning, love and relationship. Thank you for sharing it. It also made me think of memories of my dad sharing his life with me and my sisters.

    I believe our fathers were at Oklahoma Baptist University together back in the late 40’s, early 50’s. My father was Milton Ferguson and I remember him speaking of your dad. I had a brief connection with Miller at OBU. I think I was two or three years ahead of him. My dad died in December 2017. He was preaching and pontificating up to the end. (Dad was a professor of philosophy and theology at Southwestern and then president at Midwestern.) He always affirmed my move into the UCC and my ordination.

    In remembrance,
    Jane Anne Ferguson
    (Associate minister, Plymouth UCC, Fort Collins, CO)

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