Trouble with the Curve
Whether life throws you fastballs or curveballs, accept them and swing true.
What do you say now, jackass?
That’s known as trouble with the curve.
-Clint Eastwood as Gus from “Trouble with the Curve”
An Extraordinarily Good Man
My father-in-law passed away this week. His name was James, but everyone called him Jimmy. I called him dad. I loved him dearly. Everyone who knew him did. He was a story teller with a genuine and infectious personality.
My dad was a veteran of the Korean War. He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He worked in blue collar jobs until he retired. He loved sports and was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.
For the past 20 years, Jimmy and his wife would spend a week or two each summer with my family at the Jersey Shore. Building puzzles became a ritual that Jimmy would happily spend hour after hour focused on with us.
Jimmy and his wife Rosemarie enjoyed taking walks on the beach. There is so much one can learn from this simple act about enjoying the beauty of the ocean, sand and a marriage that lasted 64 years. My kids will remember forever the happy times they spent on the beach with their grandparents. Grandparents are a gift. Enjoy them while you have the opportunity. My mother-in-law, Rosemarie, passed away almost two years ago, at the very beginning of the pandemic.
I’ll remember the joy of quality time spent with my dad. He would be the first one to say “Let’s go fly a kite”. We flew kites on the beach for many summers.
I remember going to the movies many times with my dad. We would go to see movies at least two or three times a year. As my dad’s life came to a close, there were two things he spent most of his days focused on — building puzzles and watching movies. His favorite movies were old westerns, and baseball movies.
My dad was a member of the Silent Generation. This was the same generation Clint Eastwood was from. My dad’s favorite movie in the past year is where the title of this blog comes from. The movie is “Trouble with the Curve” starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake. I will remember this movie for as long as I live. We watched it almost every time we visited with my dad over the past year. My dad remembered a time when baseball wasn’t just statistics read on a computer. A time when life had simple meaning, and sights, sounds, smells and feelings could inspire you. The sound of a ball landing perfectly in a glove or the crack of a ball being hit perfectly off a wooden bat. The smell of popcorn or a hotdog eaten in the stands of Ebbets Field watching the Brooklyn Dodgers play.
I will miss my mom and my dad. I am lucky to have had in-laws who I loved and who loved me in return. Life throws us curveballs, and we have to deal with them. Live life and take things as they happen. How we deal with our challenges in life, defines who we are and how we can handle the next thing when it happens. I hope I will grow to be as great a grandparent as my in-laws were.
Rest in peace Rosemarie and Jimmy. Your memory lives on with all those who have known you. We’ll keep hitting those curve balls that life throws us. Thanks for teaching us how to swing true.