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Mother's Day brings a chance for a special visit

Trip to Chicago to cover the Angels takes a detour to a place with much meaning for writer.

May 12, 2013|T.J. Simers
  • Mother's Day and the battle against cancer was observed around the major leagues with, among other things, pink bats and baseballs with pink stitches, like these at Dodger Stadium.
Mother's Day and the battle against cancer was observed around the… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

WHEATON, Ill. — I'm standing in a cemetery, which is probably better than lying in one.

I came to Chicago to write about the Angels, and while I seem to be focused on the dead, this has more to do with Mother's Day.

My mom is here.

This isn't the first time I've set out to write about the Angels and found myself mentioning my mother. Maybe the name Angels triggers her memory, or maybe I'm always trying to avoid writing about the Angels.

Funny how the mention of Angels, though, never brings back memories of my father.

It's probably just one of those odd coincidences in life. I never gave it a thought when I took off for Houston to check on the managerial status of Mike Scioscia.

The Angels lost two to the Astros so I continued on to Chicago, players to interview, an owner to heckle and another column to write. More angry email to read.

I knew the daughter had Mother's Day plans for the wife so I was off the hook. But why is it that a wife likes to repeatedly tell her husband, "I'm not your mother.''

We all know that.

I just have to eat her apple pie and know she's not my mother.

Anyways, the Angels won Friday and Saturday and I was writing about them like the world might not go on if they didn't. This is very serious stuff with only 126 games remaining.

I had one more game to cover, everyone telling me I was going to dislike C.J. Wilson, which would mean I would just love writing about him.

But when I awoke Sunday, everywhere I went it was Mother's Day. I've got one too.

She's buried 29 miles from the hotel, and you know what, it's been more than 40 years since I spent a Mother's Day with my mom.

So I rented a car, made the drive to St. Michael's Cemetery and realized I could also knock off Father's Day since he was there as well.

I've always been thoughtful like that as a son.

Now I don't know if I'm alone on this, but here I was walking among the markers, 62 years old, trying to ignore the sign that said "available lots," and thinking that I miss my parents.

Those people in Memphis are right; I never did grow up.

I have interviewed so many wonderful people in my life, and Mike D'Antoni. Some really wonderful, special people — but the two most memorable are here.

And I wouldn't have been opposed to just one more chat.

But it was so quiet. I heard chirping birds, and here I'd thought there was no better sound in life than the crack of the bat or Maria Sharapova's voice in a one-on-one interview.

The wind was blowing, the leaves rustling, and no one ever mentions the leaves are rustling unless they have to write a sentence explaining what the leaves are doing in the wind.

I left the Blackberry inside the car. It's just one of those little sacrifices we all make in life, although I'm not sure anyone here was going to object.

My mom's headstone read: "Wife-Mother." I'm guessing she left instructions that I should not write her epitaph and cause a cemetery disturbance.

My dad's reads: "Husband-Father," and it took me 1,000 words to describe Josh Hamilton.

This is going to sound wacko, but I could actually picture my parents lying there, and it was comforting.

It could not have been more perfect unless they had popped up to say hello and had the ability to catch me as I hopped the fence screaming and running for my life.

I found myself telling my parents how much they meant to me, as corny as that is, and I'm not sure I could give them a better gift. I'm guessing cigars will no longer work for my dad.

Our kids never met my mom, were too young to recall my dad, and react like someone listening to me read my column out loud when I start telling stories about my parents.

I worry when my brother, sisters and I go; it will be like our parents never existed. And here I am in the business of immortalizing guys who get three hits every 10 times up.

Well, not tonight. I skipped the game to hang out with my mother and father.

They saved me from having to watch our dead men walking against the White Sox.

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