Monday, August 12, 2013

Going Home

I pulled into what I expected to be an almost vacant parking lot.  Much to my surprise the area was brimming with activity.  Things had changed.  The marquee at the stadium entrance announced upcoming activities.  Situated just behind the sign was an enormous inflatable knight-- apparently a mascot to the Silver Knights, a semi-professional ball club that calls Holman Stadium home now.  While I'm pleased that Nashua has a decent ball club to entertain the townies all summer, I'm not a big fan of the giant knight.  It's a bit much but I'm sure the kids just love it.

I parked, grabbed my camera and got out.  I expected to either have to search for the hole in the fence that used to be to the left of the entrance or peer through the chain link to get a good view of the field and stands but again  I was pleasantly surprised.  The enormous gate that had been erected at the old entrance was actually wide open.  I walked right in and it became abundantly clear that I was not supposed to be there.  I did what I normally do, I just kept going and acted like I was supposed to be there.  I went everywhere and snapped pictures along the way.  There are sky boxes now so I went up to check them out.  What luck!  The doors to the suites were  conveniently unlocked so I did what anyone would do, I went in.  The view was awesome!!

I went out into the stands and took pictures from every angle.  The field was so well-kept and it was so GREEN!!  I had to go down there, and I did.  First I went to home plate, then to the pitchers mound, then first, second and third base.  The view from the field is really cool.  All the while workers were milling about, doing their jobs.  They cleaned this and that, swept here and there.  Every once in a while they'd look at me and try to figure out what the heck I was doing.  I said hello and kept going.  I get this a lot when I'm taking pictures, especially when I'm in places I shouldn't be in and I just keep going.  Its a system that works out pretty well for me.

It wasn't long before the thrill of getting away with it wore off and I took a seat high up in the stands. The field was dressed for baseball but when I looked down from my perch my memory saw a football field.  I wondered for a moment if Nashua High still played their games here or if they built a fancy new field to go along with that fancy new high school?  I guess it doesn't matter, in that moment it was just comforting to think that maybe they still played here.  That the kids today are still making memories at Friday night games under the lights and that Holman was still home to the Panthers.

As I look down at the football field my mind drifts back.  Things are different now, the fields are a bit greener, the stands and sky boxes are new, they even sell beer at the concession stand!!  It doesn't matter, when I close my eyes I can still hear the game, I can still hear the crackled PA and the announcer calling every play.  No one missed the Friday night football games back then.   I could swear the temperature just dropped so that my breath makes it's escape as the crisp vapor that fall nights at football games can bring.  The seats are full of fans and groups of kids are packed in all cozy in there cliques.  I can hear their conversations -- "what's going on after?", "did he call you?", "are they still going out?", "oh my god, you'll never guess in a million years.......".  In my minds eye I can see my classmates here.  The boys are on the field--Gary and Tim and Kevin and Steve... they are all here.  I can see so many of my friends.  I see combs in the back pockets of Levi's red tagged jeans, collars starched and standing at attention, girls with perms and bangs thick with Aqua Net and boys in their Timberland boots--untied of course.  I see my old crush and I feel the familiar butterflies.  He's standing a few rows down from me and he turns and looks up.  Maybe he was looking at me or maybe he wasn't, I'll never know for sure but I am sure that I wanted to think so at the time. 

I smile.  It seems like only yesterday but so much time has passed.  Things have changed, people have changed.  They are all scattered now.  Where have they all gone?

I open my eyes and the field is empty, there is no game, the air is not crisp, and the stands sit ominously vacant.  The sun burns hot up above and I guess it's time to go.  It sure was nice while it lasted.


+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

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