About two hours ago, I returned from a lovely mini-vacation. It was much needed.

Earlier this week, as Brent and I both spent some time panicking over various projects to complete, it was decided that it was time to take step back and just breathe. We both needed something to take our mind off of the stresses of paying rent, doing homework (in my case at least), and tackling household chores. So what did we do? We made a date. We were going to just leave Scranton this weekend, if only for a few hours.

After some contemplation, and debating over whether or not to just start driving somewhere and see what happened, the idea of Cooperstown, NY came up. I’d never been there before, save for when my mother was pregnant with me. I’d also been looking to make it up there at some point this year. We made our minds up. We were going to Cooperstown.

I fought and finally booked a room at the Best Western, which as Best Westerns go, it wasn’t too shabby. Smelled a little funny though. We had a McNuggets (not my first choice) and popcorn picnic in the room while watching a series of bridal shows on TLC. It’s been awhile since we’ve watched TV at all, so it was a nice change. A good night’s sleep and a missed continental breakfast later, we were headed into Cooperstown.

We started off with some eggs, bacon, and wheat toast at T.J.’s after finding the Cooperstown Diner quite packed. Breakfast was good, but it gave me heartburn for the rest of the day. We paid the bill and started walking up and down the main street there – I’m not sure of the name – and poked in and out of a few shops. Like most tourist traps, it was expensive, but worth looking.

Lucky for us, Cooperstown was having its annual Fall Festival complete with1,000 lbs. pumpkins, a farmer’s market, and scores of stands selling homemade salsas and chili. Can you say, “awesome?”


We watched a few of the pumpkin weigh-ins, including one from Rome, PA that reached over 1,000 lbs and then walked across the lot to Doubleday Field. There was a game going on but it wasn’t your typical match up. Instead, it was just a group of friends wearing uniforms from their favorite teams and playing for fun. Yes, on a perfect autumn day. That’s what baseball is all about – and I’m not a huge fan of the sport. It was beautiful to watch. Much like a dance.

An inning or two and then it was off to the Hall of Fame.  I wasn’t sure of what I should expect. Either way, I wasn’t disappointed. The exhibits were interesting, the pieces of history well-displayed, and the crowds were polite. Who could ask for more? I will say this though: I’m not a fan of how baseball is today. Granted, a professional sport is a professional sport, but there’s something so wrong with the way things are now. Back then, being a ball player was all about having love for the game. It wasn’t about the insane salaries, or the steroids, or the chance to marry a Victoria’s Secret model just because you got invited to the same parties.

I remember hearing stories my great-grandfather told about what it was like to play in the minor leagues and in the service. He was a third baseman. Earl “Arky” Rozelle. He was phenomenal. One of those great Scrantonians. His career ended with a bum knee but the legend lived on through his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Every time I played catch with him, I got to share in something special. Later, I would play catch with my Dad. I was a horrible player. Just ask Dad, he’ll tell you the stories about me picking dandelions in the outfield. I had no motivation to succeed at softball when I played, however, it was the love of the game that maybe – just maybe – made me like baseball, if only for a moment. I liked having something special that I could share with two very special people in my life. I’ll never forget what it was like to play catch in my backyard with my Dad or in the courtyard at the apartments with my great-grandfather. On those days, I might as well have been the Babe.

Our tour of the museum lasted about two hours – time that I spent thinking about my Dad and my Poppy. Because of them, I wanted to spend the day there. Thank you.


After the Hall of Fame, Brent and I continued our vacation – and my walk down memory lane – with a visit to the mouth of the Susquehanna River, which was only a few feet away from the museum, across a footbridge. The lake was clean and clear and looked positively delightful dotted with boats. I built a small sand house (didn’t have enough space or sand for a castle) and left my mark in Cooperstown.

On the way out of town, I kept looking for something to bring back for my sister, Brianna. I wanted to maybe give her a chance to feel what I felt when it came to baseball. No t-shirt or toy did the memories I had of playing catch with Dad justice. Thankfully, I made one more stop on our way out. I found a ball and mitt that could fit her. $16.95 well spent. I hope you enjoy it Brianna. Maybe when you get a little older, Dad, you, and I can take a trip back to the Hall of Fame, and you can think about how special it was to play catch in the backyard with someone you love.

3 Responses

  1. (Wow, I get the first comment)
    What a wonderful story, all the better for the memories shared…

  2. Awesome Mandy and thank you for the very kind words you have made my day and cant wait for Brianna to get her glove I know she will love it!

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