Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Soldier’s Story

Brian peered over the crowd at the players’ gate outside Yankee Stadium last night. He wore standard-issue military fatigues and clenched a baseball in his left hand.

“Thanks,” I said offering out my hand.

“Thank you,” Brian said.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Oklahoma City,” Brian shot. “I come from a family of Yankee fans that goes back to Mickey Mantle and Bobby Murcer, but this is my first time here. It’s the first time anyone in my family has been to Yankee Stadium.

“I’m station at Ramstein Air Base in Germany,” he continued. “I’m on my way home for a couple of weeks before we head back to Iraq. I just had to stop and see a game. I want to get this ball signed for my father. He’d really like that.”

“You can move to the other side of the fence,” I offered. “The players always sign for soldiers, especially Johnny Damon.”

“How do I get over there?” Brian asked.

We walked toward East 157th Street along Ruppert Avenue and appealed to the good nature of the police.

The cops nodded Brian through.

“Thanks,” he said.

Then he turned and waved at me.

“Thank you for helping me out.”

No, Brian. Thank you.


Henry said...

Nice story, man. Really touching.

Larry Jaffe said...

Todd, you are an uncommon man!

JoeyBoy said...

Wow, great story! Thanks for helping this guy out. I’m sure he appreciated it.

estec said...

I got chills.