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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 110: Middle finger, left hand

It's Just Me Again No. 110: The Middle Finger on My Left Hand
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by Chuck Hinman

After lunch today I was resting in my recliner, my hands folded on top of my stomach. Looking at my hands I began to ramble through memories of where these gnarled hands have been and what they have done.

The memory about which I am writing happened in 1936 when I was 14 years old. I was a freshman at Liberty, Nebraska, High School.

Brother Bob and I took our lunches to school and ate them in the boiler room where cigar chompin' John Hart, the custodian ate his lunch and kept us laughing. As soon as we finished our lunches we hurried up to the baseball field to play a form of baseball called "work-up."

There were about 25 boys who showed up each lunch hour to play. Where you started playing depended when you arrived at the field to play. As you might expect with 25 boys involved, there were plenty of disagreements on the order of progression to the batter's position -- except when you caught a fly ball.

The positions included pitcher, catcher, four infield players, and the remaining 15 to 20 boys took their place at various places in the outfield hoping to catch a fly ball hit by the batter. If you were fortunate to catch a fly ball, you advanced to the batter's box waiting your turn to bat. If you were good or lucky, you might spend the entire lunch hour batting rather than waiting for a ball to fall in your glove.

Many of you here at Tallgrass Estates may have noticed that the middle finger on my left hand looks deformed. In those depression days, brother Bob and I only had one baseball glove between us.

One day when we were playing "work-up" Bob had the glove. I was playing barehanded and attempted to catch a hard hit line drive. Instead of catching it barehanded, it jammed the middle finger on my left hand. Man did it hurt! But in those days you never saw a doctor unless you were dying. The big joint in that finger was damaged severely. Seventy some years have passed since that happened and that fingers keeps looking more gnarled as time passes. I'm fortunate that arthritis has not set in.

Some of my "friends" (?) have suggested that God punished me in this way for giving the finger salute once to often.

I drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face knowing it was just another childhood accident. Aren't memories wonderful!

Written by Chuck Hinman on 2007-09-18

This story was posted on 2011-04-17 07:59:20
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