100 Words: Pitcher

“We want a pitcher not a belly-itcher!” Grubby fingers interlocked in the chain fence of the dugout. Half-empty yellow Gatorades on the concrete floor, Emily, on deck, balancing a bat on two fingers. “7’s up, it’s a up thing, 7’s up, she hits it every time…” Parents with newspapers and magazines in the stands, sweat on my teal uniform (not the pinstripes I’m hoping for, but close). “Hey hey whadaya say, hit the ball the other way!” Blood on our knees from sliding, Katie’s out on a fly. They wouldn’t let me play baseball, but they let me get pretty damn close.

11 Responses

  1. Summer-time in the Baker family means a series of gatherings around old-fashioned, glass pitchers.
    G’ma Baker forgets to brew tea until after everyone has assembled on her patio furniture; then, trapped in conversation, she lets it steep too long in her tanned pitcher. These memories are lukewarm and strong. Aunt Lou cuts two whole lemons into sugary ice water that sloshes in her strawberry pitcher. These memories are bittersweet. Aunt Kathy chills weak coffee in her sunny pitcher and serves it with warm apple pie. These memories are energized.
    I dropped my mom’s pitcher. It shattered. Now we use plastic.

  2. I tried being a pitcher. My dad, thrilled to have a tangible thread to tie himself to his dreamy daughter, chalked a line from the mound to home base in our back yard. Standing me at one end he crouched at the other, squinting through the sweat of fatherly responsibility. His determined patience locked me into position; my bumbling tosses disengaged the misplaced ambition and relocated it to my younger sister, who always had the biceps anyways.

  3. That year my mother collected awkward things as we crisscrossed Europe, kids in the back, father lodged at the wheel next to her and her romantic notions. From Amsterdam she lugged a wrought-iron candlebra, stuffed into the trunk in case my father, unnerved by German or Italian drivers, braked without warning. In Normandy it was cheese so appalling that we forced her to tie it to the side mirror to flap safely outside. In Siena it was a yellow pottery ewer for wine or flowers, a treasure she swaddled, cushioned from mishap by the soft stuff of a family adventure.

  4. I never was the pitcher type. I played 1st base and then 3rd, but not once did I pitch. You would think I could have received my father’s genes – he still holds some pitching record at Middlebury – but no, that was not the case. Then again, he got to throw overhand, not that windmill crap we had to do in softball. I think that’s what sealed the deal for me. I had a good arm in the normal throwing sense, but windmill? Yeah right! Any time I ever tried that the ball went behind me, not forwards like it was supposed to. And that’s just what a team needs, right? A pitcher who pitches the wrong direction.

  5. Pitcher plants live in areas where the soil lacks sufficient minerals or is too acidic for growth to occur. They are carnivorous: the slightly less glamorous version of the Venus Fly Trap. Those that crawl and fly end up doomed by their attraction to the rims (usually colorful) of such plants, discovering, upon further exploration, that they have come upon an unusually inhospitable bath of enzymes or host of flesh-eating insect larvae. Once inside, the unfortunate visitor has made a commitment to stay indefinitely, as the pitcher plants are so named for their lids: shutting in their slippery centers, safeguarding against unwanted intrusions from without.

  6. My brother makes pitchers sometimes. They dot our house, swirls of color, always cool and dark, never straying into the garish realm of orange and red. I remember a purple one, short, always the one that graced the table after he left for college. Usually filled with milk, the stark white pushing against the softer lilacs and violets of its container. It was tame, really, in comparison to his paintings and vases, but its beauty always stood out against the dreariness of the other dishes. Every time I picked it up, I was terrified that it would fall and shatter.

  7. I’m standing on the pitcher’s mound, I’m eyeing the batter and not thinking about the batter, and the parents in the stands (not mine–i rarely invited mine) are calling for me to pitch a strike and encouraging me (i guess? we all knew it was veiled criticism) because it is my first time. this was not what sex was like those few years later.

    I’m winding up, I’m sweating balls, I’m thinking of striking out and I’m sure I’m thinking at the time they’re going to take me out soon. They don’t want kids like me pitching. They need big dumb kids with rocket arms and one thought only, and I’ve got the arm but…

  8. My brother was something of a master ceramicist. Bowls, vases, sculptures, pitchers, you name it, he could make it and make it better than you. His finely molded testaments to achievement were visible in every room of the house. Salad at dinner inside March 7th, 2003. Flowers in February 24th, 2005 on the window sill that got the most light. The dining room was decorated with an entire calendar of his creativity. He was very good at what he did. He doesn’t do ceramics anymore, though. Now he does oil painting, and his presence has graduated from shelves to walls. He is very good at what he does.

  9. Blending things was part of growing up. At home, in the kitchen, we always blended things. We were constantly blending. My sister would throw in the strawberries as I spooned in the yogurt. She would think there was too much yogurt and so would throw in more strawberries which I then balanced out with more yogurt. It was a constant balancing, canceling, process, by the end of which we’d forget who had started.

    When the lid finally went on, we took turns hitting the buttons. We didn’t just blend, we’d mix. Stir! C h o p. Puree. And we poured straight from the blender as if it were a pitcher. That’s how we served: by pitcher-blender. And when we’d had enough for the time being, we’d put the blender with its blended contents into the refrigerator and unplug the base that had no function while its other half was playing pitcher.

  10. Existentialism-
    It still sits in the middle of our dining room table. It has no handle, its spout is drooping, and there is a jagged hole gashed into the bottom with a rock. The walls wobble and it serves absolutely no function, this pitcher cum vase cum flowerpot of mine. I made it before I knew there were limitations to what you could create. My optimism has painted it yellow. My mother leaves it sitting there, to stroke with her thumb as she walks by every day.

  11. There was this pottery store with a whole section of pitchers. Some more stout, others more rotund, some polished and some more refined. She collects pitchers. This makes my selection more of a challenge. The artist, Richard Batterham. He only fires up his kiln a few times a year when the weather and his mood are aligned. The cashier tells me he has a cult following of collectors. None of his pieces are exactly the same. Most have imperfections. Sounds like her man, less wedded to the ideals of perfection. More spiritual. Richard Batterham sounds fascinating. I think it’s a match. My mother is a fascinating woman.

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