This story really happened and only the names have been made up. I had to, since I had neither the sense nor the testicular fortitude to ask at the time. The entire event took place at the Rogersville community park during one of the approximately 392 tee-ball games The Heathens have scheduled there. I had the good fortune to NOT be coaching in this league, as it is somewhat akin to herding cats; this means I got a front row seat on the three row set of bleachers to take in Heathen #2’s tee-ball antics. The evenings’ OTHER entertainment came in the form of an entire family sitting next to, and behind, me for the duration. They were cheering on the other team, so I felt the immediate need to hate them and wish them intense ill will under my breath. Turns out my inclination was well founded; I give you the following conversation, which actually took place, with, as I’ll call them, The Jones Family….
Grandma Jones (as she waddles up to the bleachers): “Ain’t you got the sense God gave you?” (I turn around thinking she’s addressing me, ready to put a shank in someone mouthy)
Son (about my age, in requisite John Deere wifebeater shirt): “The HELL you talkin’ about?”
Grandma: “Can’t you see I wanna sit there? Scoot yer ass over! BOBBY! HIT THAT BALL! JEEE-ZUS, it’s hot out here!”
Son: “Quitcher bitchin’ mom. BOBBY! QUIT THROWIN’ DIRT AT THE UMP! QUIT HITTIN’ THE TEE!! It ain’t like you worked all day, mom.”
Grandma: “That’s a load of crap Darren, and you know it. Me and Tina moved cattle panels all day! Didn’t we?”
Tina: “You betcher ass we did! BOBBY! RUN, HONEY! OTHER WAY, HONEY! STOP HITTING SON!”
Son: “It ain’t like you was rebuildin’ diesel engines all day in this weather, not like I was. Did I tell you we threw a rod in that piece of shit Powerstroke engine on the welding truck, Tom?” (He points this question at some other relation)
Grandma: “Hee-hee-hee, looks like we got another bully in the family. Wonder where he got THAT? BOBBY! QUIT FIGHTIN’!!” (you can tell she doesn’t really mean this; in fact she seems rather proud of her gap toothed grandson, who looks to be the only fourteen year old playing in a four year old league, if mustaches are any indication)
Son: “Mom, now who’s sellin’ the crap?” (takes a moment to high five Tom) “Besides, you two sissies was in the A/C all day movin’ them panels.” (finds himself immeasurably funny at this last statement and is chuckling to himself)
Grandma: “Don’t you be goin’ and gettin’ fresh with me Darren! Tina, HIT him for me wouldya?” (Tina happily obliges by punching “her man” in the voluminous belly region)
Tina: “Pay attention to the game, you horse’s ass! BOBBY!! NO, HONEY! GO TO THE DUGOUT! GET UP BOBBY!” (Bobby is currently amusing himself by rolling around on the pitchers mound and kicking anyone who gets near him)
(At this point Bobby’s older sister and some cousin walk up, sleeves rolled up and, I think, Copenhagen in their lips. They look to be about twelve years old.)
Mikaylah: “Mooommm! I wanna spend the night at Becky’s!” (she points to her cousin, as if there were some sort of doubt as to who this Becky cat was)
Tina: “Shut up, Mikaylah! Can’t you see we’re watchin’ Bobby play!”
Darren: “Fer Christs’ sakes, Tina, it ain’t like Bobby’s on the field. Sure, sugar, you wanna stay over at Becky’s, that’d be great. Maybe Daddy could get some lovin’!” (He sounds genuinely excited at this prospect)
Tina: “You think yer gonna get any lovin’, talkin’ to me like that? You’re outta yer damn mind. Yes, you can stay at Becky’s place tonight, hon, but you better check with Sissy” (who I assume is someone’s sister and Becky’s mom)
Mikaylah: “DUH, mom, I already asked! You guys can be so retarded sometimes!”
At this point all the adults in the family react like a pack of rabid wolverines, obviously having taken offense at the label they’ve just been handed. Clearly they value their status as non-developmentally disabled, and are prepared to physically demonstrate this with angry gestures and accusations of who this child’s father is that she would have the nerve to talk this way. There is so much yelling and confusion going on, I lose track of who is calling whom what. All that IS clear to me is that Darren is pissed that he’s not getting any loving tonight, Tina is flabbergasted that any child of hers would DARE to talk this way to her momma, Tim is still pondering the merits of a blown Powerstroke engine (which seems to both confuse and enrage him), and Grandma is on the verge of kicking everyone’s ass if they don’t settle down this very instant. Bobby is demonstrating his own brand of anger/delight at the first base coach by screaming and pulling up tufts of grass and throwing them in the air.
Worst of all, I was so caught up in the antics, I didn’t catch the final score of the game. Guess I should consider myself lucky that this was only game one of a doubleheader. Long live summer in Ozarks baseball country.