Mister Cub’s Autograph

by Charles Bernstein

Middle of the eighth,
Dad’s hands are wet, but not from sweat
He’s just returned from the toilet near the souvenir stand in the middle of the inside of Wrigley Field, with a wet scorecard and he says, “Guess who I met in the bathroom, son? Your hero, Ernie Banks!”

Me, eyes wide open, gulping breath and asking, “Really?”

Sure enough, Dad shows me the program with Ernie Bank’s signature, that looks a little like Dad’s own handwriting, but then again as a young boy aged seven-and-a-half in that late summer of 1969 when the Chicago Cubs were in first place, you wouldn’t seem to have cared where it came from, just as long as you could impress your playmates that you lucked out in getting Mister Cub’s autograph and you’d be the envy of every kid on the block.

As the years passed and I grew up, Dad’s story changed again and again; different inning and different Wrigley Field bathroom locale, but always Mister Cub’s autograph was there

Never lie to a child, I’ve heard some say, but my Dad did, so do I blame him that he wanted to please me, after I got crushed in the great onslaught of autograph seekers near the Cubs dugout and came back to the box seats with the saddest of faces?

Yes, I do.

He could have at least stuck to the same story.

Posted 10/1/07. 


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