Monday, November 15, 2010

Tales of Wayne. The Bulls Story

As you come over the rise, you can see Mt. Washington100 miles beyond Lake Androscoggin   The road runs steeply downhill and bends to the right to follow a narrow stip of land between two lakes wherein lies the town of Wayne, Maine.  Cross a little bridge with the millpond on your left, and you are headed out of town.
              Years ago there was a comfortable bench outside the General Store for the  3/4 Century Club.  If you were over 75, you could sit, tell stories and tell the tourists they were headed the wrong way.  Chester, who said he was “somewhere North of ninety,” said he was “so busy I ain’t hardly got time to think. I’m the church sexton and I just got finished sweepin’ the church.  And I know I got something else to do. Whatever it is I know I got to do it.”

             Vern Lovejoy, who owned the General Store, decided that “what this town needs to perk it up is a baseball team,” and the Wayne Bulls were born. Vern got a deal on three uniforms so three of us had hats, three had shirts and three of us got to wear the Wayne Bulls pants.  I was fifteen and thought I had a pretty good fastball.  We played in the field behind the one room school.  Nice, hot, mid-July day. 

              The Augusta Bears (something like the guys on the left) were up first.  I struck out the first hitter, the catcher dropped the ball and the “hitter” ran to first.  The catcher picked up the ball and threw it into deep right field.. The runner kept going, rounding second.  Our right fielder, Paul Brown, had a great arm and threw a perfect strike to third, hitting our third baseman who was chatting with Lisa Crowell at the time, in the back of the leg.  The runner took off for home.  Bears 1- Bulls 0.

                    Bottom of the second, nobody on, Ezra Thompson, a hog farmer who must have weighed over 300 lbs. hit a long high fly ball deep into the sky and falling somewhere deep in the woods, never to be found.  It was slow going for Ezra, rounding first, wheezing, and slowing down.  When he got to second he sat down on the bag, “I ain’t gonna go another goddamn step.”

               Midway through the third we were down something like 7-1 and Vern tried to rouse the crowd of maybe six or seven wives and friends.  “I ain’t hearin’ much cheerin’” Vern called out.

               An ancient lady in black behind the backstop said, equally loudly, “you’re gettin’ plenty of cheerin’ for what we’re seein’”

               By the end of the seventh there was zero difference between my no-curve curve ball and my slow-ball fast ball. The final score was something like Bulls 2, Bears 19 although it may not have been that close.

               Somewhere in Wayne, hanging in a closet, there's bound to be a Wayne Bulls shirt from that game.

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