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The Grahams’ of Cochran County – Chapter 16


Bob did not intend to hit Janie.  We were outside in front of the Little White House on a Sunday afternoon playing some scrub baseball.  We did not have enough people in the family in order to do a nine person team so the batter would be one team and the rest of us would play against the batter.

Leola was playing first base.  George was the pitcher.  I was the hind catcher.  Mary was near the second base with Katie toward the third base.  Marguerite and some of her friends were wandering out in the outfield.  That group was mainly talking about boyfriends and stuff but would run after a ball just in case Bob, the batter was able to hit George’s pitch.  Janie and Mother Bess were not on the team but were spectators standing on the front porch.  Dad was in the house listening to his Sunday afternoon news program about what FDR was doing to get us out of the depression.

Dad called Mother into the house to get her to listen to the radio.  Janie started wandering out toward the batter’s box.  George was winding up his arm about that time to send the pitch over home plate.  Zoom went the ball, past Bobby’s bat and past my head.  I did not have a hind, hind catcher so I had to play the part of ball retriever and run and get the ball.

After retrieving the ball, I threw it to George.  He started the wind up again.  I was getting ready to catch the pitch if Bob could not knock the ball into the next county.  Bob was getting ready to hit that ball a mile when Janie wandered in toward the batter’s box.  George threw, Bob swung the bat backward and WHAMOO the bat hit Janie above the right eye.  Janie fell to the ground and did not make a sound at first but I could tell she was hurt because the blood was gushing from a gash above the eyebrow.

Mother heard the sound of the bat hitting Janie’s head and rushed from the house.  The base tenders started running toward home plate to assist Janie.  Bob stood there in dismay.  The outfield looked up from their conversation and saw the commotion.  They wandered in toward home plate.  Mother was using her apron to staunch the blood flow.  Janie was waking up from the concussion and was crying forcefully.

The ball game was over of course.  Janie should have gotten about 10 stitches but money being like it was in 1936 she just got a good washing and a bandage that circled her head and covered that eye as well as the wound.

Me and Bob were getting most of the blame but Mother felt the worst I guess because she had been in charge of Janie and left her duty station.  Janie was just four and did not know better.

That scar stayed with Janie the rest of her life but became less and less of an issue as time went on.  It even became a beauty mark of sorts and perhaps a badge of honor when we would discuss that ball game at family reunions.  It also solidified her status as Mother’s pet.

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