I'm often asked, "What is your favorite photo?" I usually reply with "I don't know", or "I haven't taken it yet". But lately, this has been my favorite photo. And it's not one that I took.
This is the 1936 Phelps High School baseball team, in Phelps, NY. Look at that bad-ass standing third from right in the center row, with his jersey undone, and his hat tilted to the side. That's my grandfather, George King. He had already been dating my grandmother for two years, although World War II would not allow them to marry until 1945. He loved to play baseball. He tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals in the summer of 1936, but they didn't choose him. They should have, but George still rooted for the Cardinals the rest of his life.
In 1940, he enlisted for a year in the US Army, hoping to finish the year before war came to the United States. He was at the train station, waiting to go home, on December 7, 1941. The train never headed home, that day. Over the next three and a half years, he would serve in Africa, Italy, and D-Day. He saw, and did more than he could ever say. In August of 1945, he came home to marry my grandmother, and start the rest of his life. Which, thankfully, eventually included me.
I think of George, and Mary (my grandmother) on days like today, Veterans Day. On their birthdays. On my birthday, and almost every day. And any time that the Cardinals have a good season, and the great ballplayer that he would have been for them.
Happy Veterans Day, kid. Miss you,
November 11, 2013