The gift of the glove

What’s the promise of a new baseball glove bring? Characters from my work in progress “River Bottom” are unveiled in this latest writing exercise.

The following is the end product from a writing prompt as part of the Pen to Paper Live sessions hosted each week by the Charlotte Lit organization. The sessions are free and held Tuesday mornings. You can register here.

The Gift of the Glove

The smell may have been the first thing he noticed. The scent of rawhide leather escaped the package as he pulled the baseball glove from the box wrapped in red paper and green ribbon. 

Teague ran his fingers over the interlocking weave of leather, the stitches wound tight, strips of rawhide hanging loose like the leaves of the weeping willow that stood watch in the back corner over their 30-acre farm in the river bottoms.

The leather was stiff in his hands. Teague balled his hand into a fist and punched once, twice, three times into the pocket, seeking some give, yet the leather unforgiving. He knew the warmth of spring and summer and the sweat from his hands would loosen the rawhide; the glove bending, conforming to Teague’s 15-year-old fingers.

For nearly five years now, he’d used his father’s hand-me-down when he and the other boys gathered to play ball on summer afternoons, swinging and sliding until the western sky turned a burnt orange, chasing them from the field. It was a battered, dusty glove that had been duct taped together and had seen its fair share of ball games back when his daddy would knock baseballs 350 feet over the old strip of coal mine belt serving as an outfield fence. 

“Figured it was time for your own,” Big Robbie had said when he slid the box across the kitchen table earlier that morning. It was just the two of them now. Rains had fallen that summer and the corn grew tall and green, but money was still tight.

Snow was on the ground now. The field bare except for the rotting husks that dotted the back 30 acres like remnants from a Civil War battlefield, the stalks like the limbs of Confederate dead. 

Spring would come. And with it, warmer days and the sound of song birds. The ground would be broken, the plow leaving streams of rich, loamy, black soil in its wake, and there would be work. Lots of it for the seed needs to reach the ground.

Yet, in those few short moments before day turns to dark and the sun sets below the Ohio, there would be time. Time for a game of catch between a boy and his father, the rhythmic pop of the baseball hitting the pocket of the glove marking the seconds, minutes and hours.

Editor’s Note: The passage includes characters and settings from “River Bottom,” my work-in-progress novel that tells a story of a teenage boy living along the Ohio River bottom land in the summer of 1983.

Author: Michael Banks

I'm a freelance writer and editor currently at work on completing the first draft of my first novel. I'm also an award-winning journalist with over 30 years spent at newspapers in Kentucky, North Carolina and Mississippi.

11 thoughts on “The gift of the glove”

    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Mrs. Vaughn. If only I could utilize some French prose into my manuscript, then I’d like its chances overseas. Haha. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

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  1. I can relate to this, as I was born in the ’50’s in Union Co. Many a day would we play ball till the sun set, after chores were completed. I would like to read your book when it’s completed.

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    1. Hi David. Thanks for the comment and taking the time to write. I, too, enjoyed long summer days and playing ball. Those memories help form some of the narrative and settings and characters who make up “River Bottom.” I’ll keep you updated on the book’s progress. Thanks again for the support.

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  2. Hi I’m Sharon Nixon born 1962 in Union Co. My grand father Jarbo Nixon grew up here.And I would love to read your book. When you finish it.

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    1. Hi Sharon. Thanks for reading. I will be glad to let you know when it’s finished and hopefully published. You can keep up with my work here at this website. Thanks again for the kind comments.

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  3. I grew up in union county also. Graduated in 1988. I think you graduated with my brother. Last name was Powell. I want to read more. What you have so far is excellent!

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    1. Hi Tonya. Thanks so much for the kind words and taking the time to comment. I graduated with a Donnie Powell in the class of 1985. Is that your brother? You can keep up to date on the novel’s progress here at my website. Thanks again for reading.

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