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The baseball diamond as crystal ball

Harrison Kellogg McKenna, playing catcher at a Huntington

Harrison Kellogg McKenna, playing catcher at a Huntington baseball game Credit: Newsday photo / Valerie Kellogg

For a brief moment, my 8-year-old son was a man.

The apparition occurred on the baseball field one recent Friday evening during Harrison's game. He was playing catcher for the first time.

After yet another batter walked to first base, Harrison got up and paced deliberately to the pitcher's mound. He looked serious. He said something to the pitcher, who remained silent as they stared each other down for a second or two.

I wondered, was Harrison hit and went to complain? He can sometimes be sensitive.

When Harrison got to the dugout, I asked what he had said.

"Throw more strikes, OK?" he told me.

As he stuffed his mouth with more Big Chew and waited to go to bat, I returned to the bleachers, speechless. I felt like I was watching a movie, and I didn't know the actor playing my son.

Of course by evening's end, Harrison wanted to be fed and hugged and played with, as any 8-year-old does with a mother he loves. It was reassuring for me. I just want to hold on a little longer to my only baby.

But it was also a proud day: Not only is my son growing up and flourishing, his pep talk seems to have worked -- the pitcher started throwing strikes.

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