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Dipping into ‘The Ticket Bucket’ for memories

Back in the early 1980s, I began saving ticket stubs from events my wife, sons and I had attended. What began as a handful of movie or baseball ticket stubs has evolved into an amazing footprint of the events and places we have seen.

The repository for the ever-increasing number of stubs has changed over the years, starting first as a small plastic sandwich bag to today’s incarnation, an empty, 40-ounce hard-pretzel container which we affectionately refer to as “The Ticket Bucket.”

While most of the hundreds of stubs represent attendance at sporting events, there are those from Disney World, Disneyland, museums, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, whale watching in Massachusetts, visits to our nation’s capital and countless high school concerts, plays and award ceremonies.

To calculate the miles traveled, cities and states visited and the dollars spent would be impossible.

By and large, the games represent little more than blurbs in seasons completed long ago and hold little significance to the sporting population. Nevertheless, each is a part of our family’s history.

To us, every ticket stub has its own story and, without fail, diving in and pulling out a random stub will evoke a story one of us has from the day, the trip, a meal or the event itself, most ending with a good laugh.

For example, when we visited Detroit in 2001, we asked the hotel concierge about transportation to Comerica Park for the Tigers game. His response was: “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but there’s a pub down the street that offers free transportation to the game if you eat dinner there.” Off we went, enjoying delicious greasy hamburgers that only a pub could provide and then being transported to the game in a dusty, rickety old school bus that never exceeded 25 mph and produced a dust plume from every seat any time it rode over a bump in the road.

Another favorite story comes from our visit to Anaheim and then a California Angels game in 1993. Though we had flown in that day and the kids were seriously jet lagged, it was the only day the Angels would be home for the duration of our visit. Our plan to go for a few innings and head back to the hotel was foiled by Yankees pitcher Jimmy Key, who was pitching a no-hitter through six innings. Bottom of the seventh, Chad Curtis hits a single and we’re in the parking lot before he touches first base.

We still go to games, taking advantage of authorized aftermarket ticket sellers who provide the security of knowing you can attend any event by buying tickets well in advance. Unfortunately, securing an actual ticket stub is no longer an option in many cases. An emailed PDF or bar code emailed to your smartphone will gain you entry to the event, but it has no place in “The Ticket Bucket.”

Luke Heaton,

West Babylon

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