He had such elan, joie de vivre, zest, abandon. Fun.
Playing a game, baseball.
His name was Willie Mays. Number 24, of the New York Giants, then the San Francisco Giants, and finally the New York Mets.
He was my boyhood hero.
Why? It's not too complicated. I asked my older brother, Richard, which team he liked. The Giants, he said. I watched. I discovered Mays was a star when the word meant something.
A daring performer, a zen master, a thrill to watch.
Born May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama.
I have written a barely fictional short story about all this. I like the way it turned out. Maybe, like blogger JR, I will surrender my pretenses to propriety and abandon my quest for ill-sought fame and validation, and publish it here, or elsewhere, online.
Not today, though.
What would Willie do?
He'd swing away, dive for the ball, leap against the fence, steal a base, try for third.
Happy birthday [insert the typically forgotten vocative comma here] Willie.