She was the fastest Grandma I ever knew. All of us who played sandlot ball beside her house knew that somewhere within the hallowed walls of the house walked the finest fielder we knew. Occasionally a long fly ball would bounce off the side of her house. When it did, a short silver haired lady would bounce off the front porch, sprint down the west lawn and with fluid motion scoop up the ball just before retreating inside through the back door. All the drama before a twelve-year-old boy could run twenty feet to retrieve the ball. It is still my opinion that Belle Bryson could run the 100-yard dash in under ten seconds!
Well, I was the appointed ambassador to knock on Mrs. Bryson’s door and negotiate the return of the baseball. The rest of the guys were “afraid” of Mrs. Bryson. Imagine, brave twelve-year-old boys afraid of a 4’10” silver haired Grandmother! I negotiated several “cold war” encounters over a few summers, all with success, and all with reward. When Mrs. Bryson realized what was going on, so she played her part making me to be the Henry Kissinger of Birch Street.
The “rest of the story” is that I mowed Mrs. Bryson’s grass. We were friends. I loved mowing her grass because she always had a treat. She never let me mow her grass without stopping and enjoying an ice-cold Coke with her while resting in one of her metal lawn chairs. She was a “cool” lady, always willing to talk about stuff of interest to a twelve-year-old boy. I didn’t see her much in the winter, occasionally to scoop snow from her porch and sidewalk, but I knew she was there waiting for the next ball to bounce off the house. She was a very important part of our summers.
Belle Bryson was one of my influencers in my youth, whose kindness and goodness toward me, made our encounters special. I enjoy the memories and since I live across the street from Mrs. Bryson’s house and the sandlot where we placed ball, you can be sure that those good memories come often.
© 2019 Calvert City. All Rights Reserved.