During those years, It was a common occurrence to have instant family baseball games. We had enough cousins on both sides to create a team and the fields along side our houses could be turned easily into baseball diamonds with only one problem -- cowpies - especially the soft ones. But that just added to the challenge.
My Tom Sawyer neighbor would always join us for the game and now that Aaron was also a neighbor - he was invited as well. A few hits, a few catches, a few pitches, and Aaron became an instant team captain.
The worst moment of these games was right in the beginning when the chosen captains stood apart and started to choose their players. I remember the first time Aaron was captain. I looked down at my shoes, knowing I was the last choice. I might be a great tom boy but I wasn't a natural athlete. Besides I had these beautiful cousins, one looked like a Marilyn Munroe. another like Jennifer Aniston, there was a Audrey Hepburn and an, Ingrid Bergman. All gorgeous! I had decided a long time ago that I was no competition. I just had to ignore it all and concentrate on having good conversations and fun.
You can imagine my surprise when Aaron picked me first. I hesitated - convinced that he had made a mistake but his gentle McDreamy eyes assured me that he was truly picking me -- seeing me. We had a great game and I did not let him down.
When I started attending MEI in Clearbrook and he attended Sardis Secondary, we didn't see each other as much. But I do remember when he came to see me personally to tell me that his family was moving to the Maritimes -and that he wanted to stay in touch. He wondered if we could correspond via letters. I hesitated, and thought - "Why? We will never see each other again," I must have voiced my concerns because I remember him assuring me that we would see each other again. I think I cried a little and promised him I would answer his letters. I was devastated. He had become a solid friend - someone I felt safe with.
True to his word, his letters came and it was easy to answer them. My father had a roll of stamps and a stack of envelopes at his desk in his gas service station for everyone to use - and since it was one of my chores to get the letters from the mail box no one knew about the letters. There were no expectations or assumptions.
Corresponding with him was easy - he described his farm in the Maritimes. I described my life. For the next few years, we just kept writing. We were Pen Pals - it was a thing back then to have pen pals. I had a special pen pal.
And then one day, I received a short letter.... I was shocked he was coming back to BC for a visit.
“Life is bearable when you have someone to write, and someone who writes you back. Even if it's just one person.” - Eunjin Jang