Dzeidek Eulogy

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He spoke in the broken English that most immigrants speak when they first learn a new language. Perhaps, that is why he rarely talked about the country of his birth, or the location of the farm, or the family he left behind. His grandchildren called him ‘Foxy,” meaning smart as a fox, but to him a fox was a chicken thief. Thus, he thought his grandchildren disrespected him and asked to be called Dzeidek. When I was in high school, I threw hay with him. As he leaned on the pitch fork, he rubbed the stub of his ring finger, which he lost in a harvesting accident. In a way it was predictable that his favorite pitcher would be ‘Three Finger’ Brown, who lost a part of his index finger in a farm accident and threw an unhittable curve. Dzeidek’s…show more content…
He began to compare the landscape of a baseball field to the layout of the farm. Pausing, he looked down at me as if he wanted to say…show more content…
They planted wheat in the center field. To the left of the grain, they grew turnips and cabbage. Livestock grazed in right field and in the afternoon light, the cattle appeared as three dimensional shadows. Between right field and the inner field of barley or rye, a road formed an arc across the farm. The man who taught him the basics of farming drove the wagon along the dirt road. As he went from field to field directing work, he’d call for the men to sacrifice. He meant to work without water or lunch. Dzeidek wanted me to know that a Polish farm wasn’t a baseball team. On Sunday after church, Dzeidek and I would sit on the back porch, which formed a diamond shape with the barn, bullpen, chicken coop, and house around the garden. Listening to the radio, I learned a home run followed the path of memories. I learned that home plate was the heart of the ball field and the farm house was the heart of the farm. I learned if you worked hard enough, nothing was unhittable not even Brown’s curveball. As long as you kept alert like a fox, you could survive the curves that the elements threw. I looked at Dzeidek with admiration because I knew he came to this country and put down roots as gnarled and swollen as his

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