Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Ernie Harwell Was Magic To Me

As everyone in Michigan who appreciates summer and is older than 10 knows, Ernie Harwell died. The tributes are everywhere and in all forms of media, and they're great.

I don't have too much to add to all these remembrances, except for that the voice of Ernie Harwell defined the happiest non-family parts of growing up in Michigan for me. I was the standard little boy who loved baseball. As a little boy who loved baseball and also had a reasonable bedtime, normal operating procedure wouldn't allow me to be up for the latter part of my Tigers' baseball games. I had a blue Realistic transistor radio about the size of a deck of cards that I would put under my pillow over the summer to listen to the games until I fell asleep. For the most part, my parents knew that I was breaking the rules, but for reasons of love, they let me get away with this small rule break and listen to Ernie Harwell and the Tigers.

This story isn't all that unique, or remotely funny, or insightful, but just thinking about how happy it made me to listen to Ernie Harwell recount the Tigers' game on my blue radio late on warm summer nights in my house with my family does bring tears to my eyes. Something about the thought of his voice wraps me back up in the warm humidity of an un-air conditioned home, loving every second of summer break and the thought of the Slip 'N Slide tomorrow. It really was perfect, and the memory of this joy will stick with me forever. I've heard it a million times but never really FELT it myself until now - "thanks for the memories."

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