Sunday, 1 February 2009

30 January 2009

son Valley that night. The great world piers of the sea-wide river were drenched in it, old steamboat landings at Poughkeepsie were drenched in it, old split rock pond of sources was drenched in it, Vanderwhacker Mount was drenched in it, all earth and land and city street was drenched in it. “So” said Neal “I’m cutting along in my life as it leads me. You know I recently wrote to my old man in Denver county jail---I got the first letter in years from him the other day.” “Did you?” “Yass, yass...he said he wants to see the babby spelt with two b’s when he can get to Frisco. I found a $13 a month coldwater pad on East 40th, if I can send him the money he’ll come and live in New York---if he gets here. I never told you much about my sister but you know I have a sweet littlekid sister. I’d like her to come and live with me too.” “Where is she?” “Well that’s just it, I don’t know---he’s going to try and find her, the old man, but you know what he’ll really do.” “So he got back to Denver?” “And straight to jail.” “Where was he?” “Texas, Texas…so you see man, my soul, the state of things, my position---you notice I get quieter.” “Yes that’s true.” Neal had grown quiet in New York. He wanted to talk. We were freezing to death in the cold rain. We made a date to meet at my mother’s house before I left. He came the following Sunday afternoon. I had a television set. We played one ballgame on the TV, another on the radio, and switched to a third and kept track of all that was happening every moment. “Remember Jack, Hodges is on second in Brooklyn, so while the relief pitcher is coming in for the Phillies we’ll switch to Giants-Boston and at the same time notice there Di Maggio has a three ball count and the pitcher is fiddling with the resin bag so we quickly find out what happened to Bob Thomson when we left him thirty seconds ago with a man on third. Yes!” Later in the afternoon we went out and played baseball with the kids in the sooty field by the Long Island railyard. We also played basketball so frantically the younger boys said “Take it easy, you don’t have to kill yourself.” They bounced smoothly all around us and beat us with ease. Neal and I were sweating. At one point Neal fell flush on his face on the concrete court. We huffed and puffed to get the ball away from the boys: they turned and flipped it

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