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You got this, you know you do

Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. File photo Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. File photo

One of the best things about marriage is the abundance of opportunities for continuous learning. For example, I did not know until today that you are never really on vacation until you put on a swimsuit. 

We are in Cincinnati for the Memorial Day Weekend series between the Reds and the Dodgers, my favorite team since childhood. Last October, about five minutes — no, really, it was five minutes — after the Dodgers signed international baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani to a contract large enough for him to buy the state of Texas if he wanted to, I rushed over to Stubhub and bought tickets about eight feet behind the Dodger dugout on the third-base side.

We are so close to the field that I thought I might be called on to pitch on Friday night when the Dodger bullpen imploded and the Reds kicked our butts, 9-6, despite the fact that the Dodgers had nearly twice as many hits in the game. Never mind. We’ll get ‘em tomorrow night!

Tammy is not the world’s biggest baseball fan, but she’s a great sport and indulges me by wearing glittery Dodger decals on her cheeks like she’s going to a baseball rave. She also bought us matching Dodger shirts so we’d look “cute” for the inevitable barrage of selfies to document our vacation.

During the games, she becomes reacquainted with the dormant “little league baseball mother” within and shouts out charmingly vague phrases of encouragement to various Dodger players.

“What’s this one’s name?” she asks, as catcher Will Smith strides toward the batter’s box.

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“Will Smith,” I say. “He’s our catcher and clean-up hitter.”

“Do a good one, Will!” she shouts, causing a trio of teenagers directly behind us to giggle. “You know you got this!”

Will does got this, but his screaming line drive is snagged by the Reds centerfielder against the wall, ending our rally. It’s just that kind of night.

But we do look cute, and you can’t win them all.

In between games on Friday and Saturday afternoon, we find other things to do, exploring Cincinnati, sampling the locally famous ribs and ice cream, strolling the streets and parks, and making notes of things we want to do before we head north to Indiana on Sunday to visit family.

On Saturday afternoon, while we are back at the hotel regrouping after lunch, Tammy begins fiddling around in her suitcase, which is stuffed with 58% of all the clothes in her wardrobe, for her swimsuit, or at least one of them.

“Going for a swim?” I ask.

“I doubt it,” she says. “I might just go and lay out by the pool. Or maybe I’ll jump in for a minute. I just don’t feel like I am on vacation until I put on a swimsuit.”

“How’s that again?”

“I said, ‘it’s not really a vacation until you put on your swimsuit.’ I mean, have you felt like YOU have been on vacation?”

I have been married long enough to automatically include the traditional 10-second waiting period before speaking on such matters so that I can evaluate the wisdom of whatever I might be about to say.

“Yes, I guess so,” I say, like an attorney about to lay out my case. “I’m not at work. I’ve got a room on the 20th floor in the Hilton in a major American city. I’m eating in Yelp-recommended restaurants. I’m going to an immersive Monet exhibit. And, oh yeah, we’re seeing two games between the Dodgers and the Reds. Vacation, yes, it checks out.”

“Even though you haven’t put on a swimsuit yet?”

“Even so,” I say.

“I guess it takes all kinds,” she says.

“It certainly does, my love.”

After a little foray down by the pool, we head back up to the room to get ready for the Monet exhibit a couple of blocks away. Immediately afterwards, we’ll meet Tammy’s Aunt Robin and Uncle Dee Jay, who’s been a Dodgers fan as long as I have, for dinner before tonight’s game.

“Do you think we’ll win this one?” she asks as we are putting together our matching Dodger outfits for the remainder of the day.

I tell her I do. We’ve got Walker Buehler on the hill, back recently after a long recovery from Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, he had been one of our very best pitchers, and he looked sharp in his last start.

She evaluates this assessment, maybe. It is difficult to gauge whether she really believes me, or whether I might as well have been speaking in another language, which, in a way, I have.

Get you a good one, Walker. You know you got this.

Now that Tammy’s had her swimsuit on, we are finally on vacation.

(Chris Cox is a writer and teacher who lives in Clyde. For much more of his writing, check out his Substack at chriscox157.substack.com.)

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