Jon disappeared into the airport today, wheeling a dog cage containing Jota, and is currently en route to Los Angeles. He, along with Jack and Julie, have been the names that I have always associated with Long Xuyen. They have always been here when I’ve been here, and now Jon is the first to fly away, and Jack and Julie will follow later this summer.

After Jon left, Jack and I went back to the hotel to relax a little. When we turned on the TV, we found a baseball game. It was nothing compared to the excitement of the playoffs last fall, but it was still nice to see. The Detroit Tigers were visiting the Yankees and of course the Yankees won, while Jack and I discussed our mutual hatred of the team and the way they acquire talent (and of course they won the game too).

Baseball has been a big part of my upbringing. This is the first summer that I’ll not be playing catch with my family or selected friends that enjoy it as well. It seems that during the summer, if the weather is nice and my whole family is having a cookout or celebrating something, the gloves come out of the garage where they are kept most of the year, and we start playing. Usually it’s just catch, but sometimes dad gets out a bat that I was given when I was 13, and we take turns hitting to each other. I had a few stints in little league in Canada and South Dakota, but nothing really organized for an extended period. Playing catch on the lawn is a great excuse to run around and act young and be out in the fresh air, and the more I think about it the more I miss it. And people here only have a very general knowledge of the game, sometimes not more than the name. However, I think I’ll be teaching an American culture class next semester, and perhaps I could work something in about the beautiful game of baseball…

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