You know when the best days of my life were? You won’t guess it. You were too little to know it. You were about eight or nine years old then. I was working shift work at the plant then and I worked the midnight shift whenever I could get it, which was just about all the time, because it was a shift that nobody else wanted. I’d come on at eleven and work till six- thirty the next morning.
The plant ran itself back then. Oh, I had a few dials to check. Check pressure on some gas lines. Check temperature on the steam lines. Write it down in the logbook. Never anything wrong back then. Almost never. Nobody in the plant at all after midnight. Took me fifteen minutes to get there, could park anywhere. I’d sign in and then lay my sandwich on top of one of them steam pipes and in a couple of hours it would be hot and just right.
There were softball fields beside the plant then. Industrial leagues. The company kept them up and man they were first class. Plenty of light, you know. Smooth infields. Summer nights they’d play double headers and sometimes the games would go to two or three o’clock in the morning. It was fast pitch back then. None of this lobbing the ball.
You’re going to guess this. There were nights I kept my gear in my locker in the plant and I would sneak out and play a few innings if anybody needed a man. It was like stealing, in a way. Felt that way. Made it all the more fun. I’d run back to the valve room between innings and make my readings, run back to the dugout and get ready to hit.
It was after the war and nobody was worried about nothing. Nobody was worried about getting rich or keeping up with the Joneses. You kids were all in school. Doing good. You always did. Your mother and I had it made, then. I’d get home about seven in the morning and she’d be waiting for me there in the bed. It never got better than that.