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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008
I hate to be the human prayer list, but I heard last night from members of the family that my father is in the hospital with heart issues. He had a heart attack many years ago and has been going strong, but at 88, he's slowing down and we're all concerned. Please pray for him. If you don't hear me on the air you'll know I'm headed home.

On Wednesday's program, I talked about Bart Giamatti's essay on "The Green Fields of the Mind." It's just a beautifully written piece that hits at the heart. I'm not sure if that's where the following came from, but when I knew the World Series was winding down, I pulled out my own essay, part of my book, Dogwood.

This essay is actually a speech the main character gives in the chapel, to himself, because he can't attend the funeral. He's in prison when his father dies and the warden allows him this opportunity. This is not even a veiled attempt to hide my love for my father because most of it is about me. I'll include that section below if you want to read it.

My brother and sister in law were at the hospital and they don't have phones in intensive care, but they let me speak to him via cell. He had a hard time hearing me and thought I was my other brother. But guess what we talked about? He was watching the Phillies-Tampa Bay game. He was rooting for Tampa Bay, too.

Maybe your connection with your father was different--it could be bowling or fishing or any of a hundred things. Here's what I wrote:

“Talk to me of a father’s love and I will tell you of baseball. Tell me of a tender touch or a hug that lasts in your memory and I will kiss you with stories of our game. Walk with me in moonlight, tell me the ways your father expressed deep emotion, his innermost feelings, and I will tell you of pitchouts, squeeze bunts, and called third strikes.”

“The women of my life, my mother, my girlfriends, have never been able to touch the part of me that yearns for the fresh smell of baseball—the finely mowed infield. Deep brown dirt and snow white bases. The tough, pungent aroma of hickory and leather.

“In the cool of the evening, when his work was done, my father and I played catch to the voices of Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall. We groaned together through the1971 season and rejoiced at the next and all the way to Oakland. I still hate Gene Tenace and Joe Rudi for taking that away from us, but it made the experience sweeter three years later when, in spite of Carlton Fisk, we beat the Red Sox in seven.

“It wasn’t the smell of my father’s pipe lingering in the air or the winning and losing. It was the game itself, spread out before us a hundred times and more each year, the same, yet changing. Baseball cast a spell that drew us together. Baseball was the closeness we shared. We were never able to express ourselves and enjoy each other fully, without reservation, except with baseball.

“As a child, I had no idea how my father felt about his work at the chemical plant where he worked. I still don’t know. I knew little about his childhood, the anguish of losing a mother and brother to the flu epidemic that spread through the country, the abuse of a stepmother, why he chose my mother as his wife, and a thousand other questions I should have asked.

“But I do know this. I know baseball. I know how he felt about the designated hitter, steroids, and the asterisk by Roger Maris’s name. Baseball became our connection, and each spring, when the sirens called, I felt the link grow even deeper and stronger.

“When I was a child, and we partook of the blessed sacrament of spring training results, my father and I would coax the sun a little hotter, a little higher and brighter in our West Virginia sky. We trembled beneath that vast, blue canvas, knowing it was the same sky that looked down on the green diamonds of the major leagues.

“In summer we sweated through each extra inning and blown save. We counted mosquitoes, jarred lightning bugs, and believed in our team. We were separated by years, tastes in music, food, clothes, and politics, but we delighted in baseball. We kept scorecards and statistics ready to recall the previous year’s Cy Young award winner, batting champ, or MVP.

“Fall came and we praised the God who created pennant races. We cursed the demon of the season-ending groundout or pop fly. Baseball was the glue that bound our lives and kept them coming back to each other. Baseball was each tender word never spoken. It was the pat on the back, the term of endearment whispered.

“The last morning we spent together, just before my sentencing, my father and I spoke the last words that passed between us. We talked about our walks in the woods—memories of walking sticks and an old dog, we talked about our town and the changes over the years, and we talked of baseball.”


jenna said...

Thank you for this piece today. I'll be praying for your father and for your and Andrea as you press on. I can so relate to your heart about your father. Mine is ill right now to but at least he's back home and recovering from surgery.

On another note, how do you find the time to write, with family life and all?
I have so many things that come to heart and love to write but feel it's usually a passion left on the back burner.

thanks for sharing with us.

Chris Fabry said...

Thanks for your prayers. Your question about writing is a good one. With 9 children, I have to keep writing. :) I find that if I focus on finishing whatever project I'm working on, the next presents itself in due time. Sitting down and saying, "I'm going to write for the next 2 hours," is the only way I get it done. I just have to do it. If I wait for "inspiration," I faulter and fail. It's kind of like prayer. Show up and God will too. So don't beat yourself up about the back burner. Maybe this season in your life is not meant for the writing passion...but if you feel the strong inclination, ask your husband to help you carve out time to get in a quiet place and do the work. Thanks for adding to the blog!