By Jim Hicks, columnist
“This is August weather!” That’s the comment we heard from under a sweat stained ball cap at the feed store this week. After Monday and Tuesday’s temperatures in the triple digits, there were not too many of those “climate change deniers” giving speeches.
But at least it waited until the kids were out of school and on summer vacation. The city pool is full and looked pretty inviting.
And baseball season is underway with a lot of local kids taking part. Years ago there was not much in the way of youth baseball activities offered here. School got out and a lot of the kids headed for the ranch to start the summer’s work.
But there were some years when an American Legion baseball team would be organized to compete.
And sometimes Buffalo would be blest with good young athletes who could play the game well enough to compete with teams from larger communities like Sheridan.
The Bench Sitters remember a team like that. They didn’t have the full roster of players, but do recall Jack Swartz (who operated the airport here at that time) was coaching.
Some of the players included (and we hope we got this right) were Tony Swartz (pitching), Craig “Goose” Jones on first, Greg Smith on second, Richard Lawrence playing short-stop, Tom Ahern on third base and Ray Mader, catching.
They were a pretty scrappy team, but almost nobody left in the dugout when they took the field.
A little thin in the ranks.
In one game against Sheridan the competition was close.
It was a hot day and Buffalo had gone though everyone who had ever pitched.
But there was another inning to play.
They huddled with Coach Swartz to come up with a solution.
“How about having Mader give it a try?”
Now Ray (as anyone who knew him) could throw a ball HARD!
When a runner tried to steal second and Ray got ready to fire one for the “tag” several things would happen. First the pitcher would dive and hide behind the mound and the center fielder would be ready in case the throw was a bit high.
So they made the decision and Ray took the mound for a few “warm-up” pitches.
And then he hit the next seven Sheridan batters. A few left the game.
Finally, Sheridan’s third base coach asked Tom Ahern a question.
“Is that relief pitcher’s dad a doctor?”
“No,” says Tom with a sideway’s glance. “Why did you think that?”
“Well it looks like he’s drumming up business for someone in the medical field.”
Meanwhile, after several days of hot dry wind, locals are watching the snow rapidly disappear from the tops of the peaks and green replaced by shades of tan in the hills.
Dry years can generate some interesting comments. A few we’ve heard were:
“It looks like one of those years we have to decide if we want to buy hay or sell cows.”
“This is the kind of year irrigators don’t get their feet wet.”
“The boy is only six years old. Until last year he thought hay always came on a truck.”
“So then I got the bright idea of fertilizing our dry-land hay.”
Finally this week we heard a couple of young mothers talking about a wisdom they have picked up by listening to their kids so far this summer.
“You can’t baptize cats.
“When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
“Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
“You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.
“Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
“Don’t hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
“You can’t hide broccoli in a glass of milk.
“The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandma’s lap.”
Stay cool, if you can, and we’ll write again next week.