Like all but two of his teeth, Meeden's youth was long gone. His 64-year-old face showed the lines and leathering effects of age and hunger and hard times. Still, his eyes retained a gleam, just a glimmer, of boyishness. This became even truer as his teammates hollered their hellos. Meeden smiled and waved, and for a second he could've been that straggly kid who always shows up last for Little League.
I'd been warned that Meeden was shy. He won't talk to you, everyone said. But now he sat down next to me in the stands, so close that our knees nearly touched. I didn't know if he was being friendly or if he simply didn't see me. He began tugging an elastic brace onto his leg, fastening it around his thigh. Someone asked how the hamstring was feeling. Meeden had strained it during a recent game. He mumbled an inaudible answer while rubbing the hamstring and staring at some indistinct point in space.
I introduced myself and Meeden stopped fussing with his leg long enough to look at me. I told him I was hoping for a chance to speak with him later, privately, that I wanted to write a story about him.
His eyes widened.
Then he just giggled and trotted onto the field.
Well worth the time. Check it oot.